My favorite part about side projects comes after the initial build is complete and I can focus on scaling.
This is when I get to put my project out into the wild and watch real users interact with it. But shifting from development to growth can be difficult.
Here are 3 of my go-to tools as a developer to acquire users in a data-driven manner:
Arctype is an easy-to-use and collaborative SQL client. It's great because I can connect to my database and start visualizing user metrics in under 5 minutes.
The product is like if Google Sheets met Tableau, and then it was designed for anybody to be able to use. Some of my favorite features include:
- Creating super simple dashboards: I love tracking metrics from day 0 on my side projects. Understanding total users, increase, churn and more is super helpful. Arctype lets you build these dashboard easily through SQL queries.
- Collaboration: I often work on side projects together with a few friends. We used to share our SQL queries via email, but now with Arctype I can share queries and dashboards directly with my team and give them edit or just view access.
- Managing queries: I use it to query specific segments of users and have most of my queries for these segments saved. That way, I don't have to re-write long queries every time I wish to investigate my data.
Best part? It's free!
- User research: If users are willing to share your product with other users, that's already a positive sign. Reaching out to these users to understand their expectations and use cases can provide valuable information.
- Rewards: During its earliest days, Dropbox grew through its referral program. The vast majority of Dropbox users had free accounts with limited storage space. However, every user was given more free space for any additional users they sign up. Specifying rewards for users for successful referrals can further boost your growth.
- Demand: An important tool for marketing your product is showing excitement and traction. If you can begin markeitng your product and its demand already before launch, you can set yourself up for an incredible launch day.
Sentry is a monitoring platform that helps with discovering, triaging and prioritizing errors in real time. I didn't use Sentry until recently and previously relied on checking logs inside my EC2 instance (I know, super cumbersome). Sentry was a total game changer and here are my reasons why:
- Stack traces: A stack track shows the stack of functions at the time an uncaught exception is thrown. That way, you can trace your error, with return values and data throughout the process.
- Showcasing specific events: With Sentry, you can investigate specific events and the logs associated with them.
- Collaboration: I no longer send screenshots, explanations and snippets of errors to collaborators, but rather send a link or assign errors accordingly.
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