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#11: Getting on Hacker News, dev-focused value propositions, and measuring devrel

Hey, how was your month?

Mine looked like this:

  • Took some time off but stayed in the city. Just drank coffee, read, thought, and wrote. Loved it!

  • Wrote two new articles and started working on another! Btw, if I could write one just for you, what would it be about?

  • Had 10+ calls with dev marketers. Learned a ton. Helped a bit. Will continue doing it for as long as you let me-> grab your 30min spot if interested.

Here are my insights this month.

10 developer marketing insights

1. How to get on Hacker News front page: Learnings from Tailscale

After seeing another post “Tailscale Funnel” on the first page I said to myself: “ok Tailscale, let’s see what you are up to”.

Here is a tldr:

  • Create something that doesn't feel promotional.

  • Explain benefits through problems.

  • A framework I see is this “problem -> obvious solution-> why an obvious solution doesn’t work -> product -> how it works”.

  • Create deep new-information-heavy content.

  • Satisfy curiosity, explaining how things work, not “how to gain X by using Y” but rather “How to build Y from scratch”.

  • Write dev-to-dev, conversational, use technical jargon.

  • Go with to-the-point titles: No “10 secret ways to…” or “gain X by doing Z” but rather “I sell onions online” or “Tailscale Funnel”.

2. Header design from Mux

Mux does a few things beautifully in this header.

Value proposition:

  • The "what" is explained right away: "Video API", "live and on-demand experiences"

  • Super clear on persona "developers" and job to be done "build online video"

Animated visual that is really good for dev tools:

  • that have an API/SDK

  • that have a UI where the results of that API calls go

3. Syften

I came across Syften is a dev-focused social listening tool.It monitors keywords on Twitter, Reddit, HackerNews, Product Hunt and many others.

You can even monitor some larger slack dev communities.

4. Radiating circles of developer experience

Original concept from swyx and a very valuable mental model for devrels and dev marketers.

Product -> Docs -> Content -> Community

The further you go through the product adoption and market maturity the more "outside" you need to go to deliver value and differentiate.

5.Datadog vs New Relic

Sometimes your product just wins on price.

I like how New Relic owns it on this page:

  • They show you price comparison graphs

  • The CTAs are focused on helping you compare the prices

  • They use jargon specific to the category to drive the price argument: "peak usage", "overages and penalties", "SKUs"

6. Devrel and dev marketing metrics

Was digging deeper into this last month and found some great resources:

7. How Stripe go-to-market changed over time

It wasn't always an enterprise go-to solution for payment APIs.

So how Stripe changed their go-to-market over the years?

And more importantly, how it all started with a hyper-focus on a startup developer persona?

8. Big prize swag campaign

Is it better to do one big prize or many small prizes?

This is a decision you have to make when thinking about running a swag campaign.

Turns out that a small number of huge prizes can get you way better ROI on the same budget.

And NannyML has done it brilliantly here.

They are a monitoring tool and they give away monitoring setup.

This is something that actually can go viral. And it did.

9. Emails for dev audience

Ronak Ganantra shares his learnings from revamping email sequence campaigns when he was running marketing at Hygraph (previously GraphCMS).

This article even got to the first page of Hacker News and created great discussions there.

Basically, cut the fluff + simple text + make it human + drop the sales pitch + low frequency = profit.

Must read.

10. Header design MedusaJS

There are many things that I like about it.

  • A clear value proposition: Explains what it is: an open-source alternative to a well-known product Shopify.

  • Shows code and what the code does visually. Great product explanation.

  • Adds a social proof with "#1 JS ecom platform on GitHub:". When you have 16k stars you should use it!

Overall with very little effort, I understand what it is, and what it does.

And I can go and dig deeper for myself or spread the word with my circles.

1 Pear Fact 🍐

Do you know what alcohol is made out of pears?


"Perry, also known as pear cider, is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented pears, traditionally the perry pear. It has been common for centuries in England," - Wikipedia

Have one, live a little ;)


Thanks for reading, pears!Want more developer marketing insights?

Want to support my work?

  • Share it with your developer marketing friends.

  • You can also ☕ buy me a coffee and I do love coffee ;)

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