What Business Are you In?

Figuring out what business you’re in is more difficult than it seems.

I work at CodePen. CodePen is site where front end web developers share small examples of their work with clients and peers. We call those small examples Pens.

CodePen is a community of web developers first and a teaching/learning tool second.

We’ve helped web developers connect by showing off their Pens. Before we ever had a job board companies found talented developers and hired them for their first gig.

What we do best is welcome all web developers into the CodePen community. We encourage them to create by giving them tools that shorten the time it takes to see results. We answer their questions and make sure they can make use of the tools we provide. We moderate the community to ensure it stays positive. We fix bugs every day. We continue to add features that we hope delight new users and power users alike.

Hospitality — the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.

CodePen is a freemium SAAS business. It looks like a technology company from the outside.

But I think we’re a hospitality business that uses technology to bring web developers together on the web.

CodePen’s success depends on three things.

Welcoming new users.

Entertaining returning members.

Delighting CodePen PRO members that help us keep the lights on.

Knowing what business you’re in is essential but it isn’t always obvious. Figure out what part of your business makes you special and improve that everyday.