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Github in Developer Marketing and Growth Hacking

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Marketing with Github
4 min

KISSMetrics cofounder Hiten Shah is perhaps best known as a marketer. His keynote talks on customer acquisition and lean analytics are always well-received and often to packed audiences. Nevertheless, these tend to be marketing audiences and not developer audiences.

During last week’s Heavybit Speaker Series, Shah offered his presentation on developer marketing and growth hacking and we were blown away.

We’re used to seeing recommendations around social media, blogs and giveaways. But in preparation for this talk, Shah not only interviewed three Heavybit companies, he also took all 19 of them and categorized them into three separate strategy tracks.

For the purposes of his presentation, he broke each company down into the following:

  • Developer Infrastructure: Shah defines these companies and those that help developers get apps into production. Some Heavybit member examples he included were Iron.io, CodeEnvy and Treasure Data. He suggests that these companies explore the creation of customer subdomains and tutorials as potential marketing tactics.
  • Developer Platforms: Shah defines these companies as those that enable developers to create things faster and add functionality to a product. He includes Heavybit companies like Keen IO, Stripe and Zencoder. Here he talks about how libraries, product integrations and Ruby gems all add value while increasing the virality of a brand.
  • Developer Tools: Shah sees this is as the most traditional SaaS product category and defines these companies as those that help developers do their jobs (or replace part of their job). Heavybit’s members in this category include PagerDuty, Apiary, Takipi and Rainforest. It’s here that Shah about the power of user onboarding and the opportunity to market with Github.

Marketing with Github

In addition to a slew of tactics for developer marketing, Shah spoke at length throughout the presentation about the power of Github. He offers, “Github had over 10 million repositories at of the end of 2013. This is where developers hang out, period.”

Shah believes that developer companies should be analyzing Github using a number of tools including:

  • Github Archive: Companies can use this to look at active repos and power users. This can help you find your influencer set and can tell you who might be a great asset to the organization.
  • Google Big Query: This allows you to analyze the correlation between language-based communities. Perhaps if you’re looking for your next language integration or where to hire your next evangelist, this can offer you those clues.

He also suggested other ways you could leverage Github including:

  • Using Open Source Releases to Prove User Experience: Prior to the Facebook acquisition, Parse released a number of tools available for forking. The idea here is to add value to the community and in some cases, to show ease-of-use for a new product.
  • Github Authorization for Onboarding: Hiten suggests that companies try GitHub authentication to see if it’s a lower barrier to entry than email capture on registration. After implementing Google auth, he’s seen considerable lift with a number of his existing clients.

“I would just test it. Try GitHub authentication versus what you’re doing today, which is normal e-mail and password and see if more people do it.” Says Shah, “To me, it’s just about testing and not about anybody’s opinion. Let’s get some facts, and let’s test it and see what happens.”

For Hiten’s complete Speaker Series talk check it out in the Heavybit Library.