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Over the last decade, I’ve had the privilege professionally of building and cultivating some free software projects and communities. This isn’t a tools talk: this is a talk about the soft skills you have to have to be able to succeed as a leader in an free software project. I’ve learned a ton on this journey; honestly I still am learning, but I have some lessons to share, and hopefully, I can warn attendees about pitfalls that can cause wasted cycles and pain. Topics will include scoping your project, personally-backed versus corporate-backed projects, why empathy and audience is important, celebrations, defeats, successful traits of free software projects, and more.