Brightwork makes it easier for Developers to see information about the APIs they use as well as allow them to switch APIs on the fly with no code.
What’s the story behind Brightwork?
All of us at Brightwork come from a very technical background and have worked for various startups and companies. We all agreed that APIs (application program interfaces) should be more flexible and that it shouldn’t take such an effort to switch APIs if companies wanted to pick a different service. The other issue we wanted to solve, was that we didn’t really have a good idea about how our APIs were performing or the cost projections.
When we started to talk to other Developers, we found they were often looking for solutions like Brightwork, but had to end up building these solutions themselves. We saw an opportunity to build a platform that would make it easier to see usage and performance information about APIs (even private ones), see cost projections as well as side by side cost analysis, and to switch APIs on the fly with no code needed.
What were you doing before you started this company?
That is a loaded question, since I’ve always had various projects or jobs (often having many jobs at once). It could be my Navy background or just growing up seeing my Mom work more than one job to keep my Brother and I fed and clothed. I’ve always had the mindset to be overly busy and don’t know any other speed than fast paced.
For a while I was doing internet radio, and have been in the telecom industry for over 14 years. I also helped launch a digital marketing company prior to starting Brightwork.
How do you stay organized?
It’s tough for me because I’m not typically an organized person. I utilize Evernote a lot. If it weren’t for that tool, I would lose my mind. I keep a lot of notes there to help me keep track of project deadlines and stay on top of follow up, but you can use it to track individual things as well.
For the business stuff we use Hubspot for our CRM, Trello for project management, and Slack for team communication.
What were some of the challenges you faced when launching your business and how did you handle them?
I think the biggest challenge for us early on was finding the biggest pain point and putting together a plan to solve that problem. We initially thought data was a big enough issue to try to solve, but came to the realization that Developers really didn’t see this as a big enough pain. After speaking to a bunch of people, we found that APIs were the biggest frustration of all.
There are over 10,000 APIs in the market today, but if you want to see usage, cost projections, or even switch APIs it’s a very cumbersome process in which you have to build and piece together various solutions. And even if you do all of that, it’s likely not going to be in one place nor will it be easy to digest. Brightwork is putting all of this information in one easy-to-use dashboard.
How do you stay motivated?
It can be tough sometimes. It’s easy to just sit back and just let things happen. I stay motivated by surrounding myself with people that share the same passion I have for solving big problems. We have an incredible team with some of the most brilliant people I have ever known. It’s such an incredible honor to be able to sit at the head of the table and know that this team is dedicated to putting a product out to our customers that will solve big problems, save them money, and save time. I am so excited to see where this goes because the opportunities are endless.
We really see Brightwork as becoming the Wix of Mobile Development in the long run. 10 years ago you needed a Web Developer to build a website. Today you can just use tools such as Wix to build a site in minutes. Mobile Development is going to eventually be just as accessible. Brightwork is putting the pieces in place today, to make mobile development more accessible to a broader audience. It all starts with the tools inside the apps. We have to make them easier to use if we hope to get more people developing applications.
How did you delegate and build your team?
Building the right team is hard. You always second guess yourself about the decisions you make as a Founder. However, once everyone is running on all cylinders that doubt is all erased and you realize this is what you were meant to do.
We work so well together. Since we are a small team we’re able to keep constant communication and ensure that we help each other when things are in danger of falling through the cracks. It helps that we’re all a little insane. I mean, who would drop everything they’re doing and change their life path to build a dream? You have to be a little insane to create a startup these days. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart.
There’s a lot of interesting insights and science behind the habits of entrepreneurs. How do you start your day?
I really don’t have a morning ritual. I’m a Dad so my day starts at 6:30 in the morning with getting my kids up and ready for the day. While they’re getting ready I’ll typically watch a little news until it makes me sad enough to turn it off. Then I do something that makes me smile, so I don’t start off on a bad note (despite watching the news). This helps put me in the mindset that I can get through the day and be positive.
For the most part, I try to laugh as much as I can all day. I am such a smart ass and love to joke with people. Thankfully I’ve surrounded myself with people that are fun and energetic. It helps get me through the tough times.
How do you unplug, disconnect, and recharge?
I spend time with my kids on the weekends. Sunday is family day. I make it a point not to work on Sundays and spend the entire day with my family. We try to get out and explore as much as possible. I love getting outside and just spending some time away from the city. It’s a great way to get outside of my little bubble and remind myself how small I am in this world.
How do you celebrate successes?
I usually don’t. I have learned to temper my excitement about things because I know it can be short lived. It doesn’t mean I do not appreciate the successes when they happen, I just try to temper that with a reality check. There is always more to do.
Brightwork and Plunk (my other venture) have taught me a lot about this. There is nothing more defeating than to have a good month only to have your worst month following. So I’ve learned to be patient and continue to look at the big picture. While it’s great to have solid wins, it’s just a milestone to the next goal.
If you had one piece of advice to give fellow entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Have patience. Building something takes time. Anything worth fighting for does. It is going to take much longer than you think to accomplish what you want to do. If you think it’s going to take a year to do something, triple it. You will be disappointed, but know that you will win if you keep your head up and know how to get past the low points. You’ll be beaten down until you can’t take it anymore. There was a great quote I read today. “To make it in this business, you’ve got to go through hell.”- Joe Bastianich
Success is the goal but failure teaches us a lot. What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that you need to find people that not only share your vision, but have the same drive and understanding. The challenge for me has been that I hold myself to such a high standard. It’s tough for me ask people to hold themselves to the same standard. I often find that I take on more because I don’t want to disappoint people including those that work around me. It’s hard to get out of that mindset to do everything because I do not scale as an individual. So finding people that can keep up is tough.