Hey Makers! 👋
Welcome to the Digest 002 of the newsletter. Tad, our featured maker, is a software engineer at heart. 🏆
According to research from Entertainment Software Association, 70% of families have at least one child who plays video games. While online gaming can provide quality social interaction, there’s also a darker side.
From cyber bullying to online predators to hidden costs, there are many concerns when it comes to playing video games online, especially for children. These concerns are certainly valid for Tad, the parent of a young child.
As an angel investor skilled in bootstrapping, company & team building, and shipping, Tad’s goal is to create a safe online play, namely Minecraft Playdates. ⭐️
What I’ve Been Reading 📖
- ⭐️ Belay On Entrepreneurs: Rock climbing and venture backed startup companies are all about risk, right? Actually, they’re both about making smart choices with limited information, often with unpleasant consequences should you choose poorly.
- How to find blog content ideas effortlessly?: I have been writing blog articles for a while now and found that running out of blog content ideas is quite normal.
- Reflecting on My Failure to Build a Billion-Dollar Company: In 2011, I left my job as the second employee at Pinterest - before I vested any of my stock - to work on what I thought would be my life’s work.
- My Third Year as a Solo Developer: Today is the third anniversary of quitting my job at Google to build my own software business.
Maker Focus 🏆
Featuring one or more makers per digest. Want to be featured as a maker? Fill in this form. ✍️
Tad is skilled in SW Eng, Bootstrapping, Company Building, angel investing, startup advising, building teams, and shipping! ⚡
Product Focus 📦
Safe online play for your kids.
Minecraft Playdates is a Minecraft-server-as-a-service. You can run your own private Minecraft servers and don’t need to know anything about Minecraft server hosting.
Driving lessons made simpler.
Dryvo is a unique solution for the driving lessons industry. Our aim is to save the teacher’s time and to increase revenues, and for the students to have control on the entire process. Dryvo is changing the way driving lessons are being managed.
A simple and elegant feed reader.
FeedBunch is a feed reader, a web application that allows users to subscribe and read Atom and RSS feeds. It can be self-hosted, and is fully open source.
Education 📚 & Resources 🧩
- GoRails: We’ll teach you how to build a real-world application from scratch with Ruby on Rails step by step.
- Learn Datascience For Free: This repository consists of free resources needed for a person to learn data science from the beginning to end.
- Akar Icons: Perfectly rounded icon library made for designers and developers
- Iconduck: 108,289 free open source icons & illustrations
An Interview with Tad of Minecraft Playdates
Hey Tad! Let’s start out with your background. 📝
I’m an Indie Maker, VC backed entrepreneur, full stack engineer / architect, product manager, angel investor, startup advisor, and back in the day an embedded software engineer.
I love to build cool things and bring them to market.
I’m experienced in enterprise software, B2C SaaS, and Cloud IaaS.
What is the purpose of your blog, and what resources do you use to get your ideas, if any? 🧩
The “Indie Maker” journey, challenges we face and the solutions we try.
What is an opinion you have that most people don’t agree with? ✒️
The exodus from Silicon Valley due to coronavirus and high cost of living will reverse itself. As fulfilling as remote work can be, there is no substitute for face to face time to bond the team and create a strong culture. Furthermore, there is something to be said for having a separate workspace which helps contribute to work-life balance for those that have that need or desire.
Why was Minecraft Playdates started and is there a roadmap? 🎯
It all started when our son (6yo) discovered minecraft.
Then coronavirus struck, and suddenly opportunities for social interaction plummeted. Video chats with his friends just didn’t hold his attention, but he loved playing Minecraft.
One day we found him playing multiplayer Minecraft on some random server on the Internet. While we believe that playing the game for a moderate amount of time each week is acceptable, especially cooperative play and adventuring with friends for the social interaction, playing with random strangers at such a young age was not. Thus the idea for Minecraft Playdates was born.
The key idea that led us to launch Minecraft Playdates is that as parents, we should be in control of who our kids are playing with, when they can play, and how long they can play for. We shouldn’t have to navigate the raft of various Minecraft hosting services, designed for mature, expert, players. As parents we just want to get our kids playing with friends safely and easily, with and for young kids, provide some guardrails.
We just launched the MVP, the roadmap will be driven by early customer adoption. Currently, we’re working on creating more helpful text and video content to help people get started and troubleshoot common gotchas.
Beyond that, we’ve found that one of the biggest challenges for parents is getting their playdates setup, getting everyone invited, figuring out device and software version compatibility, and setting up a video or audio chat so the kids can talk while playing. We’re exploring solutions to these problems next.
What is the most challenging problem that’s been solved in Minecraft Playdates, so far? 🚧
The most challenging business problem has been early growth post launch. The Minecraft server hosting space is fairly fragmented. There are a bunch of highly visible services out there.
The two biggest challenges here are finding the right positioning so we don’t come across as another “me too” hosting service, and then figuring out how to reach potential customers in our target demographic (parents of young Minecraft players) with our solution.
What is one product that you can’t live without that you think others should know about? 💡
Google Cloud — The site is built on Firebase, Cloud Run, and GCE, and everything “just works”.
If I gave you $1 million to invest in one thing right now, where would you put it? 🚀
I would invest it in bit.io, “Github for databases and datasets”.
Thank you Tad.
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