#GlueCon 2014 Notes: What Makes a Great Developer Company? – Ethan Kurzweil, Bessemer Venture Partners

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Keynote: What Makes a Great Developer Company? – Ethan Kurzweil, Bessemer Venture Partners

  • Why the time is now for the developer-driven business
    • Developers traditionally have been at the bottom, but now at the top of companies (tech and non-tech)
    • Microsoft has 2X the cashflow of Google today due to a focus on developers (servers and tools division growing)
    • Estimated 18 million developers, half in the US
    • Developers are now making spending decisions (The New Kingmakers), not just IT decision makers
    • PayPal is now focusing on developers
    • “Developers are a market” – Jeff Lawson
    • Developer business models are strong. Why? A good customer acquisition cost (CAC) -to- lifetime value ratio (LVR)
  • What makes a great developer-driven company?
    • The seven commandments of building the biggest business possible (or at least most of them)
    • 1. Deliver a metered service – lowers the barrier to adoption (pennies to try), bill goes up based on value provided (e.g. Twilio)
    • 2. Your revenue grows with their business – if their revenue goes up, they spend more with you (e.g. DropBox on AWS)
    • 3. Replaces something that companies already pay for (e.g. AWS, Heroku)
    • 4. Offers an amazing experience (the developer experience/”DX”)
    • 5. Developers love it and express their love across their communities – Twilio opens every board meeting with 5-6 tweets about staff
    • 6. Exhibits strong network effects – doesn’t have to be viral, but does have a feedback loop or economies of scale when the network grows (e.g. StackOverflow)
    • 7. Eliminates the need for non-core skillset that no one enjoys (e.g. Stripe removing the need to build out the whole payment processing workflow)
    • 8. (Bonus!) Democratizes development to those without development skills (e.g. Optimizely)