Blog Header
Nevo David

How to leverage Reddit as a growth mechanism for an open-source product

December 16, 2023

Nevo David

I enjoyed talking to Utpal, Growth at
They have an exciting story of a massive viral post on Reddit that spiraled into YouTube, Hackernews, and GitHub trending for a week!
You can watch it here:

Reddit post that started it all

I love and hate Reddit; it’s an engaging social media platform.
What I love about Reddit is that, unlike LinkedIn or Twitter, you don’t need a massive amount of followership to get attention to your content. As long as you have enough Karama (2000+), you can post anything you want anywhere and get a massive audience reading your content - it’s an anonymous platform. It doesn’t matter if you are me or Elon Musk; everybody is the same.

On the other hand, because it’s so anonymous, it’s very toxic.
When nobody can see your face, people show their ugly side, so I tend to post and not look at the comments - because it’s very rare not to have nasty comments there, and it becomes even harsher when other trolls upvote those comments.

Fast forward to Digger. They did something pretty crazy back when their codebase was smaller, they went over /r/golang and posted that they have migrated their code from Python to Go.

That move attracted tons of attention and spiraled - of course; it was genuine as people checked their repository.

Then they woke up on Saturday morning, saw many stars, and didn’t understand where they came from.

Youtube massive growth

I have had many talks with open-source cloud infrastructure tools, and usually, I hear the same thing - YouTube is one of their most robust channels.

Some very big YouTubers can really drive you a massive amount of growth.

The Prime Time picked up Digger and added a video about their big rewrite on GO. That thing exploded (more than 164k views as of now).

They realized they should exploit that momentum and added Digger on Show HN and hit the main page.

The Prime Time is not known to take sponsorship videos, but you can reach him over his Discord.

We have talked about other influencers you might want to contact, such as TechWorld with Nana, That DevOps Guy, Fireship, and Kunal Kushwaha, who are known to be taking sponsorships.

Pick up by TL;DR

TL;DR is a chain of newsletters. They have a pretty big one called webdev.

As I mentioned a while back. We have paid $6000 to TL;DR and got terrible results, so I generally do not recommend paying for such a newsletter.
But Utpal shared that they got some nice traffic from it.

Please consider that Digger did not pay TL;DR to be featured - I guess organic stuff can work way better.

From here, the road was pretty much built to trend on GitHub for about a week.

Product hunt for tech?

Product Hunt is a straightforward website. Companies post about their venture every day and participate in a competition to see who gets the most upvotes.

The top companies rank on the top feed and are supposed to get organic reach from visitors of Product Hunt, and they might even be featured in the Product Hunt newsletter.

Before, it was the team made around 12!! Launches in Product Hunt of different products (to validate their stuff).

In their last launch (for Digger), they took 2nd of the day - Their primary audience came from two main channels:

  1. Their followership - Linkedin, Twitter, Whatsapp groups, Slack groups, and other social networks with their followership.

  2. Not their followers - Reddit and other Slack groups.

We both agreed on one thing: Product Hunt is not the best place to get organic customers for DevTools. Maybe in the future, websites like DevHunt will be the answer.

But it’s an excellent landing page to send people to watch your product and not really “sell” it. If I send a message to somebody to help me with the launch, they automatically get exposed to the brand but not in a salesy way.

I have also seen it at Novu. I asked for support but got some feedback and interest in the product in the process. (Even some booked calls.)

I would usually incorporate Product Hunt launches with multiple stuff (if you want to go viral out of it)

Awesome lists

Digger discovered that actually adding your libraries to awesome lists gets you good traction! Honestly, I have often used awesome lists to find some good stuff.

They have also built their awesome lists and got a lot of traction and contributors.

So here is a small playbook:

  1. Create a new repository called “awesome-[something]”.

  2. Add some repositories there (not too many)

  3. Promote it over social channels and let other people add their libraries.

Make sure you also list your repository on things like:

There are a bunch, so keep your eyes on them.

I personally did something similar with

Get in the episode.

I initially started to feature companies in the newsletter, but then I saw that it takes over two days to edit and write the newsletter, so I stopped.
But so many people still kept on scheduling with me to be featured, so I said, why not 😀 

So, if you want to be in the following newsletter and have more than 2k stars, let’s schedule a call about the agenda and record something together!

Do you need help?

I am happy to help any founder/maintainer to find their growth.

  • Get more stars

  • Get more contributors

  • Get more visibility

  • Get more customers

Schedule a free meeting with me here.

I might give you some “aha!” moments. Who knows 🙇🏻‍♂️

See you next week!