Upcoming PLG Workshop

Join us at our upcoming Product-Led Growth Workshop with PLG expert Hila Qu on August 30, 2023.

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May 25, 2023
 | AT 
9:00 pm

Developer Tools GTM

The open source community can be a major source of product feedback, early customer traction, and an efficient go-to-market for companies at any stage. In this session, we reviewed common monetization models and how developer relations can supercharge product adoption.


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Event Recap & Takeaways

In this workshop, Lightspeed Partner, Nnamdi Iregbulem covers open source product and community challenges, GTM models, and effective frameworks for developer relations. 


Key Takeaways

  • Be intentional with open source. While it's easy to deploy and the open source community can be a great source of product feedback, it's very difficult to paywall a feature once it's open source. Ensure you have a framework to align both open source and commercial sides.
  • There are different monetization models in open source, such as targeting a small portion of a broad community at high average contract values (ACVs) or monetizing a meaningful segment at moderate ACVs.
  • It is crucial to begin building community early, even before offering products or services, with the goal of creating momentum and engagement through a "community flywheel".
  • Instead of seeking to hire renowned developers, it is more effective to focus on emerging talent, as they prove to be a better target for community growth and collaboration.

Additional Takeaways

Open Source Strategy
  • Decide early on which features will be in your open source version and which will be in your paid enterprise edition.
  • Ensure your open source edition has production readiness to attract serious contributors.
  • Properly nurtured open source projects facilitate community building and provide free marketing.
  • Open source can be a source of valuable product feedback, bug identification, and potential hires.
Community Growth
  • Early on, prioritize community growth over business growth.
  • Focus on consistent growth over vanity metrics.
  • Encourage users to sign up for newsletters, Slack, or Discord to track engagement.
  • Utilize tools like Orbit to track community engagement across various platforms.
Telemetry and Licensing
  • Implementing telemetry early on is much easier than implementing it after you have large engagement.
  • Consider offering a hosted version alongside the open-source product to meet user preferences.
  • Address licensing early on.
Go-To-Market Strategies

There are 3 main models to consider when developing an Open Source GTM strategy:

  • Model 1: Monetize small portion of broad open source community at high ACVs (Confluent)
  • Model 2: Monetize meaningful swath of open source community at moderate ACVs (GitLab)
  • Model 3: Popular tool as loss leader, monetize highly-valued features (HashiCorp)
Content Creation
  • Invest in content early on.
  • Engineers are your best advocates for writing content.
  • Make content creation a natural part of existing processes, like documenting new features or sharing engineering insights.
  • Focus on creating great content rather than obsessing over optimization for SEO.
Developer Relations
  • Look for personable engineers with communication skills to fill developer relations roles.
  • Consider hiring up-and-coming individuals with proof of work and community engagement.
  • Outsource content generation when possible, especially for products with lower technical requirements.
Metrics and ROI
  • Define KPIs and ROI for developer relations efforts, focusing on community objectives early on.
  • As the company grows, consider how efforts might translate to revenue, but expect direct mapping to be difficult.