I'm very proud to announce that Saasify's open source GitHub repo has just hit 600 stars. ⭐
This is a small but important milestone for us that has taken over a year of consistent, daily work including contributions across over a dozen related projects in the more general JS and TS communities.
I'm a big believer in the power of open source and can say from experience that a lot of people underestimate the second & third-order effects of building a strong open source community.
For starters, it's one thing to claim that your company's transparent, has a solid platform that customers can rely on, and that customers can trust you, but it's really a different thing entirely to show all of these things by putting your code where your mouth is and open sourcing much of your core platform. Having a reputable presence in the open source community is increasingly becoming a major advantage for aspiring indie hackers.
Another advantage of investing time in open source is that it will eventually attract other talented developers who want to have an understanding of what things look like under the hood before considering whether or not they'd want to work with you. If you can show publicly that your platform is reasonably clean and follows modern best practices, you'll be able to have conversations with many top developers who would otherwise not give your company a second glance.
Aside from the very rare occasional viral HN post or influencer plug, successful open source projects tend to follow a very similar lifecycle as bootstrapped businesses.
They both generally take a slow, methodical approach to gaining traction and eventual success or failure can't be pinpointed to any one particular feature, strategy, or decision. It's a combination of consistent grinding, iterating based on user feedback, and ultimately persistence that separates both successful open source projects and indie products from unsuccessful ones.
If there's one thing that I'd love for other startup founders and indie hackers to take from our experience so far, it's an appreciation for how powerful open source can be as a natural content marketing and business development strategy especially for early adopters who tend to be more technically savvy.
What are your thoughts on open vs closed source approaches for indie businesses?