With great success comes great challenges, and GitHub has learned that lesson during the company’s explosive growth. TechPORTFOLIO talked to GitHub Project Manager Daniel Hwang about tackling growth challenges with strategy, long-range thinking, partnerships, and product “superfans.”
TechPORTFOLIO: GitHub has scaled up massively in just a few years. As a startup dealing with large-scale success, what have been some of the key takeaway lessons for smart growth?
Daniel Hwang: Nine years ago, GitHub was started as a side project for developers looking for a better way to collaborate on code together. As we grew, we kept our focus on building something people loved, and that we loved.
We thought about what it meant to have not just fans, but “superfans.” For us, creating superfans meant growing smart. To do that, we approached our product with a lot of thought around design and utility. We want GitHub to be an accurate representation of our developers, our peers, and ourselves each and every day.
TechPORTFOLIO: About half of GitHub’s employees are remote—and GitHub’s product, of course, facilitates remote work. How important is factoring in remote work for startups making a growth plan?
Daniel Hwang: Remote work is extremely important when making a growth plan. Especially if a startup aims to build a well-rounded, global company.
When you limit recruiting to a single region, or even just one country, you limit the talent pool that’s available for you to hire from. I’ve been very fortunate to work with a distributed engineering team—from the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, and the U.S.—that brings their naturally different perspectives to our technical discussions.
TechPORTFOLIO: Last year saw the debut of GitHub Enterprise on IBM Bluemix. How important have collaborations with established corporations been in GitHub’s scaleup?
Daniel Hwang: Our partners are incredibly important to us. Millions of developers already use GitHub to build software; partnerships—like the one with IBM Bluemix—make GitHub available to even more companies and developers across the globe, allowing them to tap into the power of social coding while building the best software, faster.