These guys won the best Windows 8 Hack award at TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2013: Pasha and Pelle. They built “Big Picture,” which aids developers in keeping track of the state of the design of their front end. You can watch their demo here. “
We interviewed them to get an idea of what inspired this success.
This interview was conducted by Neha Bhaskar, SR CHANNEL & ECOSYSTEM Marketing Manager at Microsoft, in NYC.
Tell us a bit about the app you built at the TechCrunch hackathon.
We wanted to make a tool that would aid developers in keeping track of the state of the design of their front end. Requirements usually change so fast when mocking up pages, that it is almost impossible to keep track of the overall progress. There is also no current tool (to our knowledge) that provides such an overview based on in-progress code, and makes it easy for non-developers to inspect the state of the project. The Big Picture tackles both.
What came first for you-the team or the idea?
We initially started working on different projects. Pasha was working on The Big Picture, and Pelle was trying to control the AR Drone with Leap Motion. Toward the middle of the hackathon we joined forces in order to polish the project and to make it into a Windows 8 App.
What inspired you to work on this idea and how do you see it evolving?
The idea came directly from dealing with the pains and quirks of developing web software. We think that if it catches the eye of some good open-source contributors, it could become an awesome designer/developer tool.
Outside of TchCrunch, what are you working on?
Pasha has a startup called Trait, that is attempting to put the power of biometrics (such as facial, fingerprint, and voice recognition) into the hands of every developer. Trait (currently in closed beta) is a biometrics as a service platform that bridges the gap between technology vendors and developers by providing developers with an easy to use API, while taking care of the necessary back-end infrastructure for storage and processing of biometric functions.
Pelle has a startup called circles.io, which is a real time backend as a service. Circles.io makes it easier for developers either on apps or websites can setup there product in no time with a team of people worring about the servers, databases, scaliblity, API, user management , realtime communications for them so they don’t have to hire staff or manage it themselves. They only need to focus on the frontend development, leaving the mundane tasks to us.
What was the most difficult challenge your business faced this year?
Pelle: We are in the process of raising money, building the product , in addition to servicing clients and trying to bring new ones on it takes a lot of juggling. Having a small team is nice but it seems about the time to grow to give more time to each process.
How do you know when you are failing in product development and how do you make a correction – do you make the decision on your own, or do you consult your team?
Its all about time estimation. If you aren’t meeting your milestones and ship dates, you need to take a step back and decide on whether it is because you underestimated the task or because there is a flaw in your development process. Then you improve one of the two. Consulting your team often confuses the two causes.
Who would you like to be your mentor, and what would you ask him or her?
Pasha: Elon Musk, I would ask him how one would attract the right people in order to quickly revolutionize an industry that before seemed insurmountable.
Pelle: Mark Cuban, I would ask he through his process of building his companies, who or what gave him the biggest push to get to the next level.
What advice do you want to give for any founder who wants to build a startup in rapid time?
If you think that you’re on to a good idea and you found a market where your product is needed, draw up an executable 6-8 week development plan for your MVP, and put your heads down to build it. Also don’t try and do everything yourself as a startup you have limited manpower take advantage of resources others have built!