8 steps to cross the chasm

Our master plan to grow Encore and reach mainstream adoption.

March 29, 2021

Marcus Kohlberg

Marcus is the co-founder of Encore. Before that he was a Product Lead at Spotify for many years.

Solving for adoption of a backend framework is very different from working on growth for a B2C product. The playbook we used at Spotify to grow Premium subscriptions, which is my last gig, isn't very relevant for convincing the developer community to take notice of yet another new framework.

And why should it? Speaking to the developer community, as if there’s even such a singular entity, means speaking to a group of very discerning people.

The level of trust we’re asking for is also entirely different. Spotify is an app, a bit of fun, it’s something you can use without commitment. Proposing a backend framework means asking for a lot more trust. Sure, taking a poke around and getting to Hello World, doesn’t require much investment. But going from there, to trusting a framework enough to start building your next project? That’s quite a big leap.

So how do we get there? How do we cross the chasm from early users to mainstream adoption? You might as well ask: How long is a piece of string?

crossing the chasmTasked with helping Encore go from hopeful beginnings to something greater, I needed to arrive at an answer. So I spent days studying the rise and fall of other breakout frameworks.

Instead of reading post-hoc articles about why one framework won out over another, I focused on digging into the conversations taking place while new frameworks were being introduced. The Internet is amazing for this type of activity. Through message boards, social platforms and repositories, I had access to a meticulous record of the discussions, and arguments, that people were having as things unfolded.

From this detective work, coupled with countless conversations and interviews with developers from across the globe, I’ve arrived at eight necessary steps to get a framework to reach mainstream adoption. This is now, and forever a work in progress, our very public masterplan to grow Encore.

Master plan to grow Encore

  • Provide a seriously great developer experience and low bar to succeed.
  • Nurture an active open source community to de-risk the technology.
  • Visibly be the best solution for a specific set of needs or use cases.
  • Enable the creation of a well-known technical solution or product.
  • Inspire popular and influential persons, or organisations, to advocate.
  • Ensure availability of libraries, so new users don't need to build from scratch.
  • Help the community converge on common practises and support for problem solving.
  • Take position to ride a wave of technological change or new enablement.

So far so good, but eagle eyed readers may have already noticed that there are lots of interdependencies between these requirements. There’s also a few that have clear cold start problems. Being fresh out of silver bullets, looks like we’re going to have to stock up on lots of lead bullets and get stuck in.

– Watch this space.

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