Locked

I'm Alex, the co-founder of Creative Tim, a startup that is generating over $500k/year licensing web design tools. I've designed most of our UI Kits and Dashboards and they are now used by over 330.000 web developers. AMA!

Alexandru Păduraru
Feb 7, 2018

Hi everyone,

I'm Alex, the co-founder of Creative Tim. I have a master degree in computer science and I really love doing web design. I'm 26 years old at the moment of this AMA.

We started as a 2 person web design agency in 2013 and we've seen some patterns while we build the interfaces for our clients. We decided to create some components that we can reuse for our clients in order to save time and money from the development. After we made the first set of components we posted them on our website and they got a lot of popularity. We've been featured in Product Hunt, Hacker News, Reddit.

Then we built some premium UI Kits like "Get Shit Done PRO" or "Material Kit PRO" and the revenue was basically growing 2.2x year over year.

At this moment our products can be found in different projects from small personal websites to large web applications or in different internal tools of governments, schools, different catalogs from Stanford, Harvard or enterprises like Vodafone, Orange etc. 

AMA! You can get in contact with me on Twitter or Facebook. If you need feedback that requests more writing: alex@creative-tim.com

Comments are locked

Conversation (68)

In three easy steps and under a minute you could be hosting your own AMA. Join our passionate community of AMA hosts and schedule your own AMA today.

Let's get started!

Could you kindly suggest some good web design tools for Linux?

Feb 9, 5:55AM EST0

If the website is built on web design tools from Weebly and GoDaddy, do you have to build a brand new website to improve SEO?

Feb 9, 3:37AM EST0

Hello! All of this sounds incredibily great! Are you operating in US or in EU?

Feb 8, 7:13AM EST0

Hi Roksana,

Thank you for your question. We are operating in EU, Romania but our products are sold globally from EU to the USA to China, Australia, Russia, Canada etc.

Feb 8, 8:26AM EST1
Show all 4 replies

What would be the actual tasks of front-end web developers who are working  in a big company?

Feb 4, 8:19PM EST0

Hi Poeeain,

Thank you for your question. Is that Mark Zuckerberg on your picture? :D

Feb 8, 8:25AM EST0

How can i learn to become a professional ux / ui designer ?

Please share me to your guideline.Let me hope to your kindly.

Last edited @ Feb 5, 3:23AM EST.
Feb 4, 8:11PM EST0

Hi Thu,

Thank you for your questions. I've responded to the same question to JEVIE P. Please check it there and if there are more questions don't hesitate to ask them.

Feb 8, 8:24AM EST0

If you weren’t into IT or web development, what do you think would your job be?

Feb 4, 6:50PM EST0

Hi,

Thank you for your question! If I wasn't in the web development business, I would 100% be in the interior/exterior design business. I really like to see the great design on different things. So I'm lucky that I can see that design on web pages now, otherwise, I would put my fingerprint on buildings and interiors of buildings.

Feb 7, 2:21PM EST0

How do you choose the best tools to use out of the many that are available ?

Feb 4, 6:16PM EST0

Hi Buchi,

Thank you for your question. I'm having so many "tools" that I use. At this moment my setup is something like this:

I can say that I'm very simple and I stick with "oldie but goldie" technologies than going and switching through all the new tools that appear every day. Hope this helps.

Feb 7, 3:11PM EST0

How do you know what branch of computer studies you need to take? Seeing to the fact that they are quite a number. And how do you know what kind of developer you'd like to be e.g. full stack, front-end or back-end?

Feb 4, 6:14PM EST0

Hi Buchi,

Thank you for your question. The answer here can be very very long as the domains are growing exponential. For the Frontend I recommend you to start with HTML, CSS, JS, jQuery + Ajax, Bootstrap, then frameworks like Angular, React, Vue.js and for the Backend, I would recommend starting with PHP, Ruby, Zend, Ruby on Rails and then you choose which one you like, then you go with databases like MySQL. I would recommend you to go through the courses from Free Code Camp. and then you will see exactly which you like better, front-end or back-end. I'm not so happy with the full stack name as you cannot be good at all the things, you can only be a master of something. Hope this helps.

Feb 8, 8:23AM EST0

Even if I enjoy what I'm doing, sometimes I'm losing motivation and don't feel like doing it. How can I get over this?

Feb 4, 6:16AM EST0

Hi Alin,

Thank you for your question. I've also responded a little bit to another question about motivation and what I do when things don't go so well. So please check that.

As an addition, you need to set some higher goals for 1-5 years, where you want to be and what you want to achieve in these years. The time will pass even if you feel like doing something or not do it, so you don't have many choices. When you have those "bad moments" I recommend you to get a couple of days of vacation where you get out of the daily routine so you can think and check again the 5 years plan. You have to know that great things take a lot of time and effort, nothing is built overnight.

Also listen to some motivational speeches from great guys like Jack Ma, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and you will see that everybody had and has his struggle and problems and times when things didn't work well and feel like you want to give up. These periods are normal.

You lose motivation when things don't happen right away and you don't have that "instant gratification", just be patient and continue your work:

Feb 8, 8:20AM EST0

Is your co-founder a friend of yours? Is it difficult to be partners with a friend especially when you don’t agree with certain things?

Feb 4, 4:29AM EST0

Hi Nickie,

Thank you for your question. The co-founder was a colleague from University. We worked on some projects for school and seen that we are fit, as one did web design and one did the code. Then the years passed and our attributions separated and we took care of a lot of things. We were very very different as persons and in ways that we did different things. We decided in the beginning that it should be better to let our egos aside and make the best decisions for the company. 

The secret here is to make sure that each of the founders has different roles and they don't step over each others' job, otherwise, you will have a lot of not productive discussions. Also, it is very important if you go 50-50 with somebody to decide on the execution level who will be the CEO and who will take care of the entrepreneurial part of the business. Then after each year you both evaluate the performance of that person and agree if it continues or you can switch the roles. Don't make the mistakes where both people have the same decision attribution on the company growth as that will result in a split between the founders.

Hope this helps.

Feb 8, 8:13AM EST0

Before Creative Tim, what would you consider your biggest achievement as a solo web designer/developer?

Feb 2, 3:14PM EST0

Hi Farayola,

Thank you for your question. Before starting Creative Tim, I've been doing websites for different clients for almost 1 year. So I consider that a very good achievement because before doing that, I was a student. I never really worked as a solo web designer, as I started to do this with my co-founder from the day 1. I was taking care of the design, the co-founder was taking care of the code. Hope this helps.

Feb 8, 8:09AM EST0

For someone who wants to start doing freelance work, what is tge best way to start?

Feb 2, 11:05AM EST0

Hi Daniel,

Thank you for your question. I gave some details about this on JEVIE P.'s question. On top of that, I recommend you to start building a Dribbble.com profile and then pay for a 20$/year so you can get hired for different projects. Hope this helps.

Feb 8, 8:03AM EST0

If you were to choose any company in the world to create a website for, who would it be?

Feb 2, 10:55AM EST0

Hi Megan,

Thank you for the interesting question. Sincerely, I never thought about that, but if I have to think right now, I would like to do it for one of these companies: AirBnB, Tesla, Dribbble or Stripe.

Feb 8, 7:59AM EST0

Probably I should ask this question on stack overflow, but it's not everyday I get the chance to have my question answered by someone so experienced, so here goes my questions:

what do I need to do to make my websites rank number one on search engines like Google and which set of skills do you think someone should have in order to develop a web app similar to soundcloud ?

Feb 2, 1:54AM EST0

Hi Helcio,

Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, I don't have experience with SEO, we just build UI Kits and Dashboards. We hired somebody to help us with the SEO changes for our website. Maybe this will help: ahrefs.com/blog/learn-seo/ 

Feb 8, 7:58AM EST0

How did you market  your products?

Feb 2, 1:32AM EST0

Hi Gollapalli,

Thank you for your question. I've also responded a little bit about this subject on another question in this AMA so please check that too.

Basically, we just talked with a lot of people on twitter, forums, Facebook in the beginning. Then we appeared in different communities, blogs, newsletters. Then we've been involved in Startup Weekends and then the things started to get traction.

We sell our products only on our website for this moment. I've written a very complex article about all the steps that we did in the business and I recommend you to check it: "How my friends and I grew our side project into a $17,000/month business".

Hope this helps.

Feb 7, 2:50PM EST1

How did the people that needed your product find you at the very beginning?

Feb 1, 4:49AM EST0

Hi Stefania,

Thank you for your question. I've talked a little bit about this topic in the other questions, so please check them and I also highly recommend you to check the article that I wrote about how we built our startup from 0 to $17,000/month business. That was written 1 year ago and has a lot of useful information. It also contains all the steps that we took in building the business.

Hope this helps.

Feb 7, 2:55PM EST0

A great accomplishment at such a young age! What’s next for Creative Tim? What are your future plans?

Jan 30, 9:56PM EST0

Hi,

Thank you for the kind words and for the question. Our future plans are to continue the development of new design trends and to impact more and more people. We will probably start to create some video tutorials to help people understand also the process of building a Dashboard or an interface.

There are a lot of people which doesn't know where to start or what to do after they finish some Web Design courses. Hopefully, that will help more and more people understand why our products are so successful and how they should "think" when they build something for them or for their clients.

Feb 7, 2:46PM EST0

How old were you when you first designed a webpage? What was that about?

Jan 30, 1:28PM EST1

Hi Joy,

Thank you for your question. I've designed the first page when I was in 9th grade in high school, probably I was 15 years old. It wasn't a real design, I was trying to reproduce some pages in HTML + CSS for a client from vworker.com (some kind of freelancer.com). It was an e-commerce with some t-shirts and shoes, still, remember the struggle, haha!

Feb 7, 1:32PM EST0

What motivates you in your work? How do you keep the positive energy flowing?

Jan 29, 9:04PM EST2

Nice to meet you mister Bear!

Thank you for the questions. I'm motivated when I see great looking products/websites that work smooth. Our motto is "made with love for a better web", that means we want to give for free only high-quality templates, UI Kits, and Dashboards, so more and more people can use them to make their websites better and that will make a better experience for their customers. Of course, we need to make money, to pay our rent, salaries etc. but this isn't the first motivation. 

In a startup, you always have ups and downs and you have to be positive all the time in order to go over the bad periods. Here is a graph that I like about startups:

When I'm in that mood, I just play some nice Rap music () or listen to motivational speeches like this one: 

Last edited @ Feb 7, 1:57PM EST.
Feb 7, 1:56PM EST1

What do you consider as your greatest achievement in the field of web design?

Jan 29, 5:31PM EST0

Hi Emily,

Thank you for your question. I think the greatest achievement is the impact that we have with our UI Kits and Dashboards. There are a huge number of websites that were built with our products. I'm 100% sure that those websites have a very good impact on the people that visit them every month. Here I'm talking about tens of millions of people that visit all the websites made with our products, every month. Hope this helps.

Feb 7, 2:43PM EST0
About #TechAMA

Your source for anything and everything in the world of technology.  From cellphone reviews to the Oculus Rift. You won’t want to miss one AMA Event here!

Interested in participating? Our user-friendly channel makes it possible for anyone to create an AMA on just about any imaginable topic that’s relevant to technology--and you. Just click the button on top right called CreateAMA.

The #TechAMA channel (http://www.TechAMA.com) is owned and operated by AMAfeed, LLC.

Top Contributor
Top Contributor