Python for Entrepreneurs Transcripts
Chapter: Growth hacking basics
Lecture: Open source

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0:01 If you've got some awareness and interest in your product,
0:04 but people just don't seem to be taking that next step towards using it,
0:07 what approach you can think about depending on of course your own business
0:11 is whether you could open source some code that you've created
0:14 and essentially fit that into the funnel, if developers happen to be
0:17 part of your prospective customers, open sourcing some bit of code can generate
0:21 not only some awareness, but also speed the adoption and the usage
0:25 by letting people try out in their own systems the code that you've created.
0:29 This one a little bit hard to describe, just theoretically,
0:32 so we'll take a look at two specific examples.
0:35 The first one is a project called Sidekiq which has background processing for Ruby
0:39 think about task queues which offload some of the code execution
0:43 outside of the usual http request response cycle in a web application,
0:48 it allows you to do batch jobs and that sort of thing on the side.
0:51 Sidekiq is released as open source for the Ruby community,
0:53 you can go and check out the github repository;
0:56 but there's also a business behind it as well, the developer who created this
1:00 also decided that there should be a pro version and an enterprise version,
1:03 so that he could work on this open source project full time.
1:07 The idea here is Sidekiq is really useful to a lot of Ruby developers,
1:12 particularly ones that use rails, so why shouldn't he spend more time
1:16 improving the quality of this software, so that other developers who are relying on it
1:20 don't have to worry that much about this part of the system,
1:22 and then companies pay him for that support.
1:25 So this model is almost a support or a licensing agreement
1:28 that everything gets fed back into that open source project.
1:32 Developers are likely to use Sidekiq because it's already open source
1:36 and they know they can fork the repository and modify the code if they need to,
1:40 but companies that are relying on it know
1:42 that development is not going to suddenly go inactive,
1:45 it's a good hybrid model that allows this developer to keep building with it.
1:48 If you want to learn more about Sidekiq, there is a really great site
1:51 that has many examples of developers who have gone
1:54 and built their own businesses on
1:56 Indie Hackers did an interview with the creator of Sidekiq,
2:00 and explained how we got started and that sort of thing
2:02 and just in general how open source allows Sidekiq
2:05 to continually get adopted by Ruby developers,
2:07 and then also companies that are relying on Sidekiq can pay him for support
2:12 so that he can continue to pour his own time back into the project.
2:16 Other than the website, Sidekiq is not being hosted by this developer
2:20 so let's take a look at one more example, which is Sentry.
2:23 Sentry originally started out as a way to collect and view errors
2:27 that were occurring in Django applications.
2:30 It was open source because this was a common problem
2:32 error reporting and logging as happens in every single Django application,
2:36 and over time Sentry became so popular that the developers realized
2:40 this would be really useful as a product,
2:43 so they created a hosted version of Sentry,
2:46 which takes the pain out of hosting it yourself,
2:48 rather than a developer having to stand up their own server,
2:51 secure that server and then have their own version of Sentry
2:54 which of course they need to patch and maintain over time.
2:58 They can just pay Sentry and the developers
3:01 who are creating the open source version of Sentry to host it for them.
3:04 So if the prospective customers for your web application are developers
3:07 having some open source component
3:10 whether that's something they can host themselves
3:12 or something that helps them in their own application,
3:14 or provides a critical piece of the application that they're building
3:17 can be a way to speed adoption and usage for your business.
3:20 Now I don't want to make it sound like this was all conceived
3:23 in a grand plan by these developers, a lot of the stuff evolves over time,
3:27 but with hindsight, we can see that whether your project starts as open source
3:30 or if you open source something later on,
3:34 that could potentially help in the funnel.
3:36 If you're solving some hard problem with your application
3:39 consider this as a possible strategy, if you're running into roadblocks to usage.