Lowering the Barrier

Making programming (everything) more accessible

08 Mar 2021


People ask me who are competitors are and instead of listing companies I tell them what I’m worried about. “We’re the easiest place to code on the internet,” I say. “If we continue to be the place where kids go to start coding, Replit is by default the platform of the future. I’m much more worried about something easier coming along than about existing tools or companies.”

I believe every word of that answer. But I’m starting to think it doesn’t go far enough.

The real competition for Replit, or any other platform where you can create, is passive consumption. It’s much more comfortable to read or watch than to write or code. If we can take people who already like to program and make it easier to start a side project than to watch Netflix, those folks will create more, which will be a good thing.

We can grow for a long time by onboarding folks who already know how to code or know they want to learn. Where we can really push the limit, though, is attracting people who like (or want to learn) to build, but find the current way we program off putting. That’s a tall order, because it means looking at the current programming model and finding where people drop out. It’s a retention problem, and those are always hard. The people you most want to talk to are the ones who bounce fastest from your platform (or never make it to your site in the first place). So you have to go out of your way to find these folks. They will not announce themselves on your forums or in your metrics in any noticeable way!