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Hi, I'm Paulius. I'm a full time developer and I just launched my first side project - SketchDaily.io - AMA

ripexz
Sep 23, 2017

I'm a developer at Teamwork.com, working full-time, remotely from all around Europe (currently in Estonia, travelled through 18 countries in 2017 already!) and working on side projects in my spare time.

I just launched the public beta of my first project - SketchDaily.io - a free web app dedicated to improving your sketching skills, and having a bit of fun :)

Ask me anything - about development, side projects, SketchDaily.io, working remotely, travel, or anything you like.

WIN_20170921_11_21_27_Pro.jpg

twitter.com/sketchdailyio/status/910779892488458241

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What are the most challenging aspects of designing mobile applications?

Sep 23, 10:09AM EDT0

Thanks for the question - I've love to give you a good answer, but personally I've yet to tackle this problem - sure I work on web apps and try to make them responsive and mobile friendly, but in terms of mobile apps, I'm still new in the field.

I guess if I had to pick one thing - the UI/UX is always very important with mobile apps as the inputs are pretty much limited to just a touch screen. :)

Sep 23, 11:46AM EDT0
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Who are the pioneers in App Development?

Sep 22, 10:36PM EDT0

Thanks for the question, but really - that's a hard one to pin down. There are very many developers out there, and majority are pioneers - in the end you have to do something unique to succeed, even if it's just putting a twist on an established concept.

Sep 23, 12:51PM EDT0

Where do you come up with your ideas?

Sep 23, 4:26PM EDT0

Are you on facebook or twitter so I can follow you?

Sep 22, 3:52PM EDT0

Hi Antonio, yep you can find me at @ripexz

You can also follow SketchDaily.io on:

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Last edited @ Sep 23, 3:27AM EDT.
Sep 23, 3:26AM EDT0
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Is there any country where you thought you would like to live?

Sep 22, 12:19PM EDT0

Thanks for the question, that's a difficult one!

I did have my eyes set on Norway for a while, but I can't say I agree with some of their policies. Overall, if I had to pick a country in Europe - I'd probably go for the Netherlands, I lived there for 4 months and I really think the country has it's s*** together :D The only downside is that it's lacking on the scenery front, at least for me.

I did consider Japan for a long time and South Korea, but now I think I'd like to go for a month or two and find out what they're really like first. :)

The next in my sights though is Canada - hopefully I'll get to see what it's like for a few months in 2018 :)

Sep 22, 3:22PM EDT0
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Are you familiar with any marketing techniques? How do you plan to get traffic for your side projects such as SketchDaily?

Sep 22, 12:09PM EDT0

Hi Brandon - thanks for the question. I'm aware of some of the techniques, but as I've said in one of my previous answers - I'm not very good at it and not very good at dedicating time to it. :) 

Then again - with SketchDaily.io I feel there's less pressure - this is my experiment, my learning experience - it is not intended to make money - I'd be deligted if I can cover server costs with donations or ad revenue, but it was not designed to be a commercial product. Perhaps that is also a hinderance - if I considered its success vital to my survival, I'd try harder promoting it, but so far I'm learning as I go, trying to get it seen by aspiring artists and hoping they'll spread the word. :)

Sep 22, 3:17PM EDT0
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What has been the most challenging aspect of this project and why? 

Sep 22, 11:55AM EDT0

That's a great question - I guess the whole process of going from idea to launch is a learning experience for me, but the field I'm weakest in is marketing - so that has to be the biggest challenge. Sure I am aware of some of the techniques, but my time is limited and if I had to choose to work an hour on programming something for SketchDaily.io or an hour promoting it - I'd go for the code. But I'm learning as I go along, now that I've reached public beta stage, it's easier to spend more time on getting the word out there and just fixing things as they break.

Either way, I feel happy I've gotten this far, and any challenges or pitfalls will just help me improve for the next iteration or project :)

Sep 22, 3:12PM EDT0
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What are the do’s and don'ts for someone launching their very first app?

Sep 22, 11:07AM EDT0

Hahah, ask me in a couple of months and I'll give a better answer! :)

The main thing I would recommend to do that I didn't - promote your app before you release it. Create a landing page with an email subscription, tell your friends, post it on a forum - not only it'll help you get some initial users but also help you stay motivated as you'll feel like you gotta finish it - if not for yourself - then for all those people who are excited about your project.

Sep 22, 3:08PM EDT0

Have you talked with specialists in social media marketing to get some tips?

Sep 23, 4:05PM EDT0

Have you done other apps before?

Sep 22, 6:45AM EDT0

In terms of side projects, I haven't done any web apps previously, I did work on some websites back in the day, including a gaming community website with a custom matchmaking and ranking system. Unfortunately the community died off and I eventually handed off the site into better hands, however it was soon abandoned and I just shut it down. I've worked on a few small games as well but they were never released though I am hoping to finish off a mobile game too, hopefully by the end of the year.

As for my employment, I've worked on a cross-platform desktop timer app, Chrome extensions, microservices and of course our main SaaS.

Sep 22, 3:05PM EDT0
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Are you making any money from this project as it is free for users? 

Sep 22, 6:05AM EDT0

Hi Xharris, thanks for the question, Michelle has already asked it below, but I'll paste it here :)

Hi Michelle - well, currently I don't make any money. :)

But I am in the process of setting up ads, though with ad blockers these days they're unlikely to do much.

I also gave an option to donate (currently limited to crypto currencies) which would turn off said ads (and allow SVG downloads of all sketches) and also every sketch has a Zazzle affiliate link to get it on a t-shirt. :)

It's by no means a solid business model, but it's not meant to be - if get to cover my server costs - I'd be delighted. If not - I was paying for the hosting already anyway. :)

Sep 22, 3:01PM EDT0
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How long did it take you to do the app?

Sep 22, 4:27AM EDT0

Thanks for the question, Spencer has already asked it below so I'll paste my answer :)

Hi Spencer, thanks for the question. I came up with the idea around March this year, I can't say I've been working on it consistently since then so in reality it could've easily taken half as long, maybe even less. I guess I'm trying to balance personal life, full-time work, all of my travel and then side projects, so the time I could dedicate to SketchDaily.io varied daily.

But overall I'm happy I got to this stage in around 6 months, I told myself initially that I should have it out in public by the end of the year, so I more than made my deadline :)

Sep 22, 2:59PM EDT0
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What do you like about working remotely?

Sep 22, 4:25AM EDT0

That's a great question, I guess the main things for me would be:

  • Better focus - sure I miss out on the office buzz and socialising, but at the same time, I also miss out on all the small distractions you'd run into.
  • More time flexibility - I already have flexible hours, but having a "10 second commute" makes it much easier to adjust my schedule - I can pick up a parcel from the local post office in 10 minutes, without the added 30min commute each way :)
  • Location independent - this one is probably the bigest factor right now, knowing all the travel I've done but yeah - I don't like staying in one place too long :)
Sep 22, 2:57PM EDT0

How do you find clients?

Sep 23, 5:21PM EDT0

If your app is free how do you make money on it?

Sep 22, 12:18AM EDT0

Hi Michelle - well, currently I don't make any money. :)

But I am in the process of setting up ads, though with ad blockers these days they're unlikely to do much.

I also gave an option to donate (currently limited to crypto currencies) which would turn off said ads (and allow SVG downloads of all sketches) and also every sketch has a Zazzle affiliate link to get it on a t-shirt. :)

It's by no means a solid business model, but it's not meant to be - if get to cover my server costs - I'd be delighted. If not - I was paying for the hosting already anyway. :)

Sep 22, 2:52PM EDT0
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What are your rates for developing apps?

Sep 21, 11:59PM EDT0

Hi Daniel, thanks for the question - I'm not freelancing so I don't have any rates, you should try Upwork or Freelancer for that sort of stuff :)

Sep 22, 2:47PM EDT0
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Who is SketchDaily designed for?

Sep 21, 11:28PM EDT0

For everyone and anyone! :)

At least, I'm hoping everyone would be willing to give it a go - it doesn't require talent or previous experience, just interest. Sure it's about improving your sketching skills but it's meant to be fun too!

Still, you can't market it to just "everyone" so I'm trying to promote it between (aspiring) artists, hoping they'd spread the word. :)

Sep 22, 2:46PM EDT0
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Where has been your most favourite place to travel/work from? 

Sep 21, 11:24PM EDT0

Hi Brandon - that's a hard one! I really enjoyed my time in Montenegro - the scenery is beautiful, I was living in the bay of Kotor for a month and drove around on the weekends, really amazing place. Of course, internet connection where I stayed was just about enough for my work, and of course you don't have the amenities you have in the cities, but it was a nice calm place. I'd love to come back in the winter time and go snowboarding in the moutains. :)

Aside from that, my favourite city I lived in so far has to be Rotterdam, modern, but quiet, with great public transport, plenty of activities, and nice people. However, I did miss more mountainous scenery when I was there :)

Sep 22, 2:33PM EDT0
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What did you do to solve the problems related to your app?

Sep 21, 9:41PM EDT0

Hi Nicole, thanks for the question. Well, since I was in no big rush to get this done, I would take my time. If I couldn't figure something out right away, I'd take notes and leave it alone, coming back to it the next day. 

Of course researching things online helps but sometimes you get to a point where brute-forcing it doesn't work, you need to take a step back and give your brain time to put the pieces together :)

Sep 22, 2:26PM EDT0
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What are the hurdles you have encountered when you work remotely?

Sep 21, 9:05PM EDT0

Not an issue anymore, now that I've been at it for almost 2 years, but when you get started - time management can be hard.

For the first couple of months it was way too tempting to take a few minutes break every now and then and do some house-related task, before you know, you're side-tracked and you're cleaning your whole house or doing food prep for dinner. Luckily my schedule was quite flexible so this wasn't an issue and I'd waste an hour or two max, which I'd make up later in the evening.

Which brings me to the other side of it too - once you're "in the zone" working away, sometimes it can be hard to stop, you can get carried away and work late/overwork sometimes too.

But really, all it took is setting a routine as you would if you worked normally - get up at the same time, take scheduled breaks and finish at the same time, your mindset and your body clock adapts and it's all smooth sailing. You can also work from a coworking space if you miss that office vibe. :)

Sep 22, 2:19PM EDT0

Do you prefer to work alone?

Sep 23, 4:23PM EDT0

How would you choose/explain the benefits/trade-offs between ASP.NET WebForms and MVC to a client?

Sep 21, 8:51PM EDT0

I'd love to give you an answer, but personally I've never dabbled with ASP.NET, my backend experience starts with PHP, moving on to ColdFusion, node.js and Go, the latter being what I used for SketchDaily.io

I believe Google would definitely answer your question better than me :)

Sep 22, 2:12PM EDT0
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Where do you market your app?

Sep 21, 7:28PM EDT1

Everywhere I can, really :) I hit the generic Hacker News, Product Hunt, BetaPage and so on for new tech but I also tried to focus in more on the market, posting in art and art-learning related subreddits and forums.

I'm really not that great at marketing, but SketchDaily.io is a learning experience, so if all I take away is what not to do - I still don't consider it a failure.

Sep 22, 2:09PM EDT0
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What countries have you traveled to so far?

Sep 21, 7:08PM EDT0

This year so far, roughly in order I went to them (skipping duplicates on the way):

  • Ireland
  • France
  • Belgium
  • Netherlands
  • Germany
  • Denmark
  • Sweden
  • Lithuania
  • Czech Republic
  • Austria
  • Slovenia
  • Croatia
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Montenegro
  • Hungary
  • Slovakia
  • Poland
  • Latvia
  • Estonia

Just realised thats 19, not 18 as I stated. As for my previous travels I've also been to:

  • Norway
  • UK
  • Switzerland
  • Italy

So, most of Europe really, haven't been outside of it yet. But, hopefully I'll be going to Canada for a few months in 2018 though. :)

Sep 22, 2:06PM EDT0
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