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I'm the Founder of StackShare (community of 1M+ developers) - AMA!

My name is Yonas Beshawred, Founder & CEO of StackShare (stackshare.io), a community of over one million developers that share tech stack decisions with each other. Some of the IH community is already familiar with us and has shared the tech stack they've used to build their companies (e.g. Image Charts) which I love seeing!

I started StackShare 8 years ago when I was trying to learn how to code because I found that there were thousands of different tools you could use to build apps but no way to figure what you should use. So I figured, why not just get everyone to share what they use with each other as a starting point? Turns out a lot of developers want to share what they use!

Fast forward to today, we just announced that we crossed the 1M developer mark and StackShare is now one of the largest dev communities on the Internet, with tons of active convos and sharing happening regularly. We make money primarily through our SaaS offering Private StackShare which helps companies automatically map out all the internal tech stacks being used across their engineering teams (via Git repo integration) and sends you updates whenever a developer adds or removes packages/tools, and even send you alerts for new versions and security vulnerabilities. Sort of like air-traffic control for your tech stacks.

StackShare started as a bootstrapped side project (using WordPress) back in 2013, we officially launched in 2014, and took on VC funding starting in 2015 so I'm happy to offer up any advice/learnings on that journey. But also happy to talk about building developer communities, tech stack decisions, and anything else you all want to chat about!

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    How stackshare handle privacy of private repo which it is mapping?

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      Good question! We never store any of your code. We temporarily access configuration files and repo metadata and then save that for your individual account. None of that data is visible to anyone that isn’t part of your company account (or for personal accounts, only you). Does that answer your question?

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    How did you grow StackShare to what it is today in terms of getting new users?

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      Early on our biggest driver of traffic and signups was blog posts (and our newsletter stackshare.io/weekly) where we got popular companies like Instacart and Flexport to talk about their tech stacks in detail.

      As part of that we got these companies to share their tech stack profiles which made other companies and developers want to do it as well.

      Eventually we built comparison pages called “Stackups” which allow you to compare 2 or 3 technologies side by side. These pages get a lot of traffic because they have discussions and content from real developers (which most sites don’t). Stackups now drive most of our traffic and signups!

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    No question, I just want to thank you because StackShare was the first source of traffic and paying customers for my monitoring tool, StatusGator, back when I launched it in early 2015.

    I had almost zero users, just a few consulting customers I had forced into using StatusGator. I inquired about advertising since it seemed like a good source of tech-focused users. You invited me to write a guest post on StatusGator’s stack and so I did. For months, it was my only source of traffic and was the first source of paid users I didn’t personally know. I remember being shocked that you would tweet my post more than once (in hindsight, of course!) and every time you did so I got more sign ups.

    We are now at around $13,000 MRR (slow and steady!) and StackShare was absolutely instrumental in getting there. Thank you, Yonas!

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      Hey Colin! So happy to hear this, it actually made my day :) I remember chatting with you about StatusGator and learning about how awesome it was. You created a valuable service so it was our pleasure to help you get it in front of more developers! Really glad it’s going well!

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      This comment was deleted 2 months ago.

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    What did you find most difficult about designing this product?

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      If you mean from a UI/UX perspective, in general I’d say coming up with a consistent and easy to understand way of representing a tech stack was the biggest challenge. We basically had to think of a way to show you everything you’re using without making it look overwhelming and without making it too complicated. So we landed on the concept of “layers” and then within that, every technology is a tile in the stack. Is that what you meant?

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        Yes thank you! That's a really smart solution

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    I’ve seen the announcement about Private StackShare, which sounds cool. What inspired you all to create it?

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      Hey Mike! Long story short, developers and engineering managers that were using StackShare told us that they loved using the site but that they couldn't share what they were using at their companies publicly. So they asked for the ability to make profiles and other content private.

      This feedback led us down the path of uncovering a real problem for big companies: they have thousands of repos and tech stacks but no visibility into them. So we built a bunch of automation on top of the public features to help with that.

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        That's awesome. How do you deploy Private StackShare into an internal system? Is it going to me an on-prem or a private cloud, may be?

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          Right now it's cloud- you connect to stackshare.io via your VCS (most commonly GitHub). On-prem is coming soon!

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    Great tool, I have used stackshare.io in the past.

    • How does your revenue look like
    • How big is the stackshare team
    • What is your background
    • What books and 3 people you would recommend to follow on the Internet
    1. 1

      Here we go!

      • We haven’t shared our revenue publicly yet :)
      • We’re a team of 15
      • I graduated with a bachelor’s in Business Information Systems and then worked at Accenture in IT Strategy management consulting for 18 months. Then did a year of a Masters in Human-Computer Interaction and worked at an early startup called Cube for 6 months in sales and a bit of product design.
      • Books: Founders At Work, When Breath Becomes Air, Principles. People: Michael Seibel (blanking on others atm)
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    Congrats @yonasbe! I am curious about your early days of building, were you full time or building part time? What advice would you give to people who are hustling on the side with a day job, wondering to what extent should one discuss the plans with bosses and co-workers without letting it affect your day job in any way.

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      I was in a pretty good situation personally because I basically dropped out of a Masters program and was able to intern with a startup while working on the idea behind StackShare for about 6 months before I went all-in. As far as advice, I’d say you should work on what you’re passionate about whenever you can.

      If I had to do it all over I’d probably start building something open source first. I think bosses and co-workers are more likely to be supportive of that. But it all depends on the company you’re working at. I’d index towards being more open and public about it vs not though.

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    Developer audiences are can be pretty hard to reach. How did you reach out in the beginning and how did do you currently reach out? How is it different?

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      I’m the beginning we leveraged Hacker News quite a lot. We launched there and regularly shared our blog posts with the HN community, and generally the response was really positive. We also leveraged r/programming on Reddit and shared our content there as well. We knew we needed our own distribution channel too so we created a weekly newsletter that is still going strong (stackshare.io/weekly) and that’s primarily how we reach out to our existing community.

      Aside from that we got really good at SEO so Google Search is key for us and it’s how most developers find us for the first time. They’re typically Googling and trying to compare 2 or 3 technologies and they discover StackShare has a comparison page for it. They browse around and then sometimes ask the community for advice on that decision.

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        Thanks for the detailed response. I've been digging into ahrefs and semrush lately to expand my product's reach via seo. Is there a tool you recommend for SEO?

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          Those are actually the two that we use, so you should be in good shape!

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    This comment was deleted 2 months ago.

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      I don’t think it’s too early at all and a lot of the Web 3.0 technologies are already being implemented and used by a lot of devs. AI, ML, blockchain, IoT are all becoming more popular by the day. I think there are plenty of opportunities for indie devs to create applications and services using these technologies. So I’d say start now!

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