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How We Built an AI Search Engine for Devs, Got 500K Users, and Now Make $30K per Month
我们如何为开发人员构建 AI 搜索引擎,获得 500K 用户,现在每月赚取 30K 美元

My previous post, which had already garnered over 60 upvotes, was unexpectedly removed by Reddit's filter. I'm reposting the content and have added a FAQ section at the end to address common questions.
我之前的帖子已经获得了 60 多个赞,但出乎意料地被 Reddit 的过滤器删除了。我正在重新发布内容,并在末尾添加了一个常见问题解答部分以解决常见问题。

Hook: The Power of Solving a Real Problem

As developers, we all know the frustration of trying to find reliable answers to our coding questions. While tools like ChatGPT can be helpful, they often generate code with errors or hallucinations. This is the problem I set out to solve with my startup, Devv (https://devv.ai) - an AI-powered search engine built specifically for developers.
作为开发人员,我们都知道试图为我们的编码问题找到可靠答案的挫败感。虽然像 ChatGPT 这样的工具可能会有所帮助,但它们通常会生成带有错误或幻觉的代码。这就是我的创业公司Devv(https://devv.ai)要解决的问题,Devv是一个专门为开发人员构建的人工智能搜索引擎。

Understanding the User: 50 Developer Interviews
了解用户:50 次开发人员访谈

Before writing a single line of code, I wanted to deeply understand the needs and pain points of our target users. I conducted 1:1 Zoom interviews with 50 developers from various backgrounds, digging into their current challenges and the solutions they were using. A common theme emerged: developers were fed up with the inaccurate code snippets and explanations from generalist AI tools. They wanted a reliable, dev-focused alternative.
在编写一行代码之前,我想深入了解目标用户的需求和痛点。我对 50 名来自不同背景的开发人员进行了 1:1 的 Zoom 采访,深入探讨了他们当前面临的挑战以及他们使用的解决方案。一个共同的主题出现了:开发人员厌倦了来自通用人工智能工具的不准确代码片段和解释。他们想要一个可靠的、以开发为中心的替代方案。

1:1 Interview Records 1:1采访记录

Building the Solution: Devv, an AI-Powered Search Engine for Devs
构建解决方案:Devv,面向开发人员的 AI 驱动的搜索引擎

Armed with this key insight, we got to work building Devv. Our goal was to create an AI search engine that could provide trustworthy, error-free answers to coding questions and generate clean, functional code snippets.
有了这个关键的见解,我们开始着手构建 Devv。我们的目标是创建一个人工智能搜索引擎,为编码问题提供值得信赖、无错误的答案,并生成干净、实用的代码片段。

Under the hood, Devv is powered by RAG (Retrieval-Augmented Generation) and large language models. To ensure the most relevant and accurate results, we built our own specialized search indexes spanning development-related websites, official documentation, and open-source code repositories.
在引擎盖下,Devv 由 RAG(检索增强生成)和大型语言模型提供支持。为了确保最相关和最准确的结果,我们建立了自己的专业搜索索引,涵盖与开发相关的网站、官方文档和开源代码库。

To validate our idea quickly, we challenged ourselves to build and launch an MVP within just 1 week. The initial version was bare-bones but functional, focusing solely on solving the core problem of unreliable AI code generation and answers. After shipping the MVP to a small group of friends and colleagues, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Developers loved having an AI tool they could actually trust for their day-to-day coding needs. This gave us the confidence to keep pushing forward.
为了快速验证我们的想法,我们挑战自己,在短短 1 周内构建并启动 MVP。最初的版本是简陋的,但功能强大,只专注于解决不可靠的人工智能代码生成和答案的核心问题。在将 MVP 发送给一小群朋友和同事后,反馈非常积极。开发人员喜欢拥有一个他们可以真正信任的 AI 工具来满足他们的日常编码需求。这给了我们继续前进的信心。

Devv MVP Mockup Deva MVP 模型

Differentiating Devv in a Crowded Market
在竞争激烈的市场中实现 Devv 的差异化

We knew we weren't the only generative search engine out there. Competitors like Perplexity, You.com, and Phind had already established themselves in the market. While they also utilized Google or Bing search results for up-to-date information, we believed that to truly serve developers, we needed to go a step further.
我们知道我们并不是唯一的生成式搜索引擎。Perplexity、You.com 和 Phind 等竞争对手已经在市场上站稳了脚跟。虽然他们也利用 Google 或 Bing 搜索结果来获取最新信息,但我们认为,要真正为开发人员服务,我们需要更进一步。

That's why we made the decision to build our own custom search index specifically tailored to development-related scenarios. In addition to integrating Google search, we crawled and indexed a vast array of developer websites, official documentation, and open-source code repositories like GitHub.
因此,我们决定构建自己的自定义搜索索引,专门针对与开发相关的方案进行定制。除了集成 Google 搜索之外,我们还抓取并索引了大量开发人员网站、官方文档和 GitHub 等开源代码库。

This exclusive focus on developer resources allowed us to provide more relevant and accurate results for coding queries. Rather than relying solely on general web results, Devv could draw upon a rich knowledge base of programming-specific information to answer questions and generate code snippets.
这种对开发人员资源的独家关注使我们能够为编码查询提供更相关和准确的结果。Devv 可以利用丰富的编程特定信息知识库来回答问题并生成代码片段,而不是仅仅依赖一般的 Web 结果。

To further differentiate Devv, we implemented two other key features:
为了进一步区分 Devv,我们实现了另外两个关键功能:

  1. Agent Mode: For complex queries, Devv infers the user's intent and selects from specialized agent types (code generation, explanation, debugging, optimization, web searches) to provide tailored solutions.
    代理模式:对于复杂的查询,Devv 会推断用户的意图,并从专门的代理类型(代码生成、解释、调试、优化、Web 搜索)中进行选择,以提供量身定制的解决方案。

  2. Clean, dev-focused UI: We designed Devv's interface to be clutter-free and intuitive, allowing developers to focus on their work without distractions from the tool itself.
    简洁、以开发人员为中心的 UI:我们将 Devv 的界面设计为整洁直观,使开发人员能够专注于他们的工作,而不会受到工具本身的干扰。

By combining our custom developer search index with these unique capabilities, we were able to carve out a compelling value proposition for Devv as the go-to search engine for developers. Our specialized approach set us apart from the more general-purpose offerings of our competitors.
通过将我们的自定义开发人员搜索索引与这些独特的功能相结合,我们能够为 Devv 打造一个引人注目的价值主张,使其成为开发人员的首选搜索引擎。我们的专业方法使我们有别于竞争对手的通用产品。

Devv Agent Mode Devv 代理模式

Finding Initial Traction in China

With an optimized MVP in hand, it was time to get Devv in front of a larger audience. We started by sharing it with my existing Twitter following, which consisted mainly of developers based in China.
有了优化的 MVP,是时候让 Devv 出现在更多观众面前了。我们首先与我现有的 Twitter 粉丝分享它,这些粉丝主要由中国的开发人员组成。

The response exceeded our wildest expectations. Through word of mouth alone, Devv grew to over 500,000 users within just a few months. Developers across China were raving about the tool, and our user base was growing exponentially.
反响超出了我们最疯狂的预期。仅通过口口相传,Devv 在短短几个月内就发展到超过 500,000 名用户。中国各地的开发人员都对这个工具赞不绝口,我们的用户群也呈指数级增长。

User Growth 用户增长

But just as we were hitting our stride, disaster struck. Devv was suddenly blocked by the Great Firewall, cutting off access for all of our users in mainland China. In an instant, our primary growth engine disappeared.

Overcoming Adversity: Getting Banned in China

Losing our Chinese user base was a devastating blow, but we refused to give up. We knew we had built something of value, and we believed developers outside of China faced similar challenges.

So we went back to the drawing board, adapting Devv for a global audience. We started from scratch, rebuilding our user base one developer at a time. Slowly but surely, we began to gain traction in other markets.
因此,我们回到了绘图板,为全球观众调整了 Devv。我们从零开始,一次重建一个开发人员的用户群。缓慢但肯定的是,我们开始在其他市场获得牵引力。

Rebuilding and Monetizing

As our global user base grew, we started thinking about monetization. We wanted to build a sustainable business without compromising the user experience.

In March, we launched a premium subscription plan for Devv. To our delight, it generated over $28,000 in revenue in the first month alone. And that number has only continued to grow in the months since.
3 月,我们推出了 Devv 的高级订阅计划。令我们高兴的是,仅在第一个月,它就产生了超过 28,000 美元的收入。从那以后的几个月里,这个数字一直在继续增长。

Gross Volume 总体积

Today, Devv is helping developers across the world write better code, faster. And we're just getting started.
如今,Devv 正在帮助世界各地的开发人员更快地编写更好的代码。而我们才刚刚开始。

Key Takeaways and Insights

Building and scaling Devv has been an incredible learning experience. Here are some of my key takeaways:
构建和扩展 Devv 是一次令人难以置信的学习体验。以下是我的一些关键要点:

  1. Solve a real, painful problem. The most successful startups are those that address a genuine need for their target users.

  2. Validate quickly with an MVP. Don't get caught up in building the perfect product right away. Launch a bare-bones version to test your assumptions.
    使用 MVP 快速验证。不要立即陷入构建完美产品的困境。启动一个基本版本来测试您的假设。

  3. Differentiate your offering. In crowded markets, it's crucial to stand out through unique features and a laser focus on your target audience.

  4. Word of mouth is powerful. If you build something people love, they'll tell their friends about it. This is especially true in tight-knit communities like developers.

  5. Adversity is inevitable. No startup journey is without its challenges. The key is to stay adaptable and keep pushing forward.

At the end of the day, our success with Devv comes back to that initial insight: developers needed a better, more reliable AI search tool. By staying laser-focused on solving that core problem and continually improving our product, we've been able to build something that resonates deeply with our users.
归根结底,我们在 Devv 方面的成功又回到了最初的见解:开发人员需要一个更好、更可靠的 AI 搜索工具。通过专注于解决这一核心问题并不断改进我们的产品,我们已经能够构建出与用户产生深刻共鸣的东西。

Helpful Resources for Aspiring Founders

If you're considering starting your own venture, I highly recommend checking out these valuable resources:

  1. Y Combinator's Startup School: This free online program covers everything from ideation to fundraising, with video lectures from successful founders and investors. It's a crash course in entrepreneurship that I found incredibly helpful.
    Y Combinator 的创业学校:这个免费的在线课程涵盖了从构思到筹款的所有内容,以及来自成功创始人和投资者的视频讲座。这是一门创业速成课程,我发现它非常有帮助。

  2. "The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries: This book is a must-read for anyone looking to build a startup. It emphasizes the importance of rapid experimentation, validated learning, and continuous improvement.
    埃里克·里斯 (Eric Ries) 的《精益创业》:这本书是任何想要建立创业的人的必读之作。它强调快速实验、验证学习和持续改进的重要性。

  3. Lenny's Newsletter: Lenny Rachitsky, a former product leader at Airbnb, shares insightful essays and interviews on product management, growth, and scaling startups. His newsletter is a goldmine of practical advice and inspiration.
    Lenny's Newsletter:Airbnb 前产品负责人 Lenny Rachitsky 分享了有关产品管理、增长和扩展初创公司的有见地的文章和采访。他的时事通讯是实用建议和灵感的金矿。

  4. "The Hard Thing About Hard Things" by Ben Horowitz: Horowitz, a renowned venture capitalist, offers a raw and honest look at the challenges of running a startup. It's a sobering but essential read for any founder. No amount of reading can fully prepare you for the rollercoaster ride of building a startup. The most important thing is to just get started and learn by doing. Start small, then iterate.
    本·霍洛维茨(Ben Horowitz)的《关于困难的事情》(The Hard Thing About Hard Things):著名风险投资家霍洛维茨(Horowitz)对经营初创公司的挑战进行了原始而诚实的审视。对于任何创始人来说,这是一本发人深省但必不可少的读物。再多的阅读也无法让您为建立初创公司的过山车之旅做好充分准备。最重要的是开始,边做边学。从小处着手,然后进行迭代。

I hope my story inspires other founders to pursue their own startup dreams. If you're passionate about solving a real problem, don't be afraid to take the leap. The journey won't be easy, but the rewards are more than worth it.

Feel free to reach out if you have any other questions about my journey or need advice on getting started with your own venture. I'm always happy to chat with fellow entrepreneurs and share what I've learned along the way.

FAQ 常见问题

Q: Why was Devv blocked in China?

A: Due to China's strict regulations on AI-related services, we are currently unable to operate in the country without first registering with the relevant authorities. We are actively exploring options to make Devv available to our Chinese users in a compliant manner.

Q: Did you raise funding to build Devv?
问:你有没有筹集资金来构建 Devv?

A: We started with a small amount of self-funding and have been very capital-efficient in our approach. We took advantage of various startup sponsorship programs from companies like Microsoft, AWS, and Google, which provided us with free usage credits for their services. This allowed us to keep our costs low while still building a robust product.

Q: What's your tech stack?

A: Our frontend is built with Next.js, React, NextUI, and is hosted on Vercel for seamless deployment and scaling. On the backend, we use Go with the Gin framework for our API, and MySQL as our primary database. For our AI and search capabilities, we use Pinecone for vector search and ElasticSearch for text search. Everything is hosted on AWS for reliability and performance.
答:我们的前端是用 Next.js、React、NextUI 构建的,并托管在 Vercel 上,以实现无缝部署和扩展。在后端,我们使用 Go 和 Gin 框架作为我们的 API,并使用 MySQL 作为我们的主数据库。对于我们的 AI 和搜索功能,我们使用 Pinecone 进行矢量搜索,使用 ElasticSearch 进行文本搜索。一切都托管在 AWS 上,以确保可靠性和性能。

Q: What are the operating costs for an AI-powered SaaS like Devv?
问:像 Devv 这样的 AI 驱动的 SaaS 的运营成本是多少?

A: We've put a lot of effort into optimizing our system for cost efficiency. Currently, we're able to serve 1,000 searches in normal mode for less than $5. We're continuously working on further optimizations and believe we can bring this cost down to around $2 per 1,000 searches. At our current pricing model, this makes Devv a sustainable and profitable business.
答:我们投入了大量精力来优化我们的系统,以提高成本效益。目前,我们能够在正常模式下以不到 5 美元的价格提供 1,000 次搜索。我们一直在努力进一步优化,并相信我们可以将成本降低到每 1,000 次搜索 2 美元左右。按照我们目前的定价模式,这使得 Devv 成为一项可持续且有利可图的业务。

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Congrats! Shows very well how solving a painful, urgent and recognized problem tremendously help in going from 0 to 1. The other success key being the distribution channel. How many followers did you have on Twitter when you announced it? Did you use any other channel? Did you build in public or launched once?
恭喜!很好地展示了解决一个痛苦的、紧迫的和公认的问题如何极大地帮助从 0 到 1。另一个成功的关键是分销渠道。当你宣布它时,你在Twitter上有多少粉丝?您是否使用过其他渠道?你是公开构建还是发布过一次?

I have over 80K followers on Twitter. The majority of my followers were developers who had been following my journey as I built Devv in public, sharing updates on our progress, challenges, and learnings along the way.
我在 Twitter 上有超过 80K 的粉丝。我的大多数追随者都是开发人员,他们在我构建 Devv 的过程中一直关注着我的旅程,分享我们的进展、挑战和学习的最新信息。

Twitter was our primary launch channel, and it drove a significant portion of our initial traffic. However, what really fueled our growth was the incredible power of word-of-mouth. Developers who tried Devv loved it and started recommending it to their friends and colleagues. This organic, user-driven growth was instrumental in helping us reach 500,000 users within just a few months.
Twitter 是我们的主要发布渠道,它为我们带来了很大一部分初始流量。然而,真正推动我们成长的是口碑的不可思议的力量。尝试过 Devv 的开发人员喜欢它,并开始向他们的朋友和同事推荐它。这种由用户驱动的有机增长有助于我们在短短几个月内达到 500,000 名用户。

We did launch Devv multiple times, iterating and improving the product based on user feedback. The first version was a bare-bones MVP that we built in just a week. We then released several updated versions, each one incorporating new features and refinements based on what we learned from our users.
我们确实多次推出 Devv,根据用户反馈迭代和改进产品。第一个版本是我们在短短一周内构建的简单 MVP。然后,我们发布了几个更新版本,每个版本都根据我们从用户那里学到的知识,包含了新的功能和改进。

Building in public was a fantastic way to engage with our target audience, get real-time feedback, and build anticipation for the product. It also helped establish trust and credibility, as developers could see the hard work and thought we were putting into creating a tool tailored specifically for their needs.

You can find me with "@tisoga" on X.
你可以在 X 上用“@tisoga”找到我。

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This is bullshit. All the comments are bots. What a huge scam

Hahaha yeah lots of comments from single digit karma accounts.

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Lmao bots in the comments
评论中的 Lmao 机器人

Are you currently profitable?

Also, (kinda self-promotion) are you looking to redesign the Devv?
另外,(有点自我推销)您是否希望重新设计 Devv?

Yes, we are considering partnering with a designer.

If you haven't already finalised one yet, I would love to talk more with you in DM :)
如果您还没有最终确定,我很乐意在 DM 中与您进行更多交谈:)

I have my own design studio, and one of the biggest clients we have worked with is creating and managing social media creatives for FIFA and CocaCola.

Yes, we could talk more in DM, or you can send me a email, my email addr -> jiayuan @ devv . ai

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You told u crawled the website then how did you store if u r ok what amount of storage it required

Best of Luck brother

Cool product! Congratulations.

How long did it take to build the product? How did you find the developers to be interviewed?

  1. MVP in just 1 week, then continue iterating the product.
    在短短 1 周内获得 MVP,然后继续迭代产品。

  2. Most of them are my colleagues and friends (I'm also a developer, previously at TikTok).
    他们中的大多数是我的同事和朋友(我也是一名开发人员,以前在 TikTok 工作)。

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This is great! I think you need a TLDR/Exec synthesis though. I had to use AI to summarize xD
这太棒了!我认为您需要一个 TLDR/Exec 综合。我不得不用人工智能来总结xD

cool product, i have used it.

Why are so many accounts with 1 karma saying "good product"? 😭
为什么这么多有 1 业力的账户说“好产品”?😭

Thanks. Do you have some feedback or suggestions? I'm glad to hear them!

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Are you planning to hire 🥺

Currently, we have no hiring plan.

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This looks really well put together. I will be trying it out and thanks for all your hard work.

Thanks. I'm delighted to share what I have learned and am looking forward to hearing your feedback and suggestions.

I've been using it for a little while since my reply and it's amazing man. I have a sub to ChatGPT that I have kept for a long time even though I don't always use it. They are constantly f*cking with the model and it really is a pain to use at times. I don't use the AI to generate code much at all, but I do use it to build a lot of my tests (or I start with that intent, but usually have to hold it's hand through most of it), and It's pretty good at taking my jumbled ideas and breaking them down into something I can use as a roadmap while I develop said idea. Also makes a pretty good consultant on concepts and new tech I need to learn. But this is a totally different animal that I've yet to see anyone implement. It totally solves an issue I was griping about earlier in a post I made today about ChatGPT, and you have done it better than we could have ever hoped for. It seems that the Plus version no longer (or sporadically at best) conducts internet searches. So you have given me a new tool and I want to thank you sir. So Thanks. You've made a new customer.
自从我回复以来,我已经使用它一段时间了,这真是太棒了。我有一个 ChatGPT 的子,我已经保留了很长时间,尽管我并不总是使用它。他们经常搞砸这个模型,有时使用起来真的很痛苦。我根本不经常使用 AI 来生成代码,但我确实用它来构建我的很多测试(或者我从这个意图开始,但通常必须握住它的手完成大部分测试),而且它非常擅长将我杂乱无章的想法分解成我可以在开发所述想法时用作路线图的东西。也是我需要学习的概念和新技术的一个很好的顾问。但这是一种完全不同的动物,我还没有看到任何人实施。它完全解决了我之前在今天发表的一篇关于 ChatGPT 的帖子中抱怨的问题,而且你做得比我们希望的要好。似乎 Plus 版本不再(或充其量是零星的)进行互联网搜索。所以你给了我一个新工具,我要感谢你,先生。所以谢谢。您结识了新客户。

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Can you add a TLDR?
您可以添加 TLDR 吗?

The subtitle is a TLDR.
副标题是 TLDR。

Don’t know why you’re getting downvoted, I summarized with AI and got a succinct exec summary. Maybe the comments are bots - always a red flag when constructive criticism is met with backlash
不知道为什么你会被否决,我用 AI 总结了一下,得到了一个简洁的高管总结。也许这些评论是机器人——当建设性的批评遭到强烈反对时,这总是一个危险信号

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Cool product! Congratulations.

How long did it take to build the product? How did you find the developers to be interviewed?

GPT-4 can not satify me, Claude-3-opus neither. but devv built based on them can. This is the success of RAG.....From a heavily user of devv.ai
GPT-4 不能让我满意,Claude-3-opus 也不能。但是基于它们构建的 Devv 可以。这就是RAG的成功.....来自 devv.ai 的大量用户