Table of Contents
- Tell us about your product and what inspired you to start it?
- How long did it take you to acquire your first 50 customers, and what was your growth strategy?
- Which technology stack are you using and what challenges and limitations does it pose?
- What are some of the most essential tools that you use for your business?
- What have been some of the biggest insights you've gained since starting your entrepreneurial journey?
- Your recommended books/podcasts/newsletters etc.:
- What other products are you working on?
Lane Wagner is the founder of Boot.dev - A place to learn backend development the right way
Tell us about your product and what inspired you to start it?
The state of education for backend developers is fraught with difficulty, but it doesn’t need to be that way. The mission of Boot.dev is to make the process of becoming a backend engineer effective, fun, and inexpensive.
I started building Boot.dev for my wife Breanna who wanted to transition into backend development from her job as an x-ray technician. After searching for awhile, we couldn’t find any learning platforms that checked all the boxes that I felt were necessary as a backend hiring manager. I built Boot.dev so that anyone struggling to get a job as a backend engineer can learn the computer science skills that employers actually want to see.
How long did it take you to acquire your first 50 customers, and what was your growth strategy?
We have about 16,000 customers who have signed up, and about 500 who have paid. I can't quite remember, Boot.dev started as a side project, so it took quite awhile. Probably around 6 months.
Which technology stack are you using and what challenges and limitations does it pose?
GCP, Golang, K8s, PostgresQL, Vue.js, WASM, Hugo, Netlify, PubSub
I really like the stack (if I didn't I wouldn't use it). The biggest challenge is Hugo - even though I love using it, I have writers that contribute to the blog, but don't know how to use markdown. I had to write a script to convert their .docx files to .md.
It's a bit on the expensive side because I'm running k8s ($100/mo). It could be cheaper, but I love how easy k8s makes it to scale up and move to another cloud provider, so it's worth it to me.
What are some of the most essential tools that you use for your business?
Discord is #1 - We use it to power the community and its tightly integrated with our app through a bot.
The next one is probably Github, then maybe sendgrid. Both of those could be swapped for competitors relatively easily, but we like them.
What have been some of the biggest insights you've gained since starting your entrepreneurial journey?
Validate before building
Build the smallest MVP you can
Pre-sell if you can
Get the UVP and messaging in a good place BEFORE building
Your recommended books/podcasts/newsletters etc.:
Clean code (book)
The Y Combinator "How to Start a Startup" series (podcast, I guess)
What other products are you working on?
I'm fully focused on Boot.dev at the moment! We're doing about 7k in monthly revenue and I want to get it to 10+ by the end of the year.