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How to build a top developer community without losing your soul!

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Lessons from Hackster.io, the world's largest open source hardware community on how to grow from 0 to 1,000,000 developers while having fun and doing good in the world. As seen at the Open Source Hardware Summit and the All Things Open Summit 2018.

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How to build a top developer community without losing your soul!

  1. 1. HOW TO BUILD A HUGE OPEN SOURCE COMMUNITY (without being a total sellout) AdamBenzion #AllThingsOpen co-founder Hackster.io, a proud division of
  2. 2. 650,000+ Members (+45K/month) 500,000+ Social media followers 14,000+ Open, IoT, Cloud, AI Projects 210+ Platforms 150+ Countries 4+ Years
  3. 3. Why Hackster?
  4. 4. Projects Content | Trust | Experiences
  5. 5. Communities are the lifeline of any product, code, sharing, service, blogs or cause.
  6. 6. But building them is hard, and keeping it together is harder.
  7. 7. How did we keep our core team, doubled every 12 months, and growing from 0 to 1,000,000+ developers under 5 years?
  8. 8. Here are my top 5 LOADED tips (it’s way too wordy, please breathe)
  9. 9. 1Principals • You are a green, safe, wonderful park with colorful birds, clean water fountains and an awesome library of free-to-borrow books. • You don’t “own” the community • You don’t “own” the content • You don’t play partner favors ”AWS v$ Azure” • You don’t allow crime in your park (trolls) • You should own the software; make it awesome • You also own the culture; make it friendly • Have patience, compassion, humans are weird • Long life? Figure a monetization model, early • Trust o Never buy users o Never sell users • Your integrity is everything • Curation means quality, be the standard • Choose a focus: learn, build, share, fix, test? “Thou shall not serve ugly banners on our pretty software”
  10. 10. 2Team • Hire people who love what you do (hardware) • Hire people with a vision and a voice • Burners, artists are +++ • Take bet on nerdy first timers • Show them the red tape, then burn it, together • Every intern + employee = innovate + execute  Alex Glow: Our very own celebrity YouTuber, cover page star, panelist. Went from 0 to 500K monthly video page views on FB in 2 years.  Monica Houston: Burning Man, hacker, developer, created a network of 60+ worldwide ambassadors that ran Meetups for 1000+ people every month.  Artie Beavis: More social engagement than the Kardashians. 100-1000x more engagement than our industry peers and competitors.  DevTeam: Mostly first time professional developers and designers, building beautiful, functional, different, and ever evolving software.
  11. 11. 3Moments • You need to kickoff with a moment • You need to standout • You need to be desired • You need to be remembered • We bought a DeLorean! On eBay! • It broke the same day we got it! • Went on a 12 city tour in 12 months • Met thousands of future users • Made $200K in sponsorships • HACKED THAT DELOREAN TO DEATH • Everyone remembered us • Everyone loved us offline and online • We came to life! • Never stop. Moments are good for your community, for your team, and partners. • Do good in the world: Women in Hardware, Jane Goodall, Bali. * The DeLorean was adopted by a loving car collector in Seattle, and is being fed organic GMO-free almond milk.
  12. 12. 4Partnerships • Focus on partnerships with companies & communities much larger than yours • Provide these partners with a service that helps you both grow and learn • Plan activities with these partners so you remain valuable and active. • Do everything in your power to keep your partners happy. Your pride is overrated • Grow 1% to 20% from each partner at a time • Use relationships with large companies to shine light on great ideas and open innovation • Follow your principles  Most of your partners are not open source  All of your partners’ content is open source • “Take from the rich, give to the poor”
  13. 13. 5Content • Keep your community busy • Easy, detailed documentation software • Technical workshops • Product webinars • Killer blog, top industry writers (400K/month) • New product, teardowns, awesome videos • Meetups  60 ambassadors worldwide  1000 ppl attending monthly events • Design Contests  41,000 submissions to date  3000+ kits given  $670,000 in prizes  20% of all content  80% of all revenue • Social:  Your members live on FB, Reddit, Instagram  Post on social more than on your site • Newsletter:  Focus on core value: for us it was Learning  Great for ads, but don’t focus on ads (not every ad) CONTEST
  14. 14. So go ahead, craft your principals, build a team, curate great content, dream your moments, and forge partnerships that together make that green, safe, wonderful park with colorful birds, clean water fountains and the awesome library everyone loves.

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