Anil Dash

CEO of Fog Creek Software, creators of Glitch



Anil Dash@anildash · Cofounder, ThinkUp
Hi, I'm Anil Dash. I'm the CEO of Fog Creek Software, which created Glitch and FogBugz, and I'm an advocate for making the tech industry more ethical and humane. You can check out Glitch at and join our community that'll help you make the app of your dreams.
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
Hi, Anil! It's been nearly 6 months since you announced your new role as CEO of Fog Creek Software. What's been your biggest surprise since making the leap?
Anil Dash@anildash · Cofounder, ThinkUp
@rrhoover This is such a great question that I wrote a whole Medium piece about it. In short: How much it has meant to me to be part of a company that has a culture of gratitude.
Kiki Schirr / 史秀玉@kikischirr · Founder, WeKiki Video Chat Platform
What are a few simple things you think the average founder can do to make the world a better place? (Like, where should we get started?) Thanks for doing this AMA, Anil!
Anil Dash@anildash · Cofounder, ThinkUp
@kikischirr Oh, this is a great question. One of the biggest things we can do is use our voices and our resources to fight for those who have the least. A simple way is to make sure that anything we create, or that our teams create, is designed to help those who most need opportunity or access. If we help them first, everybody else will be taken care of, too.
Kiki Schirr / 史秀玉@kikischirr · Founder, WeKiki Video Chat Platform
@anildash ...that honestly just made me realize something I'm doing wrong! Thank you!! haha... off to fix it!
Daigo Smith@daigo_smith · Co-founder, @Loveflutter
Hey Anil, Great to chat to you here. We’ve just built a dating app using Twitter’s API 😱 . Best piece of advice from your ThinkUp journey? p.s.
David Spinks@davidspinks · CEO, CMX Media
Hey Anil, thanks for doing the AMA! I'm curious on your thoughts on how far an organization, or community, should take inclusivity. Is it possible to reach a point where you're truly, 100% inclusive? If you're a business and you want to be more inclusive, how far do you need to take it to be "diverse enough"? There seems to be a never ending list of attributes you could prioritize. You can be inclusive of gender, race, sexual orientation, location, income, age, etc. Is it possible to ever be totally inclusive of all people? Or do you, at some point, have to make a decision about who belongs and who doesn't?
Anil Dash@anildash · Cofounder, ThinkUp
@davidspinks This is an interesting question! The basic answer is: inclusivity isn't a goal, it's a process and a way of working. I don't think it usually makes sense to decide who belongs or who doesn't, but rather to pursue having as many different perspectives and lived experiences as possible, and that takes the form of not just who you recruit to your team, but who you retain, and how you keep your entire team curious and motivated to keep exploring and learning about new things. In short, "inclusivity" isn't something that's measured as a percentage. It's just a process we practice every day.
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
What is the most surprising thing you have seen Glitch used for?
Anil Dash@anildash · Cofounder, ThinkUp
@bentossell I don't know if it was surprising, but certainly one of the most inspiring uses has been Tech Forward, at , which is an amazing set of community-submitted resources for civic participation. I loved watching that come together, and seeing it evolve.
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
If you had to trade lives with a Tech CEO for a week, who would it be and why?
Anil Dash@anildash · Cofounder, ThinkUp
@bentossell Hmm! Being a tech CEO myself, I don't feel _too_ much like I need to trade places with anyone, but maybe I'd swap with Jack Dorsey and see if I could have any positive impact at Twitter.
Jacqueline von Tesmar@jacqvon · Community at Product Hunt ⚡️
How important is company culture to the success of a startup?
Anil Dash@anildash · Cofounder, ThinkUp
@jacqvon To my mind, absolutely essential. But that's probably because of my definition of the word "success", which has to do with whether we're having a positive impact on the world. There are companies (ahem, Uber) which might be generating a ton of money, but whose employees or partners or communities might not feel their impact is positive. And that's attributable to their culture. I think culture is the point from which all success flows, and which defines what success even means.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Community and Marketing, Product Hunt
Hi Anil, thanks for joining us today. What are your top tips for creating an engaged online community?
Anil Dash@anildash · Cofounder, ThinkUp
@ems_hodge This is such an important question, though I don't think I could tell Product Hunt anything you don't already know! I think the most fundamental lesson is that communities are things we _design_, that the choices we make to shape them really have huge impact, and that it takes intentional, continuous effort to ensure that we create communities that reflect our values.
Niv Dror@nivo0o0 · Words @ProductHunt & @AngelList
When you were working on ThinkUp, what were the 3 most interesting insights you found for optimizing Twitter presence or reach? (3 twitter tips 😊)
Jeremy Burge@jeremyburge · Founder, Emojipedia
Hey Anil! You must get a lot of emails from people you don't know asking you to do random things. Replying seems the polite thing to do, but would be time consuming to reply to everything. How do you do it?
Anil Dash@anildash · Cofounder, ThinkUp
@jeremyburge The unfortunate but honest answer is I just drop the ball on stuff sometimes. I am not sure how to get over feeling bad about the fact that I can't personally help all the people whom I would like to. If you want to know what keeps me up at night, that's probably it.
Samuel Polat@samuelpolat · Student Creator
Any plans for the educational sector?
Anil Dash@anildash · Cofounder, ThinkUp
@samuelpolat Yes! Glitch (our community for collaboratively creating apps at ) is already being used in schools, universities and bootcamps all over the world, and by self-taught learners of all kinds, and we're going to be expanding the set of tools we provide so educators can help even more people learn to create. I'm _very_ excited about this, especially since we have a number of people on our team at Fog Creek who have been educators and care so deeply about this goal for Glitch.
Seth Williams@sethbwilliams · Designer, Product Hunt
What does success look like for you?
Anil Dash@anildash · Cofounder, ThinkUp
@sethbwilliams For me personally, it's whether I've made a meaningful impact on ensuring the systems that affect people's lives and control their access to opportunity are becoming more just, more inclusive, and more humane. That's the way I try to measure all of my work.
Jake Crump@jakecrump · Community Team with Product Hunt
What is your morning routine?
Anil Dash@anildash · Cofounder, ThinkUp
@jakecrump This is a fun one. :) I tend to get up as late as humanly possible (because I tend to stay up extremely late), then help my kid get ready for school. We ride the bus to his school every morning where I drop him off at kindergarten, then I hop on a Citibike (our bikeshare here in NYC) and ride along the East River to our Fog Creek HQ in downtown Manhattan. I'll grab a cup of tea when I settle in, and try to get some writing done before most of the rest of our team comes in to the office. I'm always inspired by seeing sun shining off the East River as I bike past the Brooklyn Bridge, and hope I never get cynical or jaded about that.
Rishi Athanikar@arishi_ · Product Manager. Cofounder of Beander.
Hi Anil, Thanks for doing the Live Chat. A two-fer. 1) On Glitch - can you tell us about the roadmap for Glitch, and is monetization of projects a part of it? 2) Prince - Which do you think is Prince's most underrated album? Thanks!
Anil Dash@anildash · Cofounder, ThinkUp
@arishi_ Hey Rishi, thanks for your questions. 1. The core things we're working on for Glitch are deeper ways to collaborate and help each other in realtime with coding, and for 2017 or primary focus for monetization is building really valuable tools for companies that offer APIs or SDKs. We think if a company has a platform that they want developers to adopt, Glitch is the tool that's most able to help developers succeed. 2. Most _underrated_ is a toughie! Might be "Art Official Age", just because it was so late in his career that people had stopped looking to see if he could make another great album.
Kunal Roy@kunalroy · Developer
What do you think of Indian Startup Market ?
Anil Dash@anildash · Cofounder, ThinkUp
@kunalroy I don't know enough to say.
Kesava Mandiga@k3sava · Curious cat. Writer. Explorer.
Glitch is a well-designed tool but it only supports the Node.js framework right now. Any plans to expand support for other frameworks in the future? Maybe Vert.x?
Anil Dash@anildash · Cofounder, ThinkUp
@k3sava Ooh, good question. Right now, we're focusing on Node.js because we can build a set of really deep features around collaboration in that environment since there's a single, consistent way to detect things like which modules or libraries you're using, or to recommend other APIs or toolkits that might be useful. We also are learning how to scale up such a powerful realtime environment (all Glitch apps can instantly push live to a production environment right as you edit your code) and want to get that exactly right before we expand. That being said, there's nothing in Glitch's architecture that keeps us from supporting Java or any other platforms in the future, so Vert.x is definitely possible — that might be a great thing to discuss in the Glitch forum, to see if others are interested!
Kesava Mandiga@k3sava · Curious cat. Writer. Explorer.
@anildash Makes sense. I was speaking to a few developer friends and everyone is all gung-ho about Node.js but we use Java for our NLP programming, so was curious if that is on the cards. Thanks!
keyul@keyul · Maker of Quick Code & Bot Stash
How do you come up with very unique name for your products e.g. trello, glitch, gomix etc. ?
Anil Dash@anildash · Cofounder, ThinkUp
@keyul Hah. This is a great question because, honestly... I haven't been great at it. The Fog Creek team created Trello years before I joined, and it went through many different names early on. (Planatee! Caardvark!) In terms of Glitch, we very publicly went through renaming it to Gomix just a few months ago, and that name ended up not working for a variety of reasons, so we had to change it. In each case, we start by asking what problems the name is supposed to solve — who are we trying to reach, what jobs does the name have to do in terms of explaining the product or evoking a feeling? And then of course there are the pragmatic concerns about whether a name is already trademarked, etc.
What is your favourite thing about being CEO?
Anil Dash@anildash · Cofounder, ThinkUp
@zackaria01 Well, I've been a CEO a few times in my career, and it varies widely between when I was doing a startup as a teenager vs. now when I'm running a well-established, highly-respected company that others founded many years ago. My favorite moments as a CEO have been the times when people who work with me feel like we were able to create an environment where they achieved more than they knew they could do.
Ayush Mittal@aymittal · bro @boombro, Founder RefR ✌
Hi Anil, Thanks for being here and having a chat with us. What do you think about the no-code movement and its scalability? Will it unlock the black box for non-tech entrepreneurs being able to build an app without coding?
Anil Dash@anildash · Cofounder, ThinkUp
@aymittal It's still early, so it's hard to say, but I think it's a matter of which domains of problems one is trying to solve. I see the fun, interactive things my 6-year-old son builds with Scratch Jr. on his iPad and I think it demonstrates both the potential of a "no-code" solution as well as the limitations that such tools tend to have. In short: I'm not sure yet, but I'm watching and learning.