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Wednesday
Sep112013

Ten Lessons from GitHub’s First Year in 2008

Tom Preston-Werner, GitHub Cofounder, wrote Ten Lessons from GitHub’s First Year in 2008. Though the lessons are still relevant, and the war stories behind each lesson are great, I can't help but wonder what a 2013 version would look like?

  1. Start Early - GitHub created a market that didn't exist. By building early "on top of a nascent technology, we were able to construct a startup with basically no overhead, no competition, and in our free time."
  2. Adapt to Your Customers - "Don’t give your customers what they ask for; give them what they want."
  3. Have Fun - "You have to goof off a lot in order to balance things out. Burnout is a real and dangerous phenomenon. "
  4. Pay attention to Twitter - "Twitter [is] an extremely valuable resource for instant feedback."
  5. Deploy at Will! - "The first year of a web offering is a magical one. Your customers are most likely early adopters and love to see new features roll out every few weeks. If this results in a little bit of downtime, they’ll easily forgive you, as long as those features are sweet. In the early days of GitHub, we’d deploy up to ten times in one afternoon, always inching closer to that target."
  6. You Don't Need an Office - "We have no office. But we’re not totally virtual either...the rent is a hell of a lot cheaper...invest the savings back into the company, or into our pockets."
  7. Hire Through Open Source - "it’s far easier and less risky to hire based on relevant past performance than it is to hire based on projected future performance. "
  8. Trust your Team - "In a startup, you can drastically reduce momentum by applying micromanagement, or you can boost momentum by giving trust."
  9. You Don't Need Venture Capital - "One of the reasons I left my last job was so that I could say 'the buck stops here.' If we’d taken money, I would no longer be able to say that."
  10. Open Source Whatever You Can 

 

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