When you build in public... can you OVER-share? 😬

Jim Morrison
7 replies
Being open about business is quite a new kick for me... ([my background](https://blog.usejournal.com/clos...) didn't allow sharing). Now we're building in public we're; * Sharing our live MRR, MAU etc. * Sharing our webstats, via Plausible Analytics. * Started sharing ideas with folk on ProductHunt here. * ... and even sharing why people delete their accounts, here. Is it okay to be so open about why people love (and hate) our product? Are there risks about sharing MRR & MAU that we should be considering... or is there stuff we're not sharing that we should? Where do you draw the line? If you're building in public, are there things you're too afraid to share?


You want people to have confidence in your product - but also you want them to have confidence in you as a developer. On balance, I think it’s very important that developers are working on the right things and for customers/potential customers to feel that they've got a voice, and that their concerns/issues are being worked on. I know I don't like the idea that if I complain about something, it's no more meaningful that shouting into the void. Users are the ones with the biggest stake in features (and bugs), and unless you can show otherwise, your own ideas may not have anything to do with actual user needs. So...can you be 'too' honest? Maybe. Is that a bad thing? As a user of way too many apps, I don't think so.
Vikki Collins
I don't think it's a bad thing to share not only your successes but also the pitfalls you have encountered along your journey. Yes, sharing negative feedback could potentially be damaging, however, if you're showing what you have learnt from it and how you will try to combat issues raised, this just shows that you strive to provide the best for your clients/customers...and that after-all you're only human, learning as you go. It may also prompt other people (both product builders and customers) to share their experiences and give advice on what they think works best. I have seen blogs or sections on front pages of websites saying "This is what our customers fed back to us, we listened, and these are the changes we made..." which I thought was a really good idea and showed a business that truly valued it's customers and their opinions.
i think transparency is a seemingly counterintuitive approach to business, i find it a bit of a slippery slope, i feel when it is presented in a way that humanise the developer and remind customers that we are genuinely trying working to solve their problems, i believe it works.
Jim Morrison
@alfred_chuol1 yeah - I think you've hit the nail on the head Alfred. What we're trying to do is humanise our platform. People quite often assume we're some massive VC-backed, establishment mind-machine... rather than a few folk cobbling something together out of any uptime we can muster. By sharing our metrics I was hoping to help end-users understand that their voices will be heard if they want to talk to us about how we can make our platform better serve their needs. I'll let you know if it works!
Dimitris Karavias
I'm in favour of sharing this kind of material as long as it adds value to others. Analytics numbers on their own are just noise in my feed. If you can write a story about an insight you gained through them then please share! I see some makers sharing their numbers without much context and it feels like they're just following the trend without understanding why.
Jim Morrison
@dkaravias totally agree that there needs to be a story. I wrote this day zero blog a few days before I got round to putting the stats live... ... and you're right - it only becomes helpful for other makers when I commit to writing "month one", "quarter one" etc. There is another motivation for the open approach Dimitris, if I'm honest, and thats that people often confuse us and our product as some concoction of huge enterprise out to get them. I felt that being honest about our size to our readers would help them understand who we are and join us on our journey -- not just makers like us.. but end-users who should also feel like stakeholders who's voices will be heard. Do you think that's a worthwhile approach?
Dimitris Karavias
@jimbomorrison Great point. I think the human factor is underestimated- showing your human side makes building in public so appealing to me. It's how you create a unique brand because there's no other you. Personally I'm also far more accommodating with my customer support requests when I know who I'm talking to and what they're going through. It's human nature.