“Build it and They Will Come” May Not Work: Investing Early in Developer Success

Many developer relations organizations focus their resources on making sure that their developers can build a great app, service, integration, or whatever product makes sense for their platform and API. While it is very much a necessity to give developers the tools and knowledge to build something that technically works, it is far from sufficient to help developers be successful and prosper.

Likewise, many developer organizations offer formal partner programs that award tiered benefits to developers who achieve specific targets. Unfortunately, there’s often not as much investment in helping the entire ecosystem be successful.

At Intuit, we realize we need to invest early to help developers be successful. The earliest investment to make is one that ensures our developers understand customer pain points and are solving a real problem. To that end, we have a variety of programs to connect them directly to SMB (small and medium sized business) customers and to accountants.

First, we invite all of our customers to provide feedback via UserVoice. While we act on some of this feedback ourselves and enhance QuickBooks, our third-party developers can easily use this feedback to identify problems their products can solve.

Second, we encourage developers to get feedback from an accountant via our “Find A ProAdvisor” website. When you meet with an accountant, they are representing tens or hundreds of small businesses. Accountants are also the biggest influencer for small businesses when choosing apps. One of our developers did this prior to launching his app and got invaluable feedback that allowed him to make the right tweaks before launching.

Third, we encourage developers to join OWNIT, a networking site dedicated to small business success. Developers can benefit from this site in two ways. Obviously, they can directly hear the challenges that small businesses face day to day. In addition, many developers are themselves small businesses, and can get the support they need to grow their own business. From how to create an online presence to logo design to pricing strategies, they can network with like-minded people.

These are just three examples of the ways we work with developers to help them in their journey. How are you helping the developers you serve?