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Marketing open source projects to great success!

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Marketing open source projects to great success!

Everything begins with a great project, but to really succeed and grow that's not enough. Here are some tips and tactics that we used in the Eclipse Che project and Codenvy to grow to >4000 GitHub stars and >7M hours of usage in one year.

You'll leave the session with advice on

- Setting up your repo to foster and grow a community

- Define your project's value and get your voice heard in the market

- Encourage users to experiment with your project...and encourage users to contribute

...all with zero (or very small) marketing funds.

Warning: this session is not for people who hate large, popular, well-used projects...

Everything begins with a great project, but to really succeed and grow that's not enough. Here are some tips and tactics that we used in the Eclipse Che project and Codenvy to grow to >4000 GitHub stars and >7M hours of usage in one year.

You'll leave the session with advice on

- Setting up your repo to foster and grow a community

- Define your project's value and get your voice heard in the market

- Encourage users to experiment with your project...and encourage users to contribute

...all with zero (or very small) marketing funds.

Warning: this session is not for people who hate large, popular, well-used projects...

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Marketing open source projects to great success!

  1. 1. Marketing Open Source with Great Success! Brad Micklea @bradmicklea Dir, PM with Red Hat ex-COO with Codenvy Project lead, Eclipse Che Wed, 25-Oct-2017 16:30 - 17:05 Wilhelm-Kramer-Zimmer Room
  2. 2. Why Listen? Che Marketing Stats... >7M Che workspace usage hours >1M Website visitors (page views were even higher) 98 Contributors to Che & Che-Docs
  3. 3. If you build it...
  4. 4. Sorry, they won’t come. ( that’s make-believe )
  5. 5. Good News: Marketing your project is free! (But it is work)
  6. 6. 1. Build the Message
  7. 7. Focus on what people get from your project. Why should they care and why are you different from anyone else? My rules: ● Be honest and clear - no adjectives or hyperbole ● Copy the best (it’s not cheating) ● Use accepted terms but limit “marketing” words ● Target editing away more than half your words Identify Your Value Proposition
  8. 8. Refine The Value Proposition Create 2-3 options to test with real users. My Rules ● Watch for an immediate and emotional response. ● Then, stick with it. Repetition makes the message.
  9. 9. Example Codenvy
  10. 10. Example GitHub
  11. 11. 2. Obsess on “First” Experience
  12. 12. Many Firsts - Obsess About All! Most people focus on the first impression, but each step a user/contributor takes is its own first. ● First interaction (site, or readme, or others) ● First product experience (run or perhaps build) ● First build from source ● First contribution
  13. 13. In your repo sweat the README.md: ● Your clear and powerful value proposition. ● Screenshot if applicable (must look professional). ● How to experience your project (don’t assume build). ● Link to a CONTRIBUTE.md. ● Include a LICENSE.md. First Impression Basics
  14. 14. A Joyful First Experience Option 1: Make “getting started” top of your README. (TOC is a good idea for a big readme)
  15. 15. A Joyful First Experience (Shameless Plug) Option 2: Add an Eclipse Che factory or Chefile to your repo instant experience.
  16. 16. Eclipse Che Factory: Nothing to install. 30 seconds to evaluation.
  17. 17. 3. Broadcast. Then Amplify.
  18. 18. Start with Differentiated Content Establish your niche and position. A blog is a good way to test - use the metrics. Self-host or publish to others can both work. Medium.com is easy and gets a built-in audience, but you have minimal metrics and can only use a sub- domain for URL.
  19. 19. Example Che Blog
  20. 20. Hone Everything with Metrics Consider metrics you get when choosing a platform. Commit to experimenting and measuring results. Look for win-win partnerships.
  21. 21. Growth Hacking Value Example @EclipseJavaIDE Work: Experimented with GIF length, tagging, time of day for tweets. Result: 350k monthly impressions with 30 minutes prep a day.
  22. 22. Know Your Goal Awareness: Release notes are great - especially if they’re frequent. Engagement: Be opinionated (or even controversial) but honest.
  23. 23. Get Creative and Run Experiments Experimented with Quora in 2016 - answered project- relevant questions. - Honest - Transparent - Helpful Worked for us, but YMMV
  24. 24. 100 Target attendees >700 Live attendees 25% Product usage increase Doing CheConf 2017 in December! Get Ready!
  25. 25. Take Docs Seriously For open source projects, docs are where the users are. ● Control it, it’s probably more important than your site ● Track it and obsess over it ● Guide people - connect the docs to site and repo ● Reference docs in posts, blogs, tweets, etc...
  26. 26. Table of contents is critical - reflect your user’s goals and “understanding journey”
  27. 27. 4. Work for Your Community (And Your Community Will Work for You.)
  28. 28. The First Step Is Already Done: Clear Repo, Clear “Firsts,” And A Joyful Experience.
  29. 29. A Painless First Contribution ...If you go with the Eclipse Che option, a dedicated PR panel makes it easy for contributors to execute a first pull request.
  30. 30. Show A Clear Community Path The community needs to see a clear forward path: user > contributor > committer > maintainer. ● Document what’s needed in your repo: ○ ...to contribute (CLA)? ○ ...to commit (PRs? Voting?) ○ ...to maintain? ● Engage and push people from level to level
  31. 31. Cultivate The Community ● Plan in the open ○ Discuss plans in the repo. ○ Explain why things can’t or shouldn’t be done. ○ Host virtual public meetings to encourage discussion. ○ Publish your roadmap on your repo wiki. ● Never stop engaging.
  32. 32. Ask for Help Your community is your friend - ask them for help (they will!) ● Share your big, audacious goals publicly. ● Find people who can help and reach out personally. ● Look for win-wins (e.g. VJug and CheConf). Asked... ...Got
  33. 33. Thank You @bradmicklea

Editor's Notes

  • Write down why people should care about your project.
    Remember: it’s about what they get from it, not what you do.

    Let your followers amplify your message and watch the words they use.

    “Development witchcraft” was Red Monk, not me.

  • Meet with your audience and try your variations:
    Figure out which “plays” best (best response + most repeatable).
    I love trade shows and conferences for this part.
    Refine based on your findings.

    Once you’re done, remember to never stop doing this :)

  • Clear criteria, make it as quantitative as possible
    Figure out where the right bar is - ours is 2 sizeable contributions but Che is hard, might be more for a simpler project

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