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  • 🍐#31: selling value of dev tools, fly.io launch copy, and a novel blog CTA

🍐#31: selling value of dev tools, fly.io launch copy, and a novel blog CTA


What is the best way to pick a pear? Use a spear 🍐 ;)

This week on the agenda:

  • Selling the value of dev tools from ex-Director of product at Snyk

  • Genius Hacker News product launch copy from fly.io

  • And out-of-the-box blog article CTA from Novu

  • + a few bonus links at the end

Let’s go!

Developer marketing insights

1. How to sell the value of dev tools in 2023

Anna Debenham is a VC and an ex-Director of product at Snyk.

Recently I came across her post and an article about ”How to sell the value of dev tools in 2023”.

You know how I like “features vs values” discussion. I even wrote an article about it.

But Anna is making a great point that in 2023 power dynamics shift away from an individual contributor dev and closer to the budget holder and CFO.

Convincing the IC is not enough as they will be pressed more than ever to explain the need for your dev tool.

And in her article, Anna goes into how to actually quantify your product’s value. With frameworks and examples. Good stuff.

2. fly.io Hacker News launch description

Hacker News developer audience doesn't love promotion to put it mildly.

But some dev tool companies manage to make this audience their biggest ally.

Fly.io is one of those companies.

And they had a super successful product launch a few years back.

So how did they do it?

  • "Who"

  • "Problem"

  • "What" and "How"

  • *Speak "dev to dev". Spec no fluff.

Let's go through these in detail.

Who are you? Why should I listen?

  • show your face

  • Say who are you and

  • hint at why should I trust you

What is the problem really?

  • Describe how you discovered the problem

  • Agitate that pain, explain technicalities deeply

  • Share your stories dealing with that problem (ideally obvious solutions that didn't work)

What does your product do and how does it work?

  • Say what it is, like a technical spec.

  • Say what it does, like really, low-level job to be done

  • Explain how you solve it, be deeply technical

Speak "dev to dev"

  • use technical jargon and relevant terms: "docker image", "global router", "VMs", "root filesystem"

  • don't explain like I am 5, explain like I am 5 years in my dev journey "we convert docker images into a root filesystem, boot tiny VMs..."

  • Don't use words that don't really mean anything and just take space. Speak MECE (mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive)

By doing it this way you have a chance of gaining love from the prolific HN crowd.

Fly.io definitely did and is still reaping rewards with constant HN exposure.

3. Blog CTA from Novu

The idea behind this conversion play is to put an "Aside CTA" that is unrelated to the content early in the article.

And get that clicked.

But obviously, if you do that it will be pushy and intrusive.


Nevo David from Novu shared this idea on one of the podcasts:

  • Put a small section right after the introduction

  • Add memes to catch attention and disarm the "I hate ads" reader (a little bit)

  • Make an explicit ask. Make it human and somewhat vulnerable

Btw, Nevo says that cat memes work best ;)

How can I make this better?

I hope you learned something new. Did you, though?

What would you like to read more about?
Reply to this and let me know.

Talk to you next week,

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