How one tech creator designed a tool suite through community-funded support



When you think about what it means to be a creator, you often think of musicians, artists, and podcasters. But when you stop to think about what it means to create, it’s clear that engineers and tech developers fall squarely into that camp too. One great example is tech creator Patrick Wardle, author and founder of Objective-See, a cybersecurity tool suite designed to protect Mac computers.

Discovery through curiosity 

Patrick Wardle’s path didn’t exactly follow the typical creator journey. He pursued his passion for confirming the existence of lifeforms beyond the stars to an internship with NASA, where he worked on software for space shuttles and Martian rovers. From there, he worked with US government intelligence agencies, including the FBI, where he discovered the world of cybersecurity, which quickly became his newest passion. Through those experiences, Patrick noticed a significant gap in cybersecurity offerings, particularly for Mac products. To solve this problem, Patrick rolled up his sleeves, and Objective-See, his suite of simple, yet effective (and always free!) OS X security tools was born.

Engineering for the greater good

Patrick’s community-minded mission had very real barriers by way of resources. “There was this conundrum; it takes a lot of time to build these tools. What do I do?” Not to be deterred, he did his research, which ultimately led him to Patreon. “When I found out about Patreon, it was the solution to my problem — passionate users who wanted to support my goals would allow me to transition out of my day job to focus on this full-time.” With the help of his supporters, Objective-See went from an aspirational passion project to a sustainable business.

Breaking silos through community

Thanks to the support of his community, Patrick continues to holistically achieve the vision for his company in addition to realizing goals he hadn’t initially thought of. “[The community is] so supportive and continues to be a source of inspiration for me.” In fact, his community encouraged him to become an author. “One of my Patreon supporters reached out and suggested I write a book.” Patrick decided to leverage the platform to help start and finish the book.

“Every time I wrote a chapter, I posted it online, and my supporters would offer technical and editorial feedback. It became this community-focused event.” 

A place for tech dreams of all sizes

For engineers and tech creators, dreams often start with the desire to solve a problem. The challenge with community-focused objectives is building at scale. “How do we create community-focused tools that we give away for free, but also be financially incentivized in a way that doesn’t drive our goals?” They say if you build it, they will come, and for Patrick, by leveraging the Patreon platform, that’s precisely what happened. 

“Patreon played a pivotal role in my success, especially in the context of security tools for users. I’m always surprised there aren’t more tech creators on Patreon because I really think it’s the ultimate platform for independent software developers and creators in the technical space.”

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