How open-source can help your startup

Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash

How open-source can help your startup

Mohsen Kamrani's photo
Mohsen Kamrani
·Apr 11, 2022·

3 min read

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It all started with the idea of building a platform that solves the main challenges you expect a cloud/DevOps engineer to solve for you.

I started building the project for a couple of months until the pandemic started. At this time I was able to spend more time on the project as I didn't have to commute for three hours a day and I wasn't as tired as before after work so I could work as hard as possible on the project.

Fast forward around 150K lines of code, I had a product, named Utopiops, that was doing a lot of the things I had planned initially and even more. But at the same time I realised it's become more complex than something I can/want to maintain on my own.

I asked my brother and few devs to join the project and I could pay those guys with the savings I had made.

Fast forward 5-6 months, the product was really shiny, with a lot of good features, and definitely too good for the first release!!

Now it was time for marketing! (The idea was validated long before and now I had to actually sell)

But guess what, I was bad at marketing, or at least I thought so. I thought I have to do the grunt work and start reaching out to anyone I can on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Soon I realised that this type of marketing doesn't work with IHs, developers and small to medium size teams. They have to try something, hear about it from their peers or something like that.

I also knew how Gitlab, Terraform, Sentry and many companies like that had grown from the ground to billion dollar companies.

It was time to decide what's the next step for Utopiops. But I needed a guinea pig for what I had in mind - making Utopiops open-source!

Luckily for me, I had worked on another project which you could see as a combination of Zapier and Gitlab (the CI part) - it's a long story for another post.

I gave it a name, DoTenX, and made it open-source. It's been less than a week since making DoTenX open-source and already there are 100+ people on the Discord server and the project has around 50 stars and people show a lot of interest!

I'm pretty sure most of you know how hard it is to build a community around your SaaS and these numbers for such early stage are beyond my expectations.

Now it's time to make Utopiops open-source (which is happening already).

To me building a community and spreading the word about the service I was providing was the biggest challenge, and the answer was making the project open-source.

Definitely there is no single factor involved in being successful but at least I'm happy it's solving my biggest issue so far.

Also, if you ask me why I didn't make it open-source from the get go, my answer is that I hadn't gone through the startup university back then...

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