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Creating Successful Developer Programs

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Presentation for 'Business of APIs' Conference, San Francisco, 10/15/07, Dave McClure.

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Creating Successful Developer Programs

  1. Creating Successful Developer Programs: All About the Geeks Dave McClure Master of 500 Hats http://www.500hats.com http://500hats.typepad.com
  2. 7 Habits of Highly Successful Developer Programs <ul><li>Audience : Identify Your Main Geeks </li></ul><ul><li>Product : Make Sure It’s Cool </li></ul><ul><li>Geeks : Takes One to Know One </li></ul><ul><li>Metrics : You Get What You Measure </li></ul><ul><li>Biz Model : Bake it into the API </li></ul><ul><li>Education : What Lombardi Said… </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing : Sell Them, Not You </li></ul>
  3. Who’s Your Audience? <ul><li>Who are you trying to reach? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>end-customer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>developers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>indies? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>small co’s? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>enterprise partners? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>What Makes Them Tick? </li></ul><ul><li>What Problems Do They Have? </li></ul><ul><li>Are there geeks who are ALREADY solving your customers’ problems? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>if so, find & recruit them to your cause </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>if not… better find some fast. </li></ul></ul>
  4. Your Product = Better be Cool <ul><li>To get Geeks behind your product, it needs to be Cool </li></ul><ul><ul><li>cool = new, innovative, useful, latest tech </li></ul></ul><ul><li>If it ain’t cool, MAKE it cool. </li></ul><ul><li>Provide [code] examples </li></ul><ul><li>Find developers who are already solving the problem; see if they will use your tools </li></ul><ul><ul><li>if not, back to the drawing board </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Your #1 Job is to help geeks: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1) Make Money, OR </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2) Become Famous </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(either one works) </li></ul></ul>
  5. Your Team = More Geeks <ul><li>Q1: Are you a Geek? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A: if Yes -> Good. Now Go Find some More </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A: if No -> STOP. Do not Pass Go. Do Not Collect $200 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Hire EXTROVERTED Geeks (tough) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bloggers / Writers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>IRC / Wiki / Forum Addicts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hang Out at Conferences & Draw a Crowd </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Enjoy writing code samples & helping others </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Recruit “Geek Advisory Board” with Target Expertise </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Target Languages / Platforms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Customer Verticals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Already Successful / Making Money / Well-Known </li></ul></ul>
  6. Geek Metrics <ul><li>Have Some. </li></ul><ul><li>Aligned with overall </li></ul><ul><li>business goals. </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><li># new customers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li># downloads </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li># active developers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li># transactions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>$ revenue from APIs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>TIP #1: Make Sure Your (non-Geek) Boss / Business Unit signs off on your metrics & goals </li></ul><ul><li>TIP #2: Assume <1% of downloads convert to active use </li></ul>
  7. API Biz Model = Biz Model <ul><li>Bake your Business Model into your API </li></ul><ul><ul><li>no free rides, unless your product is free </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ultimately, your API is just a [hopefully] big business development deal </li></ul><ul><ul><li>if your API helps geeks make $$$, YOU WIN! </li></ul></ul>
  8. Education = It’s The Only Thing <ul><li>To Win , You Must Educate (Product Mktg) </li></ul><ul><li>To Educate , You Must Speak (Blog) </li></ul><ul><li>To Speak , You Must Do/Show (Code Examples) </li></ul><ul><li>TIP: DO NOT REQUIRE REGISTRATION OR LOGIN TO EDUCATE. EVER. </li></ul><ul><li>PERHAPS Require Reg / Login to Make Money / Get Fame ( but only if absolutely necessary ) </li></ul><ul><li>EARLY BETA PROGRAMS = VIRTUE </li></ul><ul><li>NDAs & LEGAL DOCUMENTS = CARDINAL SIN </li></ul>
  9. Marketing = Sell The Geeks, Not You <ul><li>What do Geeks Crave? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Respect (always) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attention (sometimes) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Money (sometimes) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>If you help them -> BFF </li></ul><ul><li>Sell Your Best Geeks, Others Will Follow </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Product Directory of 3 rd -party apps / services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Preferred / Certified developer program </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Affiliate / Incentives for your geeks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>$end them a $teady $tream of customer$ </li></ul></ul>

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