How We Built
a Community of Programmers
Hi! Who are you and what business did you start?
Hey there, I’m Sahil Ranpuri, one of the founders of Indians Who Code — a community of programmers.
Indians Who Code is a living directory of thriving Indians in the developer community. Our mission is to provide a space to find outstanding people to follow, look for a mentor, make new friends, or discover talented individuals.
What is your personal story and how did you come up with the idea?
I graduated in 2019 in BSC IT and Zaid graduated in 2017 in BE Electrical.We both work in a common startup named Iconscout. I am a Frontend Engineer, and Zaid is a Full Stack Engineer.
During my office days, we were working on multiple side projects. However, we didn’t find anything that sparked our interest. One day I was researching the Developers Community in India, where I found some people doing great work. However, I found that no such community existed. After researching other industries like design, I found multiple websites where you could find an Indian design mentor.
At that time, we had a lightbulb moment! We decided to create a Developers Community Platform where developers or programmers can have a chance to inspire others by sharing their work.
What challenges did you face when creating your product/service?
In the beginning, we spent more time choosing the right tech-stack that fits in our requirements to make this website and choosing deployment services based on predicted traffic.
In the research phase, we found that if we are going to showcase the developer’s information, there would be lots of information we can have, and that can be shown. As we believe in minimalism, we spend lots of time removing the information that seemed not most useful, and hence we finalised the minimal design with minimal useful information. In the near future, there will be more useful and specific developers’ information based on user’s feedback and analytics.
As a community maker, we also faced various challenges at the start like building a network and community of people. Many things needed to be taken care of like approaching, maintaining relations, etc. However, we are focused on the quality of the directory within the Developers community.
The hardest challenge is time management. As we both work full-time jobs, we only have a few hours after our working hours plus weekends to manage the platform. Various things have been done in between working full-time like planning, discussion, design, development, testing, deployment, launching, social media management, approving nominations, engaging with users, taking feedback, and a lot more!
Who is your target market?
At present, our targeted audience is the developers, or you can say programmers who want to impact the industry and focus on students who are new to the industry.
How do you market your business and which approaches have been the most successful?
Since we launched the platform on Product Hunt, we got a good response and traffic from it gave us a good initial push.
Nevertheless, our marketing tool is our quality. We focus on quality and reputation, which help us to grow. We still haven’t tried any paid advertising.Apart from that, we mainly use Twitter and Instagram to reach people and build long-lasting relationships with these creative individuals.
Since you launched, what has worked in not only attracting but retaining customers?
Our product’s uniqueness is our awesome developer’s directory, which will be more effective than any other thing on our website.
The biggest thing that worked in our favour is our community. As I already mentioned we believe in quality and that is why we have very small but high-quality developers on our platform. After talking to many developers and students, they are using the platform to connect with fellow developers who have different skill sets than them. While students are using the platform to connect to those developers to get mentorship in different ways possible.
What kind of culture exists in your company, and how did you establish it?
Currently, we are just the two individuals who have started with this platform but we still believe in following the right principles and methods when it comes to working.
Before starting anything new, we spend the majority of our time during research. I think having done the proper research about any new feature is already half the work done. Then we generally have a comprehensive discussion and conclude what to do and what to not, then we set our schedule and split our work. We use this approach for almost all projects.
What software, services or tools do you use within your business?
Apart from that, we use multiple services for different uses:
- Google Meet (For meetings)
- Notion for day to day task management
- Google Analytics (Analytics) and many more…
What are the most important lessons have you learned on your business journey?
The most important thing that we have learned in maintaining the quality and reputation for your product and not only that. Mainly we learn about the importance of listening and engaging with the users. By accomplishing the same, we also made some changes and added some features. After comparing analytics, we noticed an improvement in engagement.
We are just taking the baby steps in the startup world. Our current goal is to not focus on revenue more but focus more on creating value with whatever we are building. We are surrounded by some really good founders who are helping us in every step ahead which will be a great help for us in the future.
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
We truly believe that entrepreneurs make something that they actually care about, and they think it will impact the industry and user life.
Some aspects that I like the most are
- Never give up attitude
- Do whatever we want
- Learn from everything
- Build leaders and many more…
What is your LEAST favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
We are lucky to enjoy all aspects of entrepreneurship!
What books, podcasts or other resources have inspired and influenced your business journey?
I have started reading some books but it won’t be appropriate for me to talk about it as I am yet to finish them. I have however watched some really good movies like Jobs (2013 and 2015), The Social Network, The Founder, and Super 30. Two special shows I want to mention here are The Pitchers and Silicon Valley. These movies and shows have inspired me a lot.
Where do you see your business 2-3 years from now?
As I already mentioned we want to create something that provides some value to others life and in our case are the developers. We want to create the biggest community of developers in India using which people can connect to them easily for mentorship and those developers can showcase their work and also get work with showcasing their portfolios.
By keeping our motive and focus, we are coming up with new features on a website based on analytics, feedback, and research, which we hope will be more engaging and useful to developers.