Tyk’s founder and CEO Martin knows a lot about side projects. When he couldn’t find the ideal API gateway, he built his own. Now, Tyk is paying it forward, using the Tyk Side Project Fund to find and reward innovators who are pouring their passion into their side projects.
We are delighted to announce open-source web app builder Remake as one of our winners. Founder David Miranda tells us more…
Tyk: Can you tell me about your side project? What gave you the idea?
David: I wanted to be able to create start-ups as fast as I could think of ideas.
I’ve worked at six start-ups for 12 years and the one thing they all have in common is: the more they listen to users, the more successful they are.
But listening to users is a lot easier if you can implement their suggestions in minutes instead of months. That’s why I built Remake — so anyone can build a start-up fast.
Tyk: It sounds like an incredibly useful product. How did you validate it?
David: I didn’t validate it the normal way by talking with other people. I validated it with my own day-to-day frustrations, which built up over 12 years while building and launching other start-ups.
Remake addresses all of the obstacles and complications I ran into when coding up a quick app, by letting a developer skip straight from a design to a fully working web app.
At first the idea of using HTML as the foundation for an interactive app seemed too far-fetched, but over time it’s grown on me and become more natural. Lately, I’ve been hearing from other developers that they think it’s the future of web development.
Tyk: What are some of the other challenges that you face? Have there been struggles finding time to work on it?
David: I just have one main challenge right now: Remake was supposed to be a fun side project and it’s turning into a real business.
This means instead of adding to the code whenever I feel like it, I’m thinking more and more about how to get people to purchase a paid plan.
It’s weird because I think I’m working against myself. If I just focused on the fun parts like I used to, I think I might have more success getting people to try it!
Also, my wife and I had a beautiful baby boy six months ago, so my life has slowed down and reset with my focus firmly on him. I love Remake, but I love my son a whole lot more. I’m developing a greater appreciation for the value of my time.
Tyk: What are the practical next steps for you? Is it a question of going all out with the marketing now that you’ve got the product?
David: Marketing has become more of a focus for me over the past year or two. I have this mantra which I repeat to myself daily: “If I don’t post about it, then it didn’t happen.”
I use it to remind myself that it doesn’t matter how many features I add or how much progress I make, other developers are never going to know about it unless I tell them!
My goal right now is to get one new person to fall in love with Remake every week. I post about it all the time and livestream every weekday. Building up a community around Remake is hard, but if I’m patient I think my hard work will pay off.
Tyk: What difference has the Tyk side project funding made? What are you going to use the funding for?
David: I’m going to hire a developer to make a web app using Remake. And then have them write a blog post about their experience.
I’ve done this before, and it accomplishes so many things at once:
- People get to read an honest and exciting story from a fellow developer
- People learn how fast and easy Remake is
- I’ll learn about how to explain Remake better by reading the blog post myself
- I can use the app as an example Remake app, which other people can download
- The developer can give me feedback on Remake, so I can improve it
- The developer will hopefully give Remake a testimonial
Tyk: What are the values that drive you? What’s important to you?
David: I’m a bit starry-eyed when it comes to the internet. The idea of everyone on the planet being connected is still such a wild and wonderful idea to me. I think the internet has the potential to revolutionize how we communicate, sure, but also to create a new level of compassion and understanding for one another.
One of the best ways to understand another person is to build an experience for them. You really have to get inside their head and figure out where they are and what they need in order to do that. It requires letting go of a lot of your expectations about them.
What you end up with is a beautiful little garden that you built just for them. There’s nothing quite like seeing someone else walk around in a garden you made for them and just marvel at all the details. That’s why I made Remake — so more people can experience creating gardens for each other and watching each other’s eyes lighting up.
Tyk: How did you find out about the Tyke Side Project Fund?
David: I follow a lot of indie hackers and start-up founders on Twitter and one day a bunch of them were talking about the Tyk Side Project Fund. I looked into it and realized it was for people just like me, working on fun side projects. It was pretty exciting because I could definitely use all the funding I can get.
I couldn’t believe how easy it was to apply. I did it on a whim one night at around midnight and didn’t expect to hear back. I’m so, so grateful that I won and have a chance to be a part of your wonderful community!
Tyk: What tips would you give to somebody who was thinking of starting their own side project?
David: The more pain your product resolves for your customers, the less pain you’ll have to experience yourself.
If you’re going to solve a problem, make sure it’s one that causes a lot of pain. This doesn’t mean it has to be a complicated problem, just that it’s a painful problem.
If you focus on that one thing, it will be a lot easier to attract and retain customers — and your marketing and messaging will pretty much write itself.
Tyk: Where will Remake be in five years’ time?
David: It will (fingers crossed) be my full-time job and there will be a lot more people building web apps with Remake.
A few Remake apps will probably have gone viral and led to more even interest in Remake. And soon it will become one of the main ways people build new web apps.
I’ll have a crew of about a dozen people helping with everything from design to sales to marketing — and we’ll also participate in lots of meetups, especially at schools, where we’ll offer free web development classes.