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Niche research

Status: Draft
Review Status: Draft
Theme: Niche Research and Persona Development for Mathesar


Project Owner: Ghislaine

Role Assignee Reviewer Notes
Technical & Scope Advice Brent, Pavish - Advice on the project scope and provide technical perspectives
Niche Research Ghislaine Kriti Understanding potential use cases, pain points, and market gaps
User Persona Development Ghislaine Kriti Detailed breakdown of potential users, their behaviors, and needs
Data Analysis & Reporting Ghislaine Kriti Synthesizing research findings and preparing the final report


In order to understand the features and use cases of Mathesar, it’s essential to comprehend our target audience. We have identified small businesses using PostgreSQL as a potential niche for Mathesar and would like to conduct research to better understand the market and its needs.

We believe that small businesses using PostgreSQL are a good fit for Mathesar because:

  • They already utilize PostgreSQL.
  • They are likely interested in database tools.
  • Compared to solo developers, these small businesses probably have more collaborative tasks and data-sharing requirements surrounding their database.
  • They are likely to collaborate with team members who have a range of technical skills.
  • From a business growth perspective, their user expansion rate is expected to surpass that of individual developers.
  • Small businesses often rely on a suite of tools to run their operations. If Mathesar integrates well with other popular business tools, that can be a big plus.
  • Small businesses, especially those handling sensitive data, will be interested in knowing how Mathesar ensures data security and privacy.
  • Small businesses can be more agile in their operations and might be more open to providing feedback for product improvement.


Niche Research

Market Analysis

  • Existing Tools Assessment: Examine tools currently available for managing PostgreSQL databases, especially those popular among small businesses. Understand their strengths, weaknesses, and unique features.
  • Market Gaps: Based on public feedback and user reviews, identify unmet needs or problems that users face with these tools.

Small Business Landscape

  • Database Needs: Seek to understand the specific database requirements of small businesses.
    • Are they seeking flexibility, scalability, or some specific functionalities?
    • What is their typical use of data, and how do they envision their database needs evolving?
  • Transitioning from Simpler Tools: Small businesses may struggle to figure out their exact database needs, especially if they’re transitioning from simpler tools like spreadsheets. Understand the challenges they face in this transition.
  • Balancing Power with Simplicity: There’s a challenge in finding the right equilibrium between ease of use for non-tech users and leveraging the power of a tool like PostgreSQL.
  • Recognizing Database Value: It might take some time for small businesses to appreciate the value of a database tool like Mathesar, especially if they’re unfamiliar with the advantages of databases. Understand how to communicate the value of Mathesar to them.
  • Deployment Preferences:
    • Self-hosted vs. Cloud-hosted: Understand the trade-offs small businesses are willing to make in terms of cost, control, and convenience.
    • Open Source Perception: Evaluate the importance of open-source solutions in their choice of database management tools. Are they inclined towards open-source because of trust, customization possibilities, or cost factors?
  • Integration with Existing Systems: Understand how Mathesar would integrate with or replace the existing systems that small businesses might have already set in place.

Broadening Research Sources

  • The current sources, such as Reddit and Hacker News, might not be representative of the target audience. Explore other platforms where small businesses might be discussing their database needs.
  • Consultancy firms publishing their use cases, especially around databases, could provide valuable insights.
  • Platforms like Upwork, where companies outline their requirements, might also provide practical insights.

Community Surveys and Engagement

  • Engage with the Mathesar community to understand their needs and pain points.
  • Craft and publish a user survey on Mathesar’s website.
  • Evaluate survey outcomes, taking into account the feedback and insights about users’ experiences and pain points with Mathesar.
  • Identify representative users within the niche of small businesses using PostgreSQL.

Use Case Capture

Source of Information

  • Social Media: Analyze mentions and discussions related to PostgreSQL database management, especially those expressing challenges with existing tools or seeking new solutions.
  • Industry Forums: Look for information in forums specific to industries that can benefit from Mathesar, and note real-world scenarios and challenges posed by users.
  • Online Communities: Track discussions related to Mathesar or database management on platforms like Reddit and Hacker News where users might discuss their database management needs or share their experiences with other tools.

Classification of Use Cases

  • Database Beginners: Capture use cases where users are transitioning from spreadsheets to databases or when they are venturing into the database world for the first time.
  • Technical & Non-Technical Mix: Identify scenarios where teams or businesses with a mix of technical and non-technical members are looking for a versatile database tool. Prioritize those cases where Mathesar can bridge the complexity gap.
  • OLAP vs. OLTP: Identify use cases that focus on OLAP (producing reports from maintained data) or OLTP (daily transactional data like sales).

Persona Development

  • Design user personas that represent the target audience.
  • Develop personas based on job roles within small businesses (e.g., a small business owner, a data analyst, an office manager).

Data Analysis and Report

  • Aggregate research data and analyze it to identify trends and patterns.
  • Prepare a final report highlighting all findings.


The result of this research will be a report that includes:

Reference Use Cases for Small Businesses Using PostgreSQL

The collected use cases will be compiled and analyzed to inform both the definition of personas and product functionality for Mathesar, specifically within the context of small businesses utilizing PostgreSQL.

Key User Personas for Mathesar

  • User Profiles: Descriptions of likely users and their needs within small businesses using PostgreSQL, including a reference to the use cases that exemplify their specific requirements and preferences.
  • How to Reach Users: Ideas on how to get our product in front of these users.

Product Changes and Niche Focus

  • Define the Niche: Pin down which part of the small business PostgreSQL market we should focus on.
  • Update the Roadmap: Changes we should make to our plans based on what we learned.
  • Key Features: Pointing out the main features or changes that users in the focused niche might want and the use cases that justify these adaptations.
  • Making it Easier to Use: Ideas on how to improve the product’s user experience for the niche.


  • Research might extend beyond anticipated timeframes.
  • Selecting use cases or features might pose challenges that go beyond what this research can cover.