re: How to Grow a Multi-Sided Platform: Start with Single Player Mode VIEW POST

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re: First: It's always a pleasure to read an opinion from a source whose opinion you can trust, as credibility is a difficult thing when the source d...
 

We're still there in some ways.

We still have a long way to go, but it's funny how no amount of progress can convince some people that your thing is useful. Skepticism is basically a law of the universe. 😄

But we've always just embraced skepticism as a very healthy reaction. People should be skeptical about new things to a pretty decent extent. It takes a long time for things to really get to the point of delivering value and a lot of people give up and shut a project down before they get to that point.

We also have the issue where some folks probably remember old, crappier versions of our platform as what the platform is all about. It's almost better if they forget they ever created an account.

 

There's a lot I can say on the phenomenon you're describing, but I believe my personal anecdote regarding dev.to may be more relevant:

  • I found dev.to when someone wrote an article about my work last year, as I noticed the site as a source of inbound traffic. I didn't know what it was beyond a webpage, but that's how it got on my radar.
  • After finishing my last project, I wanted to document my process so that when I'm coaching developers in the future, I have material I can refer them to that would give them the foundation of a conceptual process for building an app. I decided to cross-post from my blog on other platforms so I picked the obvious choices of Medium and LinkedIn. I then remembered dev.to and looked to see if it was a blogging platform. It was, so it got added to the list.
  • My articles had no practically no engagement on any platform, but since it wasn't my main objective I didn't worry about it. However, in setting up my dev.to account I learned more about the platform's intent to be a dev community, not simply a blogging platform.
  • I've dabbled in several online communities for developers, but inevitably the signal-to-noise of useful conversation grew exponential worse at a rate that I found too tedious to warrant my further attention. It seemed that the intent of dev.to was to build a dev community without that characteristic.
  • I took the approach I always take with new communities: I watch for the latest discussion posts to get to know the type of people in the community, as watching curated feeds tends to skew your view of the community due to the Mathew Effect. I engaged to see what the response would be. So far, I have been pleasantly surprised.
  • I've enjoyed engaging for the last few days, and so far, so good.

I'm only one person and am far outside the standard deviation on several attributes. However, I believe my general experience will be repeated by people like me, and you will continue to see your community grow.

No one likes change and people fear what they don't know. Over time, however, a new solution can tip (in reference to the thesis of "The Tipping Point"), and people wonder how they ever did anything else. My theory is that staying the course will yield the best outcome for dev.to, as time is on your side.

Very self-aware! I think a lot of people go through a similar journey, but I think with less general intentionality. I think there's a lot of repeat exposure learning with our platform.

Knowing that so much of our community's content is distributed broadly to the greater web, we can trust that you'll probably stumble on the platform a few times before it starts to click, and we're okay with that. We could probably speed up the conversion cycle by being more in your face with our messaging to sign up, or by restricting content in some way, but that would be incredibly counter to what we're about.

So we've sort of settled on just going with the flow, creating gentle nudges to get more involved without interfering with the main purpose of just letting people read useful content. And then we allow the chaos of "word of mouth" do do its part. Someone might share a post in their team's Slack and someone else might say "oh what's this dev.to thing all about anyway" and there is some possible aha moments there—but we try not to over-manufacture this kind of behavior. If we stick to delivering value, we grow.

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