“For Developers”

How do you know when a web-app is targeted at developers?

1. When the API takes front-and center.

Take a look at https://stripe.com.  You’ll find no screenshots on the front page.  One of the first things you will find is working API code snippets and a link to their API docs.

2. When they boldly declare it.

What’s so bold about declaring it, you may ask? To be clear, I am not saying that declaring oneself as “for developers” makes it so. But, declaring oneself as “for developers” does pretty much make it so that you’ve excluded a lot of potential customers.  The non-developer is likely to come to stripe.com, see that declaration front and center, and then leave.  And I’m glad.

Stripe stands forward and says they are “Payments for Developers”.  As a developer, this focus on developers is important to me. It grabs me.  The logical part of me performs simple reasoning: Stripe’s focus is on developers.  I am a developer.  Ergo Stripe is for me. I think it’s sound reasoning. It’s like they say, if you try to please everyone, you’ll please no one.

As a developer, why would I want one of my vendor’s resources focussed on a non-developer audience?  All companies need to prioritize resources. Wether it be support resources or feature development, I would prefer that my vendors of choice prioritize support and feature development toward my technical capabilities.  Who wouldn’t?  Just the same way that a non-technical person would prefer that a vendor’s support efforts and feature development tended toward a non-technical audience.

3. When their team has vastly more developers than managers and marketers.

Look at Stripe’s team.  Do you see many marketing and sales staff?  Not many if there are any. I am sure Stripe will benefit from a sales and marketing team, but for now they seem to be happily building a product which they hope that developers will love.

I, for one, think this developer focus is an excellent strategy.

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