Going out of business?

Is Dgraph (Enterprise) going out of business? The glassdoor reviews, tweets from the founder, commit activity, lack of a 2022 roadmap and recent shift back to Github issues all seem to indicate that Dgraph is going out of business. Can the maintainers and founder please comment?

Apathetic response to Github issue question:

No 2022 Roadmap “yet”:

Commit activity :chart_with_downwards_trend:

22 employees left :grimacing:

Cryptic Tweet from the founder #1 :face_with_monocle:

Cryptic Tweet from the founder #2 :face_with_monocle:

Some spicy Glassdoor reviews :hot_pepper::rocket::boom:

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i don’t think so.

  1. the cloud business is their income source. e.g u have the $200 plan. they pay e.g AWS $150 and keep $50 in their pocket for development. Or AWS pays them some afilliate %s. I dunno. nevertheless they earn their money with the cloud.

  2. Dgraph is already NOW a great product, and also stable.
    No employees left, they got fired unfortunately because funding/money is tight. But this is not a problem for the future of dgraph. it IS stable, and a great product. dgraph cloud gives them income. Sure because of the tight funding the team can focus 90% of their time on some bugs and only 10% on new features. but that’s OK! the product is already stable and ready to use for production, and it has awesome features.

So, you can keep using dgraph and start new apps with dgraph cloud. nothing to worry. just be sure that there will be e.g 10 new features per year insteaad of 100 (just an example dunno how much got released per year). But that’s ok, because dgraph already has all major features.

it is stable and we can use it for production. Dgraph cloud won’t shut down.

Dgraph has to focus now on marketing + better docs, so that more people will start using dgraph. Then they will make more $$$ income, and therefore more new features and stuff.

And they should also try to make some extra $$$ with enterprise support. I read somewhere that a dev from a big company wanted his company to use dgraph, but they don’t want to use dgraph cloud, only their own infrastructure, for security reasons and stuff. Since dgraph is open source it ain’t a problem. The only problem they had: there was no paid support option. PAID support option!!! they were ready to pay $$$ for support. but dgraph doesn’t offers that. therefore the company decided to not use dgraph. this is lost opportunity. This is something they have to tackle.

I think most big companies don’t want to use SaaS like dgraph cloud or firebase, they want to host stuff themselves for good reasons. Dgraph has to adapt and offer services for these companies to grab some extra $$$ profit

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Can we get @mrjn or someone from the @core-devs to comment on this topic. This got a lot of views over the week-end with no official reply. This is not good for users sitting on the fence. We are trying to help promote Dgraph with Word of Mouth but posts like this not officially replied to drives away new users fast!

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Wow!

We are taking a big bet on dgraph in healthcare.

Should we just stop here or move forward. I’m scared now!!!

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I’ll say this: I think Dgraph as a technology is good. I’m sorry if my question about the backing business implied otherwise.

It may very well allow you to accomplish everything you’re trying to do and scale to the size you need as well.

Unfortunately, the reality is that the documentation (beyond very simple usage) is usually poor. It is often hard to figure out solutions to difficult questions through trial/error alone.

Luckily, there is a decent-sized community using Dgraph. As you may have already experienced, they are very willing to support new users, answer questions, etc. However, there are no guarantees…

This is why most enterprise businesses feel comfortable when there are experts on standby ready to jump in and help. That is part of what makes the enterprise license appealing. There are also several features available only in the enterprise version that some business may be interested in. If there’s no guaranteed support, no enterprise features, with poor documentation, then risking your business on Dgraph (and justifying it to your bosses) is a harder pill to swallow.

I want nothing more than to be wrong and would love for the Founder/core-dev teams to chime in here.

Even if I’m not wrong, I still think Dgraph may work for you/your business, but you should be making those decisions with all the facts. At that point, you would be betting on an open source project and there’s nothing wrong with that - it just has its risks.

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I will admit, this thread is a little scary, particularly without any official comment.

Dgraph is making my software a lot easier to build and I really hope to see it grow, but the lack some of the 21.7 promised features is definitely holding us back, and the documentation is a bit infuriating.

If the company is struggling to find a sustainable business model, i’d be interested in discussing ways the community here could play a bigger role in both accelerating dev and improving the docs. Something like a DAO with a token for rewarding contributors could actually work well here (and I am the first to acknowledge that such a model often does not make sense). A fixed % of revenue could be committed to funding a dividend that get distributed to token holders.

There may also be an interesting way reward people who contribute to enterprise support.

Doing this correctly would require some experienced legal engineers, but I happen to know where to find them, so let me know if this idea is interesting to anyone with decision-making power.

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Let’s try to tag someone else who might be able to at least say “we are not going out of business more details coming soon”… @dmai @MichelDiz @mrjn ??

The community doesn’t need a full action plan right now, just one comment on this from someone official to say, don’t worry we are here, this is really bad PR otherwise.

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Speaking as a user (not part of it).

This question is being repeated in several places, kind of unnecessarily. It has already been answered on several channels. “Just wait, be patient”.

I heard from Manish himself that he will continue the project even if it will be 100% open source. And that a project like this is a life’s work, it takes decades to get perfectly aligned. Dgraph is his life’s work. You don’t abandon a fantastic child like that.

In my humble opinion, even if Dgraph stopped today even PRs on the opensource repo. The product is perfectly usable. But I admit that the documentation is difficult to deal with for those who are starting and understand nothing about the area. But overall, even drifting I would use Dgraph anyway. If I leave Dgraph and have projects of myself, I will use Dgraph.

The big problem with a project like Dgraph is that it requires a lot of resources, it’s a project that needs high level devs. Which are expensive. It is not possible for the project to continue in the same rhythm as it was without a big bag of money. And the community is not able to supply that. Not even close.

I particularly believe that the Cloud sustains itself, I do not believe that there is a need for shutdown.

Manish will come soon with the result on his part. But I trust that even without support from VCs he will continue. And we users can’t help but support him.

Cheers!

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Exactly my view!!!

Bare facts:

Dgraph is already NOW stable and can be used in production!!!! No matter if 20 or only 1 dev will work on it, no matter if there will be 100 new features per year or only 1 feature per year, it is already NOW!!! stable and can be used in production!!! The software is stable and safe to use!!!

Dgraph Cloud is a profitable business, there would be no reason to drop it!!!!!. Dgraph Cloud is a managed AWS/GCP Kubernetes system!!! You pay manish 200USD, he pays AWS/GCP 150USD (or gets %s whatever), and with the 50USD of profit, he gives you labor with making sure your kubernetes setup runs smoothly!!! It is a running profitable business!!!

Dgraph is the same as Typesense
and Dgraph Cloud is the same as Typesense Cloud https://typesense.org/ !!!

Typesense had no funding because it was easier to develop, dgraph had funding because it was more difficult, but you guys are forgetting, that dgraph IS!!! ready developed as React or Typesense or Lodash!!! half a year ago I asked on reddit r/webdev “why is the lodash repo inactive??? ain’t it maintained anymore???” and people replied me “dude chill your eggs, there is nothing to developed anymore, Lodash is already 99.99999999% ready”

It is the same as dgraph, dgraph is also 99,9999% ready, as same as MySQL PostgreSQL React Angular and Typesense and redis and MongoDB!!! dgraph is a ready stable software!!! chill your eggs guys. If dgraph would be some kind of unstable beta and unfinished projects I would understand your fears, but what you are doing now is spreading FUD!!! Dgraph is a finished project!!! Yea there are some features missing, but this doesn’t change the fact that it is finished and stable and ready!!! and the fact that dgraph cloud is a profitable running business!!

the only point where we could spread FUD is about the bad docs that make dgraph ugly for beginners, but not about dgraph itself!!! dgraph ain’t some 37% half finished software, it is a 99.999999999% finished software which is ready to use!

here is the reddit link about lodash

image

edit also this whole FUD makes manish sad i think, he gives us dgraph, a stable and open source software, and we give FUD back… I understand you guys because I had the same fears and I asked the same question and wrote it here or on the discord some weeks ago LOL. But really, don’t worry. The only thing what we should worry about are the docs that give me personally cancer (._.) i dont want to complain too much because i am happy about dgraph that it exists and im really grateful, but really, the docs are for pro developers who immediately understand what’s going on. noobs like me dont understand anything. But even though, there are great people like anthony noisykeyboard dmai and michel who answer very often our questions in the forum. So there’s really nothing to worry about

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My concern is not that it is going down or that manish is giving up on it and throwing in the towel. My concern is that this post is not officially answered and closed. This no answer from an official source is what drives the FUD even higher. Like I stated, all it needs is just a simple, no we are not going out of business more details coming soon. How much effort would that take to post, but rather the choice to leave it unanswered drives what everyone is seeing no matter how deeply we are attached.

And to the “99.9999%” all I can say is :rofl::rofl::joy::joy::sweat_smile: there is still much work to be done.


I am one of the most committed dgraphers here, don’t misjudge my intentions on this post please. I cannot comment for dgraph though, and that is my point. I advised someone yesterday to continue using Dgraph and showed some more advantages where Dgraph better fits their use case, but the topic of this post was brought up by them in our conversation. I can only go so far as a user and say I believe in Dgraph, but Dgraph needs someone officially to respond and say we believe too. I am just a community users saying everything is good in the family when what we need is a family member to say yes it is, all of this post is non relative anymore. But the lack of response says 1000%the opposite. It says we don’t care to reply which is probably not true, but just how it came across.

I waited over the weekend before replying to give time for a business day. This needs to be nipped in the bud.

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Dear DGraph Team:

@MichelDiz , we really appreciate you coming to the defense of Dgraph. I think you, like a lot of the users, genuinely care about Dgraph. I do think you, like Manish, don’t understand why simple responses are important. However, I can imagine it is hard to see the big picture, when you’re tired, and blinded by a lot of complaints and repeated questions. It seems you are one of the most competent DQL programmers left, and everyone appreciates you.

@mrjn , you deserve an incredible amount of gratitude for the product you have created. I do not think you are a good CEO. I do not think you are a good marketer. People should not have to search for an official answer to a simple question in 5 different places. Dgraph has most likely lost 10s of thousands or more in the last 6 months directly related to ignoring responses to extremely important questions, even if you can’t give real ones. I believe you probably cut funding at certain points where you shouldn’t have. I believe you probably made many huge dire mistakes along the way. I believe you probably made great decisions that were changed right in front of you by a board member or temporary CEO. I believe you broke promises, regretted some things, and probably looked at Trump for tweeting advice. I believe you probably are smarter than some people that were fired from this project. I believe you have narcissistic tendencies like the rest of us, but you treat people well who support you in spite of it. You are a human being.

I believe you know the Dgraph core code potentially better than anybody, but you don’t know the GraphQL code as well. I think when all this gets resolved, you need to build a real app using Dgraph’s security, to humbly understand what is missing in the full picture. I do believe you share the vision of Dgraph that most of us want with DQL and GraphQL. I also believe you have created an incredibly underestimated, underrated, and invariably unique product. I think it is not fair that so many people misunderstand Dgraph. I image a lot of people made many mistakes in the last few years, not just you. Dgraph is your baby. You have built something incredibly powerful, with the help of past and present team members that all deserve lots and lots of praise. Thank you sir. Thank you timeless team members.

Right now we know three things:

  1. A tentative decision should be made around the end of the month
  2. You will continue to support Dgraph regardless, hopefully in your open-source vision
  3. You want Dgraph to be in a foundation

This is what I would do if I ran this business:

  1. Put the core code in a Foundation headed by Manish (and a foundation board of your choosing), Manish resigns as Dgraph CEO, becomes unofficial CTO, official foundation CEO
  2. Dgraph should pay your salary (and anyone else involved in the core code, not cloud code) to the foundation… boom… 10% tax savings by Dgraph Inc
  3. Give @amaster507 complete control of the documentation (dql, graphql) with a Lifetime Shared Cluster, cloud documentation stays with dgraph inc, other users contribute with his permission
  4. Cloud programmers focus on Cloud features (support, CRUD like Firebase studio, storage, cli, built-in auth api, etc), while core programmers focus on GraphQl and DQL features within the foundation
  5. Dgraph uses that 10% salary tax savings to hire a new CEO (with a background in IT marketing?)
  6. Rethink the free tier, at least 1GB a month so you can have enough time to test it. Right now with the lack of good documentation, only an expert could juggle this thing to get a simple todo app to work. I know, I literally couldn’t build that.
  7. The new Dgraph foundation accepts monthly tax-deductible donations. This is not much, but every bit helps. Their name will be listed somewhere as a contributor.

Let’s say a programmer gets paid $150,000 a year in example. We need $12,500 a month per programmer. That will not happen with donations. You need 625 users at $40 a month, and potentially double or more to cover expenses. However, you only need 31 enterprise users who make a profit of $400 per user. Boom another programmer. Those margins go down and down the better the product gets etc.

So yes, Dgraph needs money. However, if the Cloud is self-sufficient, it does not need as much money you would think. It needs smart spending. I just created at least 1 job for you by the Foundation Tax savings alone (depending on number of people paid by the foundation).

Positions needed:

  1. New CEO
  2. New Marketer
  3. At least 1 Foundation DQL Go Programmer
  4. At least 1 Foundation GraphQL Go Programmer
    And of course, X dollars for marketing…

Some of these positions may exists now. Some of these positions could be combined, expenses cut, etc. If there is a current marketer at Dgraph, that person needs to be fired last year.
This could be done with a one-million-dollar bridge loan that I believe could easily be paid back within one year if the marketer and new CEO do their job to:

  1. Appease current users by creating an official announcement that is updated weekly. A roadmap would be nice, but not even necessary yet.
  2. Advertise in the right markets (Youtube, Hack-a-thons, all that stuff @BenW said, dev.to, IT events, whatever a modern marketer would do). There are so many cheap ways to advertise on the internet if you know what you’re doing. Redo website, etc etc…
  3. Let the users help… build test apps, graphic design work, documentation, maybe even a referral code, etc, etc… the marketer getting the users involved alone could turn things around

With all the damage that has been done in the last year, I think everyone could get on the same page and turn it around. We want it. We crave it. I think the entire Dgraph team (CEO, programmers, board members, etc) underestimates the power of a simple positive announcement while at the same time the negative power of no response. Commit to fixing this forever.

Manish, you are the face of this entire organization. Even if things are out of your control, you are and will always be the face of this product. Commit to weekly updates, positive announcements, and responding to all important questions, even if you don’t know the answers. You are already reading this, and people won’t ask questions you make announcements for. The trust people have lost in you can be built back, but you have to believe in this product first. It is of course not all your fault, but it starts with you in whatever the next phrase of Dgraph holds. Anthony’s passion will never be comparable to the Founder.

I may be way off. I may not know what I am talking about. No one may care. The decision may already be made. However, I don’t want to see Dgraph Cloud go away, as it will be the end of Dgraph as a real Firestore competitor, which IMHO is mainly what Dgraph is. An incredibly beautiful database, that we want to see prosper…

No matter what happens, thank you Manish, sincerely. Thank you to all Dgraph Team members and passionate users. I just hope it one day gets the recognition it deserves.

J

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I would humbly decline this. Docs are important and deserve a full time maintainer

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I concur.

This shouldn’t be your responsibility. Someone should be paid for their efforts. Someone who has the capacity to write high quality documentation AND has dog-fooded the product to the extent that the most common questions have in-depth answers and can convey those easily.


I agree with everything you said, but I want to diverge on this point.

A great product doesn’t need any marketing dollars. Word of mouth between developers should be more than sufficient.

Take this video from neo4j as an example:

Part 21: An example of when querying a graph can be easier than SQL (3/n) - YouTube

It’s clear, concise, it conveys and problem and outlines a solution. It’s in a clear audible and nice tone. From a marketing aspect, it’s an amazing video. But what do we have from Dgraph. Very subpar and for reasons I’m not going to go into.

It truly boggles my mind why there wasn’t a “Lee Robinson” type person that currently works at Vercel from day one, working at Dgraph.

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@jdgamble555 I don’t know what you have against me. But, I can tell you that you have no idea what you’re talking about – you have no idea what I’m good at or what I’m not good at. So, please – stop unnecessarily attacking me.

As I mentioned in the other thread, the ball is in the VCs court. I have no control over what they choose to do with the company. That’s what happens when you take money from VCs. They get preferred stock and that gives them exclusive rights over the life / death of the company.

I’ve build Dgraph over the last 6 years. And I fully intend to support and continue the effort of maintaining and building upon Dgraph personally, irrespective of whatever happens with this company. That is the only assurance I can provide you guys right now.

I’m pushing all angles to get a decision made by end of this month.

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Thank you. This is all that was needed. I vote to Lock this topic as closed.

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I think you will find many members in this forum who will be happy to assist in whatever way they can. I think Dgraph is a fantastic product. It hits all the right areas for me. When the time is right, whatever capacity I can do. I’ll be happy to do it.

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Seconded. It’s a great product, and whether Dgraph Labs exists as a company or not, we appreciate the continued support @mrjn. Speaking personally, our company will continue to use Dgraph. At some point, we will likely need enterprise support, and we’d be happy to retain whatever team organizes around that idea.

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I’m really hoping to share something with you guys by the weekend. So, just stay patient. It’s frustrating – I’m really effing frustrated myself. But, there’s an end to this tunnel.

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Manish,

I was seriously not trying to attack you, quite the opposite in fact. I wrote that post late at night, and I moved some sentences around, didn’t proofread like I should, etc. I was trying to use the sandwich approach while apparently failing at it. The tweet joke also came off poorly, as I was referring to how we have been trying to dissect your tweets to get some inside of the status of DGraph. The VCs own you; I 100% get that, and it sucks for everyone (employees and users alike). I actually agree with your foundation idea, but even foundations need money. I was just spit balling what I would do if I had the biggest pocket on the board. I was not claiming to be right, but I was just throwing out some ideas that maybe someone important might get a notion to want to keep DGraph Cloud. I also do have experience with cutting expenses and getting revenue up in several large businesses, so I figured I would throw out some stuff that ultimately just made me feel better to vent about. I never expected anything I said to matter.

For a lot of people, DGraph Cloud is incredibly important. I had experimented with DGraph way before the GraphQL portion was written, but I never would have used it in practice. I am too scared to manage a database myself in case something goes wrong. Without DGraph Cloud, DGraph is useless to me personally. I also understand for a lot of people this is not a deal breaker.

I think you misunderstood (my fault, not yours) what I was trying to do. From what I have read on Discuss and job review sites, there have been many people blaming you for things that you cannot control. It also seems there was a past CEO that made some bad decisions. I don’t think anyone can argue that the money was handled correctly. I don’t know the details of any of that, and I don’t pretend to. I do know that I read some reviews that were blaming you for things that were obviously NOT your fault. If you read between the lines, you can see a least part of the truth. What I was trying to ultimately say, is that you are human, not perfect. However, you are the face of Dgraph, so you get the big hits, even when the decisions were and are out of your control. I was trying to acknowledge that, and let you know that most of us do. As you said, you cannot do all jobs at once.

Where I failed, is when I mixed real critique in the wrong places. I only have two of them, which are not even personal, but more directed towards DGraph as a company.

  1. I firmly believe the organization and the communication have always been an issue with DGraph. This did not start with you being CEO, and it does not end with you. I realize most things are out of your control. I do believe, however, there is an art to making people feel better even when you can’t provide the answer to a question. The is not your forte, and it is not fair to you to expect perfect responses to everything. We all know when a business is going through rough times, the users should not know about it. The fact that DGraph has lost potentially thousands of users (new and old) is directly related to this problem (Dgraph in general’s fault). You are the past and present CEO, so I had put some of that blame on you. This, again, is not fair to you. You are expected to be a perfect CEO, put on a smile, and be a user specialist on top of everything. I can’t imagine that, and I couldn’t handle that myself. I do, however, hope that organization and communication will be much better once everyone (users and your employees) get through these bad times to the other side. This is a systemic problem with such an easy fix.

  2. I was not meaning to attack you at all on what you do and do not know. I have no idea. I do know that you’re brilliant when it comes to the underlying code. I do believe that I can say I know that to be true due to what you have created. I still don’t know what a bitmap is (other than MS Paint storage technique). I have, however, read hundreds of your and your teams posts (discourse and blog) regarding GraphQL. There seems to be a general misunderstanding of what DGraph is capable of, particularly on the security front. I have dozens of posts complaining about this by now (sorry for the repetition, but I was tired of not getting a response, back to #1). I do believe you and your team understand this by now. However, no one is really going to understand any of this until someone builds an app bigger than a todo list highlighting these holes. Currently, you probably have to use lambdas for half of any real app use cases. Why have mutations at all if that is the case? This potentially tells me that some of the manual testing was never done. I believe some of these holes should have been fixed from the very beginning. Any real user that gets past the testing phrase notices this immediately. They either don’t worry about, or they leave DGraph altogether. There are probably lots of issues like this. DGraph truly needs to use their own database to sell it. Theory will never beat practice. This was not really meant as an attack on you at all, just a huge issue with DGraph in general. Even if you personally wrote every line of code in DGraph, you could not be aware of all these problems until you have used DGraph for something real in production. It just felt like a fight for so long to get anyone to acknowledge this as even a problem, and I was definitely not alone. I think this goes back to DGraph not knowing what it is. We have talked about all this in many posts, but ultimately I still believe DGraph needs to have something somewhere that is dependent on its product, so that it practice what it preaches.

I am sorry Manish. I truly am. My real issues are not with you, they are with DGraph. I just typed out a whole paragraph and deleted it about why DGraph has angered me in the past so much. It is not important anymore, and in hindsight most of it is related to what happened because of the layoffs. I can tell you, as a man of faith, you should always be a man of your word (anyone). I have learned that even in business trying to save a penny by not keeping your word will 100% of the time cost you more than the original amount. I feel that DGraph may have had some issues with following through sometimes. I will leave it at that. Either way, I do not blame you at all. I think I misfired towards you when I started writing that post, but I was seriously trying to be positive. I meant what I said about your you AND your team, and was seriously trying to be grateful. While a large part of my personal time has been involved in DGraph, it is just a fraction of time compared to others, and an infinitesimal amount of time compared to the DGraph team.

It is mind boggling to me that the VCs have not put more money into this product. There is nothing, and I mean nothing like DGraph out there. It does not matter what your main use case is. I really hope the world gets away from SQL then noSQL as mainstream databases. Graph Databases are the future… eventually IMHO. I believe DGraph has the power to help push this reality if the funding does not go away.

I will pray that good things come for DGraph. I am a firm believer that whatever is meant to happen, will happen. If the VCs pull out all together, it will be devastating in the short run, but maybe better in the long run. I truly don’t know.
I do not have anything against you. I do not know you, and I cannot make any judgements about you personally at all. I do, however, believe you have created something incredible, and you need to be at the top of wherever DGraph lands.

I humbly apologize to you for my terrible wording, and to everyone else who made it this far with my ramblings…

J

@amaster507 – I should not have volunteered you for anything, I do however think you should get a DGraph Cloud Shared Cluster for life… but Dgraph Cloud may be coming to an end soon :no_mouth:

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Thanks for this thoughtful post, @jdgamble555 . No love lost here. I totally understand your frustration and where you’re coming from. But, there’re just levels of mistakes that have been made, decisions going back years which caused us to reach to a place, where we couldn’t withstand a rug pull.

I have achieved some level of clarity today. I plan to make an announcement tomorrow.

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