"It was clear to us that companies that have seen hypergrowth, like Facebook, Netflix, and Pinterest, all have a culture where engineers are much closer to their user data," James explained. "They really understand what users are doing in their products, and they have a lot more autonomy and empowerment to make decisions alongside a product manager."
To give engineers more visibility into user data, James and Tim founded PostHog, an open source product analytics platform for developers. "We spent January and February working night and day to validate the concept," said James. "We're big on iteration. We will always launch features embarrassingly early, and with open source we can get them into people's hands really quickly." Speed is, in James' view, "the only advantage you have when you're really small."
Already used by over 3,000 developers, today PostHog announced $12M in funding led by GV and Y Combinator. PostHog's platform gives software teams better insight into user behavior. They do this by auto-capturing events, performing product analytics, enabling video replays, and rolling out new capabilities behind feature flags, all on a single open source platform. "Ultimately the end goal is to help every engineer in the world understand the impact of their work."
Most product analytics tools in the market are purely SaaS-based. PostHog built a platform unlike the other offerings: it doesn't need to send user data to third parties, charge on usage, or restrict full access to underlying data. With PostHog's open source approach, its platform can be deployed on Heroku, Docker, Kubernetes, AWS, or directly from GitHub.
James notes that this commitment to open source has deeply influenced how he and Tim think about PostHog's culture. Transparency is paramount. "If you want something done to a better standard, putting it publicly on the Internet is going to make you up your game. We put almost everything we can into the public. It's amazing what starts happening when you take this approach. It's encouraging to know that the world is watching."