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My Public Inbox

ben profile image Ben Halpern ・1 min read

I'm going to pin this post to the top of my profile so there's a place for anyone to publicly ask me a question, and I'll do my best to reply when I can.

I'm happy to offer advice primarily on the intersection of software, entrepreneurship and career.

Happy coding!

Discussion (27)

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george profile image
George Nance

How did you grow enough of a following to launch a social network? Any advice for someone who wants to do the same?

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DevLorenzo

Yes, can you please give us advice about how to grow an audience as a dev?

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Ben Halpern Ask Me Anything

I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't stop working on the project for 10 years, even if traction took forever. Then I methodically worked on content creation and observing what stuck and could lead to further opportunities. It was years of growing on Twitter before even typing rails new for what became DEV.

Giving myself the room to do a lot of observing while methodically building helped ensure some amount of success. But it's also an area that combines several different skillsets of mine.

FWIW it's going to be way easier for folks to build from scratch on Forem (the extraction from DEV we're working hard on).... We'll soon launch a Forem app which will act as a discovery mechanism for independent Forem social networks hosted in a distributed way, but discoverable through one app.... It's going to be really really cool.

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Syed Faraaz Ahmad

I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't stop working on the project for 10 years

You must have had exceptional belief in DEV community then

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DevLorenzo • Edited

Thanks for answering!

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern Ask Me Anything

You must have had exceptional belief in DEV community then

I had belief in my own interest in seeing an improvement in online communities. My sense was that I wouldn't get bored of trying to help because I really cared. So with that in mind I also promised myself I wouldn't give up.

In prior ventures I'd either gotten bored or given up primarily because I either didn't truly care about the mission deep down, or got involved with people I didn't like or respect as founders and people. I made sure with this venture to solve for some of those fundamentals early on and let the success come with patience.

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Christopher Wray

Do you now make enough money to support yourself with DEV?

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Ben Halpern Ask Me Anything

DEV (Forem) was once a ramen story (not paying ourselves, running out of money etc)...

But now the company is pretty well funded and building a very sustainable business model around hosting Forems.

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Christopher Wray

Awesome πŸ‘

Congratulations. I will do my best to read that other article.

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Iain Freestone • Edited

Hi Ben, is there any way to get analytics on a post made to dev.to? The number of views figures are nice to see but would love to be able to track where the visitors came from.

Thanks for the great work on this site.

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Coderslang: Become a Software Engineer

Hey Ben! Thank you for this AMA.

Is there an ETA for the first stable/public release of Forem?

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Ben Halpern Ask Me Anything

We've been hesitant to give a date on some of this because there's been a lot of discovery needed on both stability of the hosting options while at the same time ironing out all the edge cases where historically with DEV we've been able to dip into a coding environment and for this to run effectively it shouldn't need that. With that being said, things are getting a little clearer:

The first stamped down supported self-hosted option. I don't know exactly when the release will be, but we're pretty close here... Expect an ETA soon. I don't want to make any promises but we're finally seeing the finish line.

For our hosted version, Forem Cloud, while it's stable for us, the thing we need to work out is orchestration so we can effectively automate the management of n number of Forems. This will come in the second half of this year.

Thanks for your patience! Our end goals are incredibly ambitious and Forem is going to change the Internet!

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Coderslang: Become a Software Engineer

Thank you, Ben! Looking forward to the release.

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Olivier Guimbal

Have you started many projects that could become companies to you ? Which proportion of your ideas did you actually start writing code for ?
If so, what was your reciepe to know if a project is worth it ?
And how would you know when persistence on a project becomes obstination, and that it is time to abandon it ?

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Ben Halpern Ask Me Anything
  1. Yes, by personality and interests I'm not company company company, I really appreciate non-commercial initiatives, but generally my creative impulse is fiddling on stuff that could become companies.
  2. In the past: like 90%. I'm out of the "side project" phase of my life so I can dedicate my time to building the company, but in the past I've not hesitated to write a little code just to even tease out my excitement for the project.
  3. Having a clear path to actual distribution and customer growth is probably the biggest thing. If it's unclear who the hell might wind up actually adopting it, it's hard to pursue.
  4. I think if there is no path to adoption/distribution it may be worth abandoning, but a huge breakthrough for me with DEV was just deciding not to abandon it as a rule. So I selected something I knew would keep my personal interest even if it took a long time to reach adoption. So the first year+ was extremely methodical laying of the groundwork for some future growth.
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Sean Allin Newell

How's the fam?

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Ben Halpern Ask Me Anything

I haven't been able to see most of my family in over a year (Canadian), but generally doing pretty well. I'm very grateful for the Canadian government assistance through the pandemic for the folks in my family who have needed it.

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Bobby Iliev

No questions at the moment, but just wanted to say thank you for the great platform!

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Mitch Jackson

Thanks for bringing us dev.to!

How do you like your coffee? Pour-over, french press, keurig? Milk or sugar? Light, medium or dark roast?

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Ben Halpern Ask Me Anything

I think I prefer medium roast, but as I don't have a strong preference, I like to mix things up. My favorite coffee treat is a good artisan latte on a cool fall day (like, I don't know what exactly I mean by "artisan", but I used to live in Brooklyn, which is full of great takes on coffee) but too many lattes are not great on the ole waistline, so I usually take my coffee black.

My wife and I got this Jura machine as a wedding gift and it is really amazing. Probably not something we'd have ordinarily budgeted for.

coffee

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Gedalya Krycer

Hi Ben!

Is it possible to use the dev.to API to pull account-specific information (page views, reactions, etc) without dealing with CORS?

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Sean Allin Newell • Edited

Do you think companies would ever choose a Forem instance over their own blog attached to their wordpress site?

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marcellothearcane

What's the roadmap for moderation? There's some things I'd like to see!

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern Ask Me Anything

We will have a more well-described general roadmap soon. If you want to see something implemented please advocate for it on an issue on GitHub or start a discussion on forem.dev

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Andrew (he/him)

What advice do you have for an American moving to Canada?

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Jenna Wagner

You are also among the dev.to developer

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