Building Companies and Developer Communities

Chris DixonTom Preston-Werner

In a virtual fireside chat, a16z General Partner Chris Dixon and GitHub and Chatterbug Cofounder Tom Preston-Werner discuss “Building Companies and Developer Communities.” Preston-Werner explains how the open-source ethos is a great way to build social virality among developers, and how the clean, developer-focused interface of GitHub led to its wide adoption and caused developers to demand it within their own organizations. He also offers marketing lessons from the early days of GitHub, when the company used informal methods of building community, such as hosting “drink-ups” at local bars in a bid to create “superfans.” He urges founders to view a company’s brand as an expression of its core beliefs, with a focus on how it helps its users succeed. The reason people would put a sticker on their laptop or wear a company tee-shirt is because of “what they believe they are communicating to others with that sticker or shirt … it’s a shortcut for communicating values.”

Andreessen Horowitz’s Crypto Startup School brought together 45 participants from around the U.S. and overseas in a seven-week course to learn how to build crypto companies. Andreessen Horowitz is partnering with TechCrunch to release the online version of the course over the next few weeks.

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