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What are the benefits having a Benevolent Dictator for a software project?

Although Matt doesn't love the terminology of "a Benevolent Dictator for Life," he does love some ideas behind it.

Outside of software there is usually some kind of a top-down control. Companies have a CEO. Countries, they typically have presidents or something like that. All of these systems are set up to have checks and balances, and if you do not like your country for example, it is really actually difficult to move to another one and opt into a different governance system. But changing your governance in software is a million times easier.

It is, however, difficult for committees or an alternative governance structures to create really great software. You typically have something more like a director of a movie, or a conductor of an orchestra, a person with whom a great deal of decision-making power for determining the platform rests. That is often a good thing for the health and quality of the platform, and because we have these checks and balances with Open Source forking, people can opt out of that person’s power at any time.