Tuesday, July 28, 2015

'Take 5' with Backendless Founder Mark Piller

We sat down with Backendless founder, Mark Piller, to discuss everything from what he sees as his company’s biggest hurdles to what keeps him up at night. Backendless, is a BaaS (or “Backend as a service”) that promises “More Backend for Less”; more backend features and functionality, support, and care for less effort, time, money and stress.

Mark ‘takes 5’ with Bitnami to give some insight into the passion that makes Backendless tick:

What is the biggest hurdle you have faced or are still facing? 
Building a SaaS service is very different than a downloadable product. It took us some time to figure out how to scale the product and build a reliable system, which can predict outages and gracefully handle them when they happen. Looking back it was the biggest challenge, but it is a minor one in contrast with what lies ahead of us. We have an amazing technology and not a lot of people know about us. Thinking about how to broaden our reach is what keeps me up at night.

What advice would you offer to any soon-to-be startup founders out there? 
Do not rush with your idea. Discuss with as many people as you can, especially ones who had experiencing starting their own company. Try delaying getting any kind of investment as long as you can, but not longer.. Release early and listen to your users.

What is the most rewarding part of running your own business? 
There are many factors, which bring me personal and professional satisfaction. Hearing first hand from the users of our system how much they enjoy using Backendless, how it helped them build better applications, save time and money, get better at what they do. Learning about Backendless-powered apps, which reach the top of the app stores and beat competition that made the mistake of not using our platform. I really enjoy seeing my employees making big decisions of their lives – whether it is getting married, buying their first house or an apartment or bringing a child into this world. Knowing that their employment with the company perhaps made it a bit easier and gave more confidence to make these decisions is a great feeling. I also get a tremendous satisfaction from realizing that we are independent and are free to innovate. We are still relatively small and can move very quickly, it is important not to take it for granted and I highly value that I have the opportunity to work in such an environment.

What problem will your product solve? + How does it matter in the market? 
At the high level Backendless solves the developer productivity problem – it lets you focus on the core application logic and user experience while providing both functional and operational backend support. This results in significant reduction of total development time and apps can be released faster. Additionally, any application built with our service is ready to scale the moment you publish or deploy your app. The infrastructure your Backendless-powered product sits on top of is the foundation of your product’s scalability. At a lower level there is a variety of problems we solve quite efficiently. You can easily create video/audio chats, build location-aware apps with geofencing and location monitoring capabilities, deliver push notifications, include message broadcasts, easily configure security permissions, write your own backend logic using code generators and many more.

How much traction do you have? 
Enough to make us proud of our accomplishments, but not enough to make us comfortable. I do not think we will ever be “comfortable”. That comfort stops innovation and slows companies down. We constantly see new projects starting with our technology and it fuels our inspiration and desire to do more. We’re in the process of preparing a few very significant announcements which, I believe, will be the catalyst for significant shift in the competitive landscape (and our traction stats).

Now for the lightning round! 

Coffee or tea? 
It depends on where I am. Tea in China, Coffee in Colombia.

PC or MAC? 
Mac of course.

Early bird or night owl? 
Give me a coding problem to bring a night owl in me. Most of the midnight oil has been burned though.

Bagels or muffins? 
Neither one. A protein shake please.

Classic or modern? 
It depends on the mood.

Detailed or abstract? 

Washing dishes or doing laundry? 

Saver or spender? 
CEO – spender, CFO – saver. I am wearing two hats at the moment.

Hardwood or carpet? 

Cats or dogs? 

Pancakes or waffles? 
One more protein shake please.

Asking questions or answering questions? 
I am on page 7 of the latter.

Ruby or Go? 

Javascript or C? 
Still Java.

Learn more about Backendless, or try it for free for 1 hour! Already using it? Write a review and spread the word.