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Jean Yang akitasoftware.com

Why aren't there more programming languages startups?

Jean Yang:

There’s clearly a lot of programmer pain. But why we don’t see more tech transfer of these “deep” technologies from research into industry is something I have been thinking about since I was in college, when I decided I wanted to spend my life making programmers’ lives better. Many other fields, from robotics to databases, have clearer paths to commercialization. But when it comes to new programming languages or software analyses, the path of tech transfer is often decades-long, if it exists at all.

She goes on to describe a few factors that are in the way of “deep tech” dev tools investing, how some of those things are changing, and how others still need to change.

Paul Graham paulgraham.com

What I've learned from users

Here’s Paul Graham with some wise advice he’s learned from YC’s users — this also tees up a large conversation on this Friday’s episode of The Changelog (talk to your users).

I recently told applicants to Y Combinator that the best advice I could give for getting in, per word, was. Explain what you’ve learned from users.

Here’s why that makes sense.

That tests a lot of things: whether you’re paying attention to users, how well you understand them, and even how much they need what you’re making.

But giving this advice made Paul consider what he has learned from YC’s users (the startups they’ve funded). This one is almost cliché at this point, but still quite true.

Focus is doubly important for early stage startups, because not only do they have a hundred different problems, they don’t have anyone to work on them except the founders. If the founders focus on things that don’t matter, there’s no one focusing on the things that do.

Devon Zuegel devonzuegel.com

What startups can learn from pirates about compensation

Devon Zuegel draws a comparison that I would’ve never thought of:

Pirate crews developed a surprisingly similar approach to compensation in the 17th century. Just like many startups, they also balanced equity incentives with other mechanisms that would be familiar to a startup employee today, such as bonuses.

These surprising similarities offer an interesting frame through which we can reflect on why startup equity and bonuses are structured the way they are. We can learn a lot about the theory of compensation in modern companies by looking at how pirates designed incentives to organize and motivate their work.

Maybe it’s time to stop hiring “frontend wizards” and start looking for “frontend pirates” instead, matey.

Startups bip.so

How Segment found product-market fit

A very cool case study of Segment’s long journey to creating a product that people would actually pay money to use.

By now they burnt $500K and were left with only $100K. They wanted to tryout something for one last time with the $100K. One of their Co-Founders suggested that they try to productise their open source library. Peter, the Co-Founder & CEO didn’t like that idea at all. This open-source library had only 580 lines of code, compared to the other 2 products which had 100x more lines of code and a very grand vision on how to define an industry.

Side note: what is this bip.so thing that’s hosting the content?!

Startups blog.southparkcommons.com

Move fast or die

Most of our audience knows that we operate on the mantra “Slow and steady wins,” and yet there’s lessons to be learned by reading a post adjudicating the need to “Move fast or die.” Let me explain…

There’s a key phrase that sets this post and its lessons apart from us here at Changelog Media — it’s “Here’s how we did it at Facebook.” Clearly, we are not Facebook, so we should not operate on advice that’s focused on Facebook. However, we can learn something.

Of the the five lessons shared, each can be appreciated, but one in particular stands out.

We embraced asking for forgiveness, never for permission.

This, to me, is synonymous with “Hire people smarter than you,” because it assumes everyone can bring something to the table that former wisdom might not. It gives permission to try something new and see if something beautiful comes as a result. That’s a good thing.

Bob Wise blog.heroku.com

Heroku's "next chapter" doesn't include free plans

It is a very good thing for Salesforce to be more focused on Heroku’s future, but the glaring detail shared by Bob Wise today is the era of free on Heroku is over.

Here’s what they announced:

  • They launched an interactive product roadmap on GitHub
  • They are focusing on mission critical and will discontinue free product plans and delete inactive accounts
  • They are starting a program to support students and nonprofits
  • They will continue to contribute to open source projects, notably Cloud Native Buildpacks and offering Heroku credits to select open source projects through Salesforce’s Open Source Program Office (OSPO)

Greg Kogan gkogan.co

Being swamped is normal and not impressive

Greg Kogan:

I used to think being swamped was a good sign. I’m doing stuff! I’m making progress! I’m important! I have an excuse to make others wait! Then I realized being swamped just means I’m stuck in the default state, like a ball that settled to a stop in the deepest part of an empty pool, the spot where rainwater has collected into a puddle.

Good analogy. Better sentiment. Reminds me of Woody Zuill’s thoughtson productivity vs effectiveness.

Startups scrapingfish.com

How much money do Indie Hackers products make?

Only 5% of Indie Hackers products make $100k/year…

A sobering statistic, but with a caveat: this only accounts for the 937 products that have their revenue verified by Stripe. The 5% is low, but that’s for a high bar of $100k/year. It gets worse:

A prevalent thinking is that making money as an indie developer is hard and most of the products end up with no revenue at all. Products on Indie Hackers seem to confirm this as more than 54% of the products are not making any revenue at all.

The post also breaks down the best performing product categories. ‘Wearables’ looks like a good one.

(We love the Indie Hackers community and know how hard it is to make it on your own. This post is not intended to denigrate anyone, just provide information.)

Startups herman.bearblog.dev

The problem is that your users hate MVPs

Building products is a difficult and time-consuming effort. Figuring out what the problems, finding a potential solution to that problem, and then building that solution all take a decent chunk of time and effort. It’s due to this process that the minimum viable product was born. The motivation for building an MVP is still valid. Build something small and easy to test, launch quickly, and pivot or trash it if it doesn’t perform as desired.

There is another, less selfish way.

I read an article by Jason Cohen a few years ago which changed the way I think about product development. Instead of building MVPs, we should be building SLCs. Something Simple, Loveable, and Complete.

I like the thinking behind SLCs. So simple, so loveable, so…

Hat tip to Henry Snopek for linking this up in the #gotimefm channel of Gophers Slack! When it comes to thinking about your projects, Henry says:

I like to use MVP for fast projects, and SLC for “effective” projects…

Yeah, I like that framing too. So simple, so loveable, so…

Startups kenkantzer.com

Learnings from 5 years of tech startup code audits

Ken Kantzer was part of ~20 code audits of companies that had just raised their A or B rounds of funding:

It was fascinating work – we dove deep on a great cross-section of stacks and architectures, across a wide variety of domains. We found all sorts of security issues, ranging from catastrophic to just plain interesting. And we also had a chance to chat with senior engineering leadership and CTOs more generally about the engineering and product challenges they were facing as they were just starting to scale.

In this post he shares some of the more surprising things he’s learned from the experience. There’s a lot to digest in this post, but I’ll highlight my favorite to whet your whistle:

Simple Outperformed Smart. As a self-admitted elitist, it pains me to say this, but it’s true: the startups we audited that are now doing the best usually had an almost brazenly ‘Keep It Simple’ approach to engineering. Cleverness for cleverness sake was abhorred. On the flip side, the companies where we were like ”woah, these folks are smart as hell” for the most part kind of faded.

Emacs fugue.co

A CEO's guide to Emacs

Josh Stella:

For those who haven’t used Emacs, it’s something you’ll likely hate, but may love. It’s sort of a Rube Goldberg machine the size of a house that, at first glance, performs all the functions of a toaster. That hardly sounds like an endorsement, but the key phrase is “at first glance.” Once you grok Emacs, you realize that it’s a thermonuclear toaster that can also serve as the engine for… well, just about anything you want to do with text.

Clément Delangue huggingface.co

Hugging Face raised $100 million for open/collaborative machine learning

Big news from our friends at Hugging Face:

Hugging Face is now the fastest growing community & most used platform for machine learning! With 100,000 pre-trained models & 10,000 datasets hosted on the platform for NLP, computer vision, speech, time-series, biology, reinforcement learning, chemistry and more, the Hugging Face Hub has become the Home of Machine Learning to create, collaborate, and deploy state-of-the-art models.

What will they spend the money on? Good stuff:

Thanks to the new funding, we’ll be doubling down on research, open-source, products and responsible democratization of AI.

Open Source supabase.com

Should I open source my company?

Supabase CTO Ant Wilson walks through the pros & cons of open sourcing your startup and why he believes the answer to the question in the headline is (probably) “yes”

Open-sourcing Supabase ended up surprising us in many ways. Many people imagine that maintaining your business in public might be burdensome - but the opposite is true. There are many unexpected upsides that have made building Supabase - the product and the company - easier.

While some of this advice comes from our lens as a Dev Tools or PaaS company, most of it will apply to any software company.

Startups dkb.io

The next Google

DuckDuckGo and Bing are not true alternatives – they’re just worse versions of Google.

The next Google can’t just be an input box that spits out links. We need new thinking to create something much better than what came before.

In the last few years, different groups of people came to the same conclusion, and started working on the next generation of search engines.

For this new generation, privacy is necessary, and invasive ads are not an option. But that’s where the commonalities end. Beyond that, they’ve all taken the idea of a search engine in very different directions.

The post goes on to describe & detail a whole new wave of search engines. I had no idea so many people were working on this problem. Exciting!

Chris Coyier CSS-Tricks

CSS-Tricks is joining DigitalOcean

Chris does a great job answering what will surely be the most common question about this acquisition in his announcement post:

  1. What happens to CSS-Tricks?
  2. Will you still be running CSS-Tricks?
  3. Why now?

The amount of value this team has given to the web world over the years is immeasurable.

I sincerely hope DigitalOcean turns out to be a worthy new steward of this precious resource and the site’s best years are ahead of it. 🤞

Jean Yang future.a16z.com

Building for the 99% Developers

Jean Yang:

Should you move to serverless? Is GraphQL the answer to your API woes? Should you follow the latest DevOps playbook to increase your system reliability? In the world of tech tools, there’s a lot of buzz. But it doesn’t always reflect the daily reality of programmers.

As the founder of a developer tools startup, I’ve talked with hundreds, if not thousands, of software developers over the last few years in the course of routine user research. The common theme in these conversations, even bigger than the need for the product we were building, was an overarching need that is currently underserved: building for real developers, or what I like to call the 99% Developers.

Good stuff to be reminded of. That reminds me: You are not Google/Amazon/LinkedIn.

Awesome Lists github.com

Open source startup alternatives to well-known SaaS products

The criteria for inclusion is as follows:

  1. Its product is strongly based on an open source repo
  2. It has a well-known closed-sourced competitor, solving a similar business problem
  3. It is a private for-profit company, founded in the last 10 years
  4. Its repo has 100+ stars on GitHub

I’m seeing lots of Changelog guests & friends in this awesome list. 😎

Rauno Metsa raumet.com

Marketing is scary for a solo developer

Rauno Metsa:

I’m a developer and I love to write code. I enjoy watching my brain come up with creative solutions for complex problems.

So, I often find myself with a blog post that’s ready to be submitted to Hacker News, or a tweet that’s ready to be sent, but postponing it.

Sound familiar? If so, read the story to learn how he got over it and started benefiting from his new-found confidence.

Startups clickhouse.com

Introducing ClickHouse, Inc.

Alexey Milovidov, announcing the formation of a (VC funded) corporation around ClickHouse, an open source analytics DBMS:

Today I’m happy to announce ClickHouse Inc., the new home of ClickHouse. The development team has moved from Yandex and joined ClickHouse Inc. to continue building the fastest (and the greatest) analytical database management system. The company has received nearly $50M in Series A funding led by Index Ventures and Benchmark with participation by Yandex N.V. and others. I created ClickHouse, Inc. with two co-founders, Yury Izrailevsky and Aaron Katz. I will continue to lead the development of ClickHouse as Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Yury will run product and engineering, and Aaron will be CEO.

ClickHouse wasn’t always a business. It also wasn’t always open source.

Making ClickHouse open source was also not an easy decision, but now I see: doing open source is hard, but it is a big win. While it takes a tremendous effort and responsibility to maintain a popular open-source product, for us, the benefits outweigh all the costs. Since we published ClickHouse, it has been deployed in production in thousands of companies across the globe for a wide range of use cases, from agriculture to self-driving cars.

Raj Dutt grafana.com

Grafana Labs is officially a unicorn

Grafana Labs announced a $220 million Series C investment round yesterday at a $3 billion valuation. I had Raj Dutt, CEO of Grafana Labs, on Founders Talk late last year — should I get him back on?

Congrats on the “B” Raj and team.

As with our previous rounds in 2019 and 2020, this funding will enable us to focus on accelerating the development of our open source observability platform and supporting the success of our community and our customers.

Here’s one example of how we’re pushing toward those goals: Earlier this year, we launched an “actually useful,” forever-free tier of Grafana Cloud that provides the industry’s most generous no-cost, fully managed observability stack, with 50GB of Loki logs, 10,000 series of Prometheus metrics, and 3 Grafana dashboard users included. Now, we’re adding 50GB of traces to the free plan, leveraging our Grafana Tempo OSS project, which recently became generally available for production use.

Alex Ellis blog.alexellis.io

Building an open source marketplace for Kubernetes (2 years later)

It’s 22 months since I found myself frustrated with writing boilerplate instructions to install simple, but necessary software in every tutorial I wrote for clients and for my own open source work.

In this article post I’ll walk you through the journey of the past two years from the initial creation, through to growing the community, getting the first sponsored app and what’s next. There will be code snippets, and technical details, but there should be something for everyone as we celebrate the two year anniversary of the project.

Startups github.com

GrowthBook – an open source A/B testing platform

The top 1% of companies spend thousands of hours building their own A/B testing platforms in-house. The other 99% are left paying for expensive 3rd party SaaS tools or hacking together unmaintained open source libraries.

Growth Book gives you the flexibility and power of a fully-featured in-house A/B testing platform without needing to build it yourself.

GrowthBook – an open source A/B testing platform
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