Developer Tools Are The New Enterprise Tools

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Wondering what areas of technology are still ripe for change in the I.T. environment? This afternoon on the TechCrunch Disrupt NY stage, the creators of top developer services including Stripe’s John Collison, DigitalOcean’s Ben Uretsky and Github’s Chris Wanstrath discussed what they still see as pain points in the industry today that are still in need of rethinking.

The trio also discussed what it’s like to sell tools into the enterprise environment, how that’s changed over the years, and what they’ve learned along the way.

It was an insightful discussion from those who are building out tools for themselves as developers first, then selling them to others who are like them, as a way of scaling their respective businesses.

According to Uretsky, one of the biggest challenges he sees is in the area of user identity. Today, he explained, it’s still difficult to identify people who are signing up for the platform. Many of the tools in this area are those built a decade ago – like LDAP for example – and even then, there’s still that missing link between who that person is, and whether or not they can be trusted.

Meanwhile, Collison thinks there’s an opportunity for others to re-think traditional tools and the ways of doing things, similar to how Stripe took on the far too complex set-up process that existed before in order for a merchant to take payments online. In the offline world, he thought the rise of ride-sharing services were a good example of this, but in the tech industry, even something like SSL and the way certificates are doled out today is something that’s “not exactly confidence inspiring,” he said.

For Wanstrath, he sees the potential in new communication tools. Companies like his are today still using things like IRC and email, and as more businesses become distributed, communications still feels like “an unsolved problem,” he says. “It doesn’t feel like any one cracked it,” he added.

The founders also offered up a lot of insight as to what it’s like to grow their businesses from the small-scale of selling to individuals to learning to speak the language of the large companies, and how you can get your foot in the door of I.T.

Here, they see things starting to change in the sales process, where the developers increasingly have more power in terms of determining what sort of tools are used internally at their organizations.

“There are 20 million developers worldwide,” noted Uretsky, “more than ever before. And if you fast forward another 10 years, developer tools will become the new enterprise tools,” he says.

All three agreed that it’s pretty crazy that’s not how things worked before, in fact.

When you’re using bad tools, explained Wanstrath, “it’s really hard to go back [to work on] Monday — you really feel the friction,” he says. “It’s hard to go back to something that’s subpar.”

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