Anil Dash

Anil Dash

CEO of Fog Creek Software, creators of Glitch

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON May 02, 2017

Discussion

Anil Dash
Anil Dash@anildash · CEO, Glitch
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 https://glitch.com/ and join our community that'll help you make the app of your dreams.
Ryan Hoover
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
Anil Dash@anildash · CEO, Glitch
@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. https://medium.com/make-better-s...
Kiki Schirr / 史秀玉
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
Anil Dash@anildash · CEO, Glitch
@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
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@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. https://www.producthunt.com/post...
David Spinks
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
Anil Dash@anildash · CEO, Glitch
@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
Ben Tossell@bentossell · Makerpad.co
What is the most surprising thing you have seen Glitch used for?
Anil Dash
Anil Dash@anildash · CEO, Glitch
@bentossell I don't know if it was surprising, but certainly one of the most inspiring uses has been Tech Forward, at http://tech-forward.com , which is an amazing set of community-submitted resources for civic participation. I loved watching that come together, and seeing it evolve.
Ben Tossell
Ben Tossell@bentossell · Makerpad.co
If you had to trade lives with a Tech CEO for a week, who would it be and why?
Anil Dash
Anil Dash@anildash · CEO, Glitch
@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
Jacqueline von Tesmar@jacqvon · Community at Product Hunt ⚡️
How important is company culture to the success of a startup?
Anil Dash
Anil Dash@anildash · CEO, Glitch
@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 Snowdon (née Hodgins)
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)@emilyjsnowdon · Operations @ Product Hunt
Hi Anil, thanks for joining us today. What are your top tips for creating an engaged online community?
Anil Dash
Anil Dash@anildash · CEO, Glitch
@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
Niv Dror@nivo0o0 · VC at Shrug Capital
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
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
Anil Dash@anildash · CEO, Glitch
@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
Samuel Polat@samuelpolat · Student Creator
Any plans for the educational sector?
Anil Dash
Anil Dash@anildash · CEO, Glitch
@samuelpolat Yes! Glitch (our community for collaboratively creating apps at glitch.com ) 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
Seth Williams@sethbwilliams · Designer, Product Hunt
What does success look like for you?
Anil Dash
Anil Dash@anildash · CEO, Glitch
@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
Jake Crump@jakecrump · Community Team with Product Hunt
What is your morning routine?
Anil Dash
Anil Dash@anildash · CEO, Glitch
@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
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
Anil Dash@anildash · CEO, Glitch
@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
Kunal Roy@kunalroy · Developer
What do you think of Indian Startup Market ?
Anil Dash
Anil Dash@anildash · CEO, Glitch
@kunalroy I don't know enough to say.
Kesava Mandiga
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
Anil Dash@anildash · CEO, Glitch
@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
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@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
Anil Dash@anildash · CEO, Glitch
@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.
Zakaria
Zakaria@zackaria01
What is your favourite thing about being CEO?
Anil Dash
Anil Dash@anildash · CEO, Glitch
@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
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
Anil Dash@anildash · CEO, Glitch
@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.
Theoharis Dimarhos
Theoharis Dimarhos@theo_dimarhos · Marketing+Biz Dev at AngelouEconomics
Hey Anil! Who are some non-technical/business people in tech that you find remarkable? What skills make them stars?
Anil Dash
Anil Dash@anildash · CEO, Glitch
@theo_dimarhos I'm still struggling with this question because there's nobody I think of as "non-technical". Technical isn't something you just "are", it's more of whether one is curious about tech, and every good person in tech is, if you follow what I mean.
Victoriia Svyrydiuk
Victoriia Svyrydiuk@victoriia_svyrydiuk · Project Manager, Copywriter
Will it be from a practical side with some tips or in the form of lecture?
Ronke O.
Ronke O.@ronke1127 · vc
1) How are your favorite tech and non-tech people to follow on twitter? 2) For anyone interested in becoming a developer, what language would you recommend starting with and why? Thanks for doing this!
Anil Dash
Anil Dash@anildash · CEO, Glitch
@ronke1127 I posted a list of people to follow on Twitter, and think these are all still great suggestions: https://twitter.com/anildash/sta... To start today, I'd probably suggest Node.js just because the infrastructure and ecosystem offer a ton of opportunities, and especially because I think Glitch.com will be a big part of making it the best environment for learning to code in a modern way.
Jeremy Burge
Jeremy Burge@jeremyburge · Founder, Emojipedia
Which is better: 😂 or 🤣?
Anil Dash
Anil Dash@anildash · CEO, Glitch
@jeremyburge I gotta go 🤣 just because it's newer and its expressivity is still being worked out. Honorable mention to 🎏, which we've adopted for Glitch! (And everybody check out Jeremy's upcoming PH Live chat!)
Sidharth
Sidharth @thekkepat
What app would Prince have coded up on glitch?
Anil Dash
Anil Dash@anildash · CEO, Glitch
@thekkepat Prince was really great at programming drum computers like the Linn LM-1, so I have to imagine he could have made an amazing tool for creating rhythms. Maybe taking advantage of the Web Audio API?
Lubin Bisson
Lubin Bisson@qzedia · Qzedia Media
Did you live in Montreal for a time?
Anil Dash
Anil Dash@anildash · CEO, Glitch
@qzedia Nope! Unless you count visiting for a weekend?
Living Online Lab
Living Online Lab@livingonlinelab
Dear Anil, I applaud your initiative. I am the founder and director of Living Online Lab, a nonprofit dedicated to teaching Internet Studies in schools. Online ethics and empathy are topics that we dedicate a lot of time to examining and discussing with students. I would like to talk to you about adding the tech industry perspective to this discussion as well, and invite you to check out our curriculum here: www.livingonlinelab.org Thank you, Reuben
jacilyn
jacilyn@jacilynh · Civil engineer, developer, entreprenuer
(Question inspired by one of your answers in this chat) You have an enthusiasm for life, diversity, and tech that is inspiring. How do you avoid becoming cynical or jaded?
Anil Dash
Anil Dash@anildash · CEO, Glitch
@jacilynh I find a lot of inspiration in history and art. For example, a lot of my entry point for understanding history, especially in the context of social justice, has been in trying to understand the legacy of my family's work on independence in India, including my great-grandfather's marching with Gandhi. That connects directly into my views on the rights and obligations of people of South Asian descent in the U.S. Similarly, a lot of people know that I'm a huge fan of Prince and his music, and just as much as I love the artistic expression in his work, I was deeply inspired by his decades-long effort to reform the music industry, and his successes in that effort help keep me motivated in trying to push the tech industry forward. More than anything, my wife Alaina Browne is just such an uncompromisingly thoughtful and smart force pushing for justice (and for a life well-lived!) that I can't help but be inspired on a daily basis.
Adam Marx
Adam Marx@adammarx13 · Freelance writer/editor and music addict
Hey Anil, thanks for taking some time today! So much of what we hear about in tech and startups has to do with networking and relationships. Other than a warm intro from someone you know, what draws you to a particular person where you might say to yourself, "this person may not be pitching me anything specific right now, but I just need to get to know them and be around them"?
Anil Dash
Anil Dash@anildash · CEO, Glitch
@adammarx13 Hmm, this is a tricky one. A lot of times I just try to ask people's background, and to get a sense of what obstacles they've faced on the way to reaching out. If I hear from people who aren't born with all of the advantages in the world but are still really trying to achieve something, I'll usually prioritize reaching out to them to help if I can.
Adam Marx
Adam Marx@adammarx13 · Freelance writer/editor and music addict
@anildash Thanks Anil, that makes a lot of sense. I too think taking stock of someone's potential obstacles in reaching out is a great way of gauging part of their personality. Great thoughts and answer!
Guy Gamzu
Guy Gamzu@guygamzu
Hi Anil, I wonder - what's your take on the future of email? Say in 5 years - will it be the same, as marginal as snail mail, will it transform to something that resembles messaging?
Anil Dash
Anil Dash@anildash · CEO, Glitch
@guygamzu It's hard to say with any specificity, but people have been predicting a radical change to email for my whole life, and except for the volume of messages going up or down, not much else fundamentally changes.
Guy Gamzu
Guy Gamzu@guygamzu
@anildash thank you! So your bet is that it will remain the same?
Jeremy Bauer
Jeremy Bauer@barnabybones · Writer + Arts Instructional Designer
Would you recommend using Glitch to build a free, open online course? Have you seen people build full, standalone courses in Glitch?
Anil Dash
Anil Dash@anildash · CEO, Glitch
@barnabybones Yes! Definitely. It's been really inspiring to watch some of the examples that educators have created. Do be sure to share whatever you create; we're getting ready to build a community for teachers, educators and instructors to share best practices and techniques.
Jeremy Bauer
Jeremy Bauer@barnabybones · Writer + Arts Instructional Designer
@anildash Aw, that's wonderful! Very exciting. Can't wait to see it!