Github is little known

“Little-known social coding start-up GitHub Inc. has raised $100 million in its first round of funding, in a sign of how big investment bets are continuing in Silicon Valley.”

Last week, The Wall Street Journal wrote about Github’s first round of funding calling the company ‘little known’. The software development community was outraged: how dare you call Github ‘little known’!

But Github is little known. Sure, they’ve just reached 1 million users, but compare that to Gmail with over 450 million and Facebook set to reach 1 billion within a month and it’s tiny. Anecdotally, no-one I know that doesn’t work in software development has ever heard of Github, and half of the people I know who do (including a lot of testers) have either never heard of or never used Github.

This is an classic example of the strange tech bubble we live in. Recently I was shocked to meet a couple of software engineers who had never heard of Selenium. I was like, oh my god, how could you have not heard of Selenium. Then I realised I myself was living in my own tiny little tech bubble, where I just assumed that something commonplace to me was commonplace to everyone. But it’s not.

That’s one of the reasons I think we design shit software. Because we think our users will know/do stuff that we know/do, even though they don’t and won’t. Hence the common occurrence of PEBKAC, ID10T and user-errors.




Author: Alister Scott

Alister is an Excellence Wrangler for Automattic.

1 thought on “Github is little known”

  1. You nailed it on the head!! My lightbuld went off a couple of years ago when my wife asked me to braid my daughters hair. I told her “I have no *&%’n idea how to braid hair”. Her response was that “everyone knows how to braid hair” and she looked at me like I was some kind of idiot. Then it hit me: this is exactly what happens with building software. Developers turn an app over to the business and are puzzled when they have a hard time using it. “Everybody knows how to use the app” and they look at the business and users like they are idiots for not knowing how to use it. The problem isn’t the business or user, the problem is IT not building apps from “everyone’s” point of view. They live in their own IT bubble and can’t comprehend the world outside of it.


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