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Jack Bridger

Three DevTool founders, a content marketer and a UX researcher walk into a podcast studio.

publishedabout 1 month ago
4 min read

This month we had a very interesting set of guests on Scaling DevTools.

I personally learned a lot. For instance, I don't spend nearly enough time on content distribution. I'm correcting this.

Warning - this email is longer than previous editions

James Hawkins - CEO & Co-founder of PostHog​

PostHog is kind of like open source mixpanel. I first heard James speak on Open Source Startups podcast so wanted to chat.

Their blog is great and I've previously shared their Hacker News pre- mortem post.

Interesting ways PostHog operate:

  • Aim for developers to implement PostHog without ever getting up from their desk - that means no approval from above to try it out.
  • Express aim of reaching $100m ARR with two sales people (who are also developers). If they pull this off, James should write a book on it.
  • PostHog are extremely transparent, including with their compensation calculator​
  • Autonomous teams for each product.
  • "You can't trust people to do their job if you don't give them the information they need to do their job properly." - transparency goes hand in hand with autonomy

​Listen to the full episode here​

Brandon Gubitosa - Senior Content Marketer at Plural​

This conversation was like a bucket of cold water all over my marketing efforts. I don't spend enough time distributing content.

Brandon thinks that distribution is more important than content creation in most situations and that we tend to under-do it.

Maybe because it's hard work, boring and we feel shameless.

Some key points from Brandon:

  • Don't create content just because somebody says you need to. Have a reason to create that content and then have the metrics to back it up.
  • In the content industry, it's all about moving fast, learning from your mistakes and failing upwards.

​Listen to the full episode here​

Ana Hevesi - Developer Experience Researcher

It's my personal belief that most startups under-invest in really understanding their customer.

If you don't know where you're going what's the point of trying to move fast?

That's why I was thrilled to chat with Ana who counts Stack Overflow, MongoDB and Nodejitsu among her previous experiences in user research and community.

Ana shared practical tips and impressed upon us how much of an impact user research can have on the trajectory of a developer tool startup.

Key takeaways:

  • Developer User research helps you refine your compass so you know which direction to head.
  • In 2019 that were 25 million developers in the world and that, that number is expected to increase to 45 million by the year 2030.
  • All these developers are coming from increasingly varied backgrounds. So it's not enough to just target yourself at 'developers' any more (if it ever was).

​Listen to the full episode here​

Nimrod Kramer - CEO at Daily.dev​

I remember discovering Daily.dev and I remember installing it but I don't remember what happened in between.

Daily.dev short circuited my decision making process because their offering was so compelling.

I really enjoyed hearing from Nimrod how they've grown so fast.

Key takeaways:

  • When it comes to developers, start with how.
  • The role of a developer advocate is to nurture more developer advocates.

​​​​Listen to the full episode here​

AndrΓ© Eriksson - Founder of Encore​

Andre has taken an unconventional approach that I really enjoy hearing about.

For instance AndrΓ© believes that making it easy to leave your product is a forcing function to make you build a great tool.

Key takeaways

  • Focus on your audience - Encore builds for senior backend engineers
  • Don't lock users in - persuade them to stay

​Listen to the full episode here​

Things we loved this month

Can you make an awesome list?

For iOS Dev Tools we recently made an awesome-list of iOS developer tools.

We repurposed most of our content and because it involved thousands of tools and our data was in the wrong format, I had to write some code.

It was fun to do and it did quite well with 100+ GitHub stars and quite a few new subscribers and Twitter followers. I wrote up an article on it.

Stepping into YouTube

Two months ago - for iOS Dev Tools - I made a video reviewing a HTTP client. I initially thought it was a disaster but without any push it's been steadily getting views - 53 views in the last 28 days - 93% of which were from YouTube (not us).

I also turned one of our previous interviews with Kuba into a video with four developer marketing tips. It's four minutes long and I embarrass myself so you might enjoy it.

If you want a peak behind the curtain of Scaling DevTools, I wrote an article on everything I've been up to. Including all the juicy details.

An update on repurposing content

As we learned from Brandon, distribution is everything.

One of the ways we can distribute content better is to re-purpose the good content we already have.

In my case, one episode of Scaling DevTools podcast can produce many forms of content:

Podcast -> YouTube video + this newsletter + tweet thread + many short video clips for social + blog post etc.

But it is time consuming so I'm working on a tool to automate some of this process for myself.

I'll share more in future updates - if you're also interested let me know.