A bootstrapper's story with Julien Danjou, founder of Mergify
Julien Danjou is the founder of Mergify - a tool that helps merge code safer and faster.
- How do you split your time between work and marketing? 0:00
- Julian splits 50% of his time between building the product and the other 50% doing marketing and bringing people to the product.
- Julian talks about mergerfi.
- Where do you start with product development? 1:23
- The goal is to solve a problem for an engineer. They co-founded Mirchi Fi with Mary and wrote their own tool.
- The role of time is a lot of time.
- The importance of doing demos and showing the product around to the team, and how that has changed over time.
- How the product is simple and there are a lot of viable options around it, but it's hard to think about all the tiny details.
- How did they get started? 5:08
- They both started with a full-time job and moved from a platform to get up. They felt naked without any of their tools. They wanted to build their own tools.
- They found a first rate customer, pitch.com, and then found more startups willing to use a merge request tool.
- One of the challenges of being a bootstrapped company is that they only have two hours per week to work on the tool.
- It is easy to not get good at making decisions when you can do everything, but in air quotes, do everything.
- How long did it take to write the first dashboard? 10:07
- Before people started using it internally, they did most of the grunt work of writing the first version. The first version was a mvp.
- The first dashboard they wrote was like HTML and the bootstrap framework, which was pretty bad, but it was good enough.
- The first version of the product is the only thing that is going to be out in front of users or customers.
- The importance of being an entrepreneur-minded person.
- When they found the first customers, they decided not to build a company right away, but to focus on building a few hours a week into bots.
- The real trap.
- Marketing and getting the word out. 16:00
- The root problem is that nobody knows about you because you are not doing marketing. You have to go with the event if you have a competitor or inspire something.
- It is easy to build the things for a year or so, especially when you are a developer.
- Not everything works, but what works well is open source projects. For example, amazon is using lodgify on their open source project.
- One of their biggest customers was using one of the engineer's projects on github.com, and they talk to their manager about it.
- Marketing and marketing budget. 20:30
- Marketing is a lot of different channels that they can use, and they have tried almost everything to see if it works, and if it doesn't work, they try to future-harm.
- They try to provide value for free to open source users and projects and are happy to do that.
- Adding value in open source is about saving time and giving time to most open source projects using a merge tool.
- If a company is new to open source, they need a tool to help them with a workflow tool, marketing, etc.
- How did you find out about rescue? 25:36
- The number of people using rescue is small. There are very small projects with just one or two people mentioning it to project being run by 50 or 100 person behind.
- The main goal is to actually work on the open source projects, not start a new one.
- Redhat was working on an open source project with Eddie when they started. Redhat is a great leverage for building a company.
- One takeaway for a dev tool founder, be strict about splitting 50% of your time between building the product and doing the fun stuff.
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