How Ghost became a success

Here at Stek we love open source blogging platform Ghost. Actually, I was one of the crowdfunders that supported Ghost when it started. I helped it launch because I believed there was room for a dedicated blogging platform next to Wordpress. And Ghost prooved just that. So it won't be a surprise that when we go live, Ghost will be one of the tools we support.

Indiehackers published a really interesting blogpost on the succes of Ghost. The platform now brings in 750.000 dollar a year.

Founder John O'Nolan tells :

Our idea was that we could create a sustainable open-source business with a virtuous cycle, as follows:

1 - Hire amazing developers to release great open-source software that people would love.

2 - Make great software and attract a large number of people who want to use it.

3 - You need hosting to run the software, so offer a premium PaaS ("platform as a service") which makes that easy and affordable.

4 - All of the revenue from the premium platform goes to the non-profit foundation, whose mission is... => Go to step 1.

This was always the plan. We didn't know it would work when we launched, but it was always a model that we wanted to prove. And we did.

O'Nolan shares some interesting lessons. For example about pricing:

One key lesson we learned early on was not to charge too little. $5/month customers are just terrible. They have the highest rate of failed payments, the highest rate of credit card fraud, the highest amount of support tickets submitted, and are the least friendly people. We've doubled our prices 3x since then, and each time we do, we get nicer people who value the product more and create fewer problems. At this point I would never create a business ever again which charges less than $10/month.

An he has got an interesting piece of advice:

Honestly my single piece of advice would probably be to stop looking for so much advice. Shut the fuck up and go and build something. I see so many people devouring startup books and blog posts and talking about them incessantly. They try to just endlessly research and talk about what works, because they're too afraid to actually jump in and do something.
If you feel like you have no idea what you're doing, well, welcome to the club. None of us have any idea what the fuck we're doing, and anyone who says otherwise is lying. All of us are just guessing, experimenting, trying things. Not a single one of us was ever "sure" or "ready" or "confident" at any point. At a certain point you just have to jump.
Stop reading. Start building.

This blogpost is brought to you by We make installing, hosting and updating the best open source tools a one click experience. makes publication, communication and collaboration with tools like Ghost, Discourse and Hackpad easy, safe and secure.

“Experimental Modes Convening at The Chicago Community Trust, Hosted by the Smart Chicago Collaborative” by Daniel X. O'Neil is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Erwin Blom

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