Chip Hazard from Flybridge Capital recently wrote an excellent blog post on developer driven business models. In his post, he outlines 10 suggestions for driving developer adoption. He even cited 10gen for getting our engineers to evangelize MongoDB at conferences and meetups, and for our success bringing the community together through MongoDB Days.
When I’ve presented about the MongoDB community in the past, I’ve outlined four key reasons that MongoDB has gained traction with developers. It closely mirrors Chip’s list.
Easy to get started
Developers have limited time to invest in exploring new technologies, so it’s critical to make the initial “getting started” experience as seamless as possible. We want it to be dead simple to download MongoDB, and we pride ourselves on ease of installation. You can even try MongoDB without installing anything by playing with our interactive tutorial, try.mongodb.org.
Works with your OS / language / whatever
Early on, we built and supported drivers for the most popular programming languages. As 10gen added more and more languages (up to about a dozen now), the community built and supported many open source object document mappers (ODMs). Another unexpected driver for adoption was support for a variety of operating systems — including Windows. Regardless of whether you are a .NET developer or a Rubyist or a Perl Monger, you can use MongoDB.
Support is the new marketing
In most cases, a free support forum is a new user’s first interaction with the open source community. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Providing good support isn’t good enough; we strive for amazing support that wows new users, so that they tell all their friends about MongoDB. For example, Kristina once fixed a bug in the Perl driver within a few hours. Who would have thought that the person who found the bug was a developer at Craigslist, who would later tell that story in interviews and presentations?
Face to face is important
We invest a lot of time and money into getting in front of our users in person. This includes open office hours in several cities, a network of MongoDB User Groups supported by 10gen, and MongoDB conferences around the world. Often people come to these events because they have questions about MongoDB and they want to learn how it’s being used. My hope is that when they leave one of these events, they feel like they are part of a vibrant community.
These are a few of the things that have worked for us but I would love to hear your thoughts on key factors for driving adoption of new technologies.