Forrst is an online community of developers and designers focused on helping themselves and others get better at their craft, sharing their knowledge and providing thoughtful critiques to build better websites and applications.
I interviewed Kyle Bragger, Forrst founder to find out more. This interview is the twenty fourth in a series of DW interviews. Big thank you to Kyle for the interview!
How would you describe Forrst in under 24 words?
It’s an awesome community of developers and designers that’s all about giving/getting real, actionable feedback on your work.
What made you decide to start working on Forrst?
Initially it started as an experiment. I was curious what a product would look/feel like that blended interesting bits of Delicious and Tumblr, but geared specifically towards sharing dev/design content.
How hard was it to get $205k in seed funding?
Somewhat difficult. I chalk that up to my inexperience pitching, and also because communities are hard things to scale well. Most folks weren’t interested in Forrst because they don’t see it as a billion dollar business. Frankly, it’s probably not (at least right now), but that’s not to say we won’t be extremely successful financially.
How different is the current version of Forrst compared to your initial launch?
The initial launch was bare bones, ugly, but worked in terms of the broad idea. It’s come a long way in two years, largely by listening and responding to user feedback, but more importantly, observing things users weren’t saying, but rather doing.
Is your background in web design and development?
Yep, I’m a programmer/engineer/developer/whatever.
How much time do you spend working on Forrst on an average day?
12 hours give or take a few.
Was making it an exclusive community your idea?
Do you think making Forrst exclusive has been one of the main reasons for its success?
I think it helped create some mystery, and therefore interest, around the product, but the reason for our success thus far is most definitely the community that has been curated.
You’re extremely open about Forrst, even openly stating how many paid members you have. What’s with the openness?
Why not? :) I think it fosters a sense of honesty and trust with our community. There’s no good reason -not- to discuss that stuff, so until I find one, we’ll keep on being open about all sorts of stuff we’re doing/thinking about.
Who is your biggest competitor?
There are a myriad of sites where we share some overlap, but our closest “competitor” is Dribbble, if only because we both allow posting screenshots. Though, there is a perception that we’re somehow just a Dribbble ripoff or “Dribbble for people who can’t get in to Dribbble”. I think those assertions are mostly incorrect, though.
What is the biggest hurdle you have faced or are still facing?
Scaling revenue in a healthy way.
Two months ago you had 31,000 registered users and 17,000 waiting for an account. Did you expect the growth you’ve received when you launched?
Not in the least. It’s been amazing to watch the site grow — and grow well. We just hit 40k users and have a huge (50%) active user rate. Engagement is solid, and it’s a blast to be at the helm.
Finished reading? Check out Forrst!