At Amplify, we’ve been fortunate to partner with nearly one hundred early stage founding teams tackling some of the most challenging problems in developer tools, distributed systems, machine learning and cyber-security. Invariably, every company starts out with a similar goal in mind: how do we create a category or disrupt an incumbent and build something that stands the test of time. But of those, few become Datadog or Fastly.
If there’s one lesson we’ve learned time and again, it’s that in today’s rapidly-evolving innovation economy engineering and technical know-how is necessary but far from sufficient in order to build a generational company.
Once you have a technical breakthrough, then comes the hard part. How do we craft a sublime end-user experience? What’s our positioning and messaging so we can stand out in a noisy landscape? Should we open source it? If so, how do we grow our community and build a tribe? Sales?!
These are existential questions for early stage companies. Getting the answers right early on can dictate the path to IPO or underperformance.
In a venture world where capital is commoditizing, advice is not. Focus, domain expertise and actionable, hands-on help have been hallmarks of the Amplify ethos since the firm’s founding. We believe access to the builders who have been there and done that is the best source of leverage for the next generation of founders.
So today, we’re incredibly excited to launch Built for Devs, a podcast series featuring the world’s most renowned entrepreneurs and operators in developer tools, infrastructure and distributed systems as they share lessons and offer insights to overcome some of the most challenging aspects of early-stage company building.
Built for Devs is designed with early stage teams building for a developer or technical end-user audience in mind. As such, our aim is to provide tactical, actionable advice on topics ranging from product development, to community-building, to open source strategy and beyond.
With that, here’s what we have in store for Season 1…
Armon and Lenny talk about best practices for product development when building for a developer audience, and he shares how Hashicorp builds new products, the importance of developer empathy and understanding of your end-users’ workflows, and where to begin when you just have an idea for a new tool or product.
Armon is one of the clearest product thinkers, and he and his co-founder Mitchell Hashimoto have made a multi-billion dollar business out of making complex technology approachable, if not delightful to use, for millions of developers and DevOps practitioners across the globe.
Sarah and Lenny discuss open-source community-building and dive into topics including whether open source is appropriate for your business, techniques to build your community and strategies to monetize open source.
Sarah has long been an Open Source luminary, championing and helping build the communities behind technologies like Kubernetes, NGINX and MySQL. Sarah currently leads open source strategy at Microsoft, where she is part of the Azure Office of the CTO. Sarah sits on the Board of Directors of the Linux Foundation and previously led the Open Source Strategy at Google Cloud.
Francesca and Lenny discuss open-source community-building and dive into topics including whether open source is appropriate for your business, techniques to build your community and strategies to monetize open source.
Francesca is the rare marketing polymath, having led early community efforts at MongoDB before stepping into growth and account-based marketing roles there. She is now the Director of Developer Experience and Growth at Snyk.
In this discussion, Jim demystifies the role and responsibilities of product marketing, shares his framework for getting messaging right, describes how to approach messaging with the goal of category creation versus going after an incumbent, and what characteristics to look for in hiring a great product marketer.
Jim is Vice President of Product Marketing at Cockroach Labs. He is an expert in early-stage product marketing, shaping the messaging and positioning of generational developer brands including CoreOS and Hortonworks.
In the latest episode of Built For Devs, Lenny Pruss and Adam Jacob talk about about how to develop a successful open-source strategy as an early-stage company. Listeners will hear Adam define open-source, provide reasons to pursue an open-source strategy versus a pure SaaS model, and discuss the critical role of trust in getting products to market, as well as the explicit and implicit tradeoffs between OSS and OSS-adjacent license types.
Adam is co-founder and CEO of System Initiative. He is a pioneer in DevOps and a leading voice for sustainable and free open source communities, having created Chef, the open source infrastructure automation platform, and co-founded the eponymous company Chef Software.