Building tech communities that scale

As developers become stronger in their organization, open source projects and developers communities are booming

Jono Bacon, Former Head of Community at GitHub and Ubuntu, during a meetup in Tel Aviv

“We began as an open source project, and we were completely embraced by the community. VCs, however, weren’t impressed”. These are the words of Fred Simon, co-founder of JFrog, speaking about the early days of one of the most successful startups in Israel — last week during a panel discussion about dev communities.

Today it seems like everyone appreciates the value of big and impactful tech communities. JFrog has been a great lesson for the Israeli market in general and VCs in particular, and in the past few years the tech world has exploded with open source tools and developer groups. Furthermore, developers are continuing to become stronger and stronger within organizations, and well-organized communities have more influence than ever before. These shifts have led to big checks to be signed — some were for investments in platforms like Docker which never managed to monetize its popularity, others were for acquisitions — like GitHub by Microsoft.

Microsoft, under CEO Satya Nadella, understands the value of developers community and is really trying to embrace it. In a short blog post, Nadella published on the day of the acquisition, the word community was written six times. “Developers are the builders of this new era, writing the world’s code And GitHub is their home”, he wrote, and continued: “The developer community will only grow in numbers and importance… In all walks of life, we see the power of communities”.

Rona Segev, General Partner at TLV Partners

But developer communities do not only exist around projects or platforms. Some are just large facebook groups. As Demi Ben Ari, a co-founder of Panorays, said during the panel discussion we conducted a few days ago — “Geeks usually feel uncomfortable at social events. Dev communities are our nightclubs”.

The recent meetup was lively. The panelists frequently disagreed while trying to define a specific model for building or managing a dev-community. The audience was also cooperative and contributed a lot to the discussion.

Jono Bacon, Former head of community at GitHub & Ubuntu
Panel discussion with Fred Simon (JFrog), Shimon Tolts (Datree), Demi Ben Ari (Panorays) & Jono Bacon