What was your inspiration for Divshot?
I worked at a web consultancy and grew tired of the wasted efforts in early stages of a project. Building intricate wireframes and Photoshop mockups only to throw them away and start from scratch with code seemed like such a broken process. My original aim with Divshot was to create a visual prototyping tool that would create clean framework-based code that developers could actually use. It’s now morphed into leading the [static web app] movement.
We always talk about customer development at Startup Weekend. Can you give us an example of how early customer development helped shape Divshot?
When we made our final presentation at Startup Weekend we didn’t even place (“are developers a big enough market?” “would they really want this kind of tool?”) but after the competition we had tons of the other participants coming up to us and talk about how excited they were about what we were building. It taught us early on that developers are the heart and soul of our company, so we should always do what’s best for them.
What are some awesome libraries or services that developers at Divshot use every day?
I’ll get the plug out of the way and say that we use Divshot (both the visual builder and our brand-new static web hosting platform) every day for lots of stuff. We use Flowdock for team communication, GitHub to store our code, Meldium to log into our dozens of accounts, Help Scout for customer support, Nitrous.io (some of us) for a cloud dev environment, Sprint.ly for project management, Heroku for back-end service hosting, Firebase for real-time, Grape for our Ruby APIs, Travis CI for continuous integration and deployment, Mixpanel for analytics, Stripe for payments, and AWS for some additional service and storage needs.
If you could give developers at Startup Weekend any single tip, what would it be?
Focus on your team, your product, and learning new things, not just on trying to win. Like I mentioned, we didn’t even place in our Startup Weekend competition but we knew that we had built something worthwhile. A few months later when we had time to develop the product, polish the vision and pitch again to a competition in Los Angeles, we took first place which led directly to us being accepted into the Launchpad LA accelerator. It’s not what happens in the weekend, but what you take away from it that really matters.
What is Divshot up to now?
We are launching a static web platform-as-a-service product that will give developers the tools to easily deploy static web applications. This will also allow our existing customers to publish their projects to the web with a single click.
What is the future vision for Divshot?
We believe that static web applications are going to become a major part of the web development landscape. Our vision is to become the programmable platform for the static web. We will continue to build tools and services that help developers design, build, and deploy static web applications. We are also helping to grow the static web community with our efforts like the Static Showdown (a 48-hour static app hackathon) and StaticApps.org (a community resource site).