Earlier today GitHub announced that they would make a significant change to their plans: a free plan would now be able to have private repos. I’m likely one of the many GitHub users who host their personal projects on GitHub with many being private. Some of these are projects I’m just not ready to release while others are proprietary scripts or private DevOps code. I was on the $7/mo Pro plan and downgraded to the free plan. I lost the advanced collaboration tools which I wasn’t using for my personal projects in the first place and it feels good to be $7 richer each month.

I think this is an intelligent move on GitHub’s part. While they probably have tons of engineers paying the $7 for the Pro plan they’re likely making the vast majority of their revenue off of companies that are paying hundreds and thousands of dollars each month and would rather be thought of as the leader in git hosting. This allows them to hook new developers early and discourage them from leaving GitHub to another service as they grow in their careers.

It’s always impressive when companies are able to sacrifice the short term in favor of the long term. It’s not easy to make the case that a company should sacrifice the money it’s making now for a potential payoff later and it’s great that GitHub made the choice. It’s impossible to predict the outcome but I’m optimistic that this was the right call for them - they’re already the market leader and this makes it that much harder for others to compete.

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