Being an Open Company: Metrics for our Second Month

Second month metrics for Watermelon

  • Monthly Active Users 10 ⬆️ (prev. Not measured)
  • New Users 39 ⬇️ (prev 87)
  • New GH Stars 30 ⬇️ (prev 61)

Maniacally focusing on the developer as an individual
Developer tools companies should maniacally focus on the developer as an individual. 

What happens when they don’t, when they focus on building an enterprise product with a top-down adoption focused on the manager, is that they get purchased and unused.

Bottoms-up is the motion of how software gets adopted today in the enterprise. The industry goes towards that trend every time more. We will later combine our bottoms-up marketing efforts with top-down sales, but for the moment, we’re 100% focused on providing value to the developer. 

We’re learning a ton of things about our users each day. We’re constantly iterating our product based on their feedback. The 3 most remarkable things we’ve learned this month are:

  1. We’re not able to run on all machines, yet
  2. We were throwing results from unrelated repos to the search result (fixed on the latest release)
  3. We were underreporting usage of active users (fixed on the latest release)

One more thing we’re still researching now is how do we provide more relevant search results? We’re already indexing a bunch of useful information. Our breakthrough is going to come from how we sort it out more efficiently. 

When you build something people want, you start getting tweets from devs you don’t know cheering for you.

Weekly Active Users is our North Star Metric

WAUs is how we are measuring success. It’s the product of how many devs we reach and retention. We're presenting the monthly metric in this report.

We're defining an active user as one that runs a successful query with Watermelon. Not an installation, not a failed attempt of running a query. A successful attempt.

Having lots of active users is the path to profitability. It’s easier to monetize something that people are already using, than something that people are not. It has gotten very cheap to build and deploy software, which leads to greater market competition (something great).  Getting people to use software, or even find out about it, is harder. We’re focused on building something developers want. Later, with our open-core monetization model, we will monetize our critical mass of users.

This story is especially true for developer tools because it’s a category with low willingness to pay from the developer’s perspective. From the manager’s perspective, there is a lot of willingness to pay, reflected by skyrocketing engineer salaries. 

As an additional note, companies in the developer tools space are and will keep getting disproportionately greater amounts of VC funding. There are 3 reasons for this: The high willingness to pay managers have, the fact that these ideas are more unique and have less competition than other software verticals, and because we’re building for builders (also true for other verticals such as no-code and crypto).

Adjusting our community engagement metric
We’re focusing now on GitHub stars more than forkers. The ROSS Index recognizes that it’s not a perfect metric but it does help people understand which OSS products are on top of developers’ minds. 

We would still like to encourage you to fork our repo, and to open a PR for one of our open issues. We are also in the process of getting approved for GitHub sponsors. While money from donations won’t make us grow as an organization directly, they are also a moat and sign of community engagement. If a developer donates money to us, they are less likely to evaluate alternatives to Watermelon.

Traction Experiments

  • VS Code’s marketplace works very well. We’ve worked very hard on optimizing our REAMDE to get “SEO” on this platform. 
  • We’ve seen YouTube videos correlate better with new installs than our previous blog posts. These videos work at a small scale. We need to double down on this early on, to make it work when we’re at 100x the current scale. 
  • Blog posts work well for company news, such as the one you’re reading right now.

What’s Next

  • Keep fixing our product to grow its stickiness and grow our active users
  • Double down on VS Code’s marketplace and YouTube as our acquisition channels
  • Build the next feature (currently validating what direction to choose).