Adam Pietrasiak

Something that works for you will not work for me or will not work “yet” or “anymore”

March 23, 2023

In the web development world, you have the full package: Full stack typescript developer and UI/UX Designer. What came first and what is your favorite? Can you tell me a bit how your background?

Being able to both code and design often gave me a big advantage.

I think when I started creating websites (I was 13 years old), I was not even aware coding and design are separate things.

I also like design because of how easily I’m annoyed by badly designed everyday objects. Those can really ruin my mood. 

I’m not sure I’d be able to pick one. Coding is more natural for me. I don’t remember the last timeI did not know how to code something or was not able to quickly learn it. It is not the case with design tools. On the other hand, knowing I create something beautiful is a fundamental source of motivation while I do write code. If I’d be coding ugly things, I’d probably regret my life choices.

Why did you decide to start creating your own products and leave a steady job?

In the end I think it comes down to a mixture of two (or three) things: I’m introvert; I’m creative; as introvert I really struggle to “sell” my vision to confident, loud  and challenging people.

My favorite style of working is disappearing for 5 days and entering my “cave”. In order for this to work while being part of the team, you need a lot of trust. I believe my style of working became a teamwork win-win recently (~2 years). People started to notice I delivered amazing results after disappearing and I had a lot of creative freedom both in terms of coding and design.

Also, believing in what I create is a fundamental thing for me. As a creative person I always have plenty of ideas; and our own ideas are always the easiest to believe in.

Your first product ( Timpler ) almost break your productivity and mental health. How is Timple now?

(Read here a blog post of Adam where the focus on mental health while building Timple)

Timpler is an app that manages your TODO’s, habits, and calendar events in one place.

It is doing OK. Still having ~4,7+ average rating on the app store. Still having new users (tho retention is almost always falling to 0-2% after 1-2 months). I still receive emails from the users telling it helped them or requesting new features.

The thing is I really can’t even look at it without feeling hard emotions. I’ve lost literally years of my life creating it without a solid plan, listening to the users or having any idea about making money out of it. It was also painful for people around me, especially my wife.

That was a hard, but important lesson. It was Timpler that gave me a punch in the face so I realized I need to be honest with myself about my ideas in order to be successful.

Did you start taking more attention to your mental health? Any tips you can share?

I did and I still do. For a few years already I've been attending therapy which I think was one of the best decisions of my life. It helped me to fundamentally figure out what is actually happening in my head in so many areas. 

 I’m also way more careful about “early warnings” my body and mind are sending me when something starts to go wrong. I try to take those very seriously and act instantly and firmly. I was ignoring it before and it did not end well.

I’m not sure I have some obvious tips to share. I think I can confidently say: never be romantic about your product ideas. If you’re the only one believing in your idea, you’re probably taking a huge risk of wasting a lot of your time in a very romantic way.

In Screen studio, from the roadmap, it seems that you are really certain about what you want, why, and when. What helps you be more productive?

That’s true. I’m pretty certain about those, but your question made me realize I’m not really sure why. Maybe the kind of product like Screen Studio is quite straightforward in terms of what it is doing and what it should be doing in the future. In the end it is simply a screen recorder, not a dog’s social media.

Another thing is that after gaining initial traction, you receive a lot of feedback (especially if your product is not free) so you intuitively start to notice some patterns of what is missing.

Screen studio - Why you decided to build, what was the hitch you were trying to scratch?

Screen Studio allows you to create beautiful screen recordings in minutes.

There are two parts about the idea and executing it.

One is - I took a long (2 years) break from creating products after failure with Timpler. 

As I said before, I decided that my next product has to have reasonably small MVP scope, has to make money in an obvious way and has to make money or save users the time in an obvious way. That was the core rule even before I had the Screen Studio idea. I was very confident I’ll either find an idea that clicks with the above or I’ll not go for it.

The first spark came to my mind out of frustration. When working at startups, we often needed demo videos for landing pages, changelogs or help docs. We often outsourced it, but it was expensive and our UI was changing so quickly those videos were outdated in a few months.

Then one day I visited Stripe’s Twitter profile and noticed their beautiful product videos. I started to analyze them almost frame by frame thinking “how much of it could be automated without compromising the quality”.

Then I wrote “screen” in Google Domains, and noticed “” was free - I had the name (I never start working on a project without knowing how to name it) and I was ready for doing it again.

I did not perform some deep research, market analysis and so on. I went for it intuitively. But I have to say I trusted my intuition a lot this time. I also trusted I would be able to say “stop” quickly if I’d noticed fundamental problems I was not aware of before.

Why you decided to have no free version on Screen studio?

There are plenty of reasons for that:

If your product is paid (and expensive) - you’ll receive A LOT of feedback from users who need or miss some feature or face some bug. And you better have a good answer to those messages.  If your product is free, they’ll likely just go away and you’ll learn nothing.

It is always easier to reduce your price or to make it free(mium) at some point than to increase it or switch from free to paid. I thought at worst I will simply consider other options later. And in the end the only change was actually increasing the price.

Also, if your product is free and you have 1000 of users, you don’t really know if your business is validated or not. It might happen you’ll have 5 or 0 users left the moment you introduce pricing.

So I think it was an optimization from my previous learnings. I was not very attached to it, but I knew I would learn way more and be way more motivated if I started with a paid version from the start.

What are the business models for your products?

It is a tricky question as we’re now considering switching to the subscription model.

In general I think Studio’s business model reflects the value it delivers. It is possible someone will only use it once ever (eg. for landing page video) and it’ll already pay-off its price with a big margin. Because of that there is no monthly plan as I think it would make Studio way underpriced for those use cases.

Currently the model is - you get a forever license with 1 year of updates. I think we’ll consider yearly subscriptions instead because it’ll simplify the architecture around it (right now we’ll have to detect which is the last update each user can get, etc)

What about marketing strategies?

Currently I can mostly speak about Twitter, as it is the main source of traffic and marketing.

I don’t have a well established strategy. I think I have a set of principles. 

If you’ll not enjoy it - it will not work. Try to enjoy it. Build momentum and enjoy building it.

Be honest. Be real. Share your feelings - remember that people don’t know about things you don’t say - if you struggle with something, say you struggle, if you’re anxious, say about it, if you’re proud, say it as well, and so on. 

Throw “bait” or shady strategies out of the window now. Or in other words - only do the things you’ll be proud to tell your grandchildren about when they’ll ask about your career.

Also, be very careful when comparing yourself to others. If you have 100 followers, don’t compare the frequency of your posts with someone having 10k followers. We’re on dopamine high. We’re social creatures. We naturally want to do more of the things that did give us a “social win”. If each of my posts in the past 5 months did get at least 20 likes (and sometimes 500) it will be naturally easier for me to motivate myself to write another post. I did not feel that natural urge to write on Twitter before gaining traction.

What worked for me initially was treating Twitter posting as “closing my work day”. Every day I was announcing my progress, learnings and mistakes. It was often getting 0 likes, but was still satisfying to do as it made me a bit proud of myself as I could quickly see where I was a few days ago.

From the idea to the first beta version, how long you took?

It took around 2 months to create the first functional version.

Some context is needed here, however. 

I “carry” a lot of the code with me from project to project. I’m quite nerdy in terms of creating reusable and abstract code that can be easily used in a totally different project.

Another part is that people started to purchase Screen Studio even before it was released, which gave me a huge boost of motivation to finish MVP quickly. It also made it easier to cut some corners and avoid perfectionism which I’d likely tend to fall into if there was no external pressure.

Is the screen studio yours to keep or do you plan in the future build something else and flip it?

Hard to answer. I often say to myself “even if Screen Studio disappears tomorrow, it was a huge success that already changed my life - I’ll be ok with it if this happens”. I think this gives me quite a good perspective and guards me from the trap of “always wanting more”. 

I’m a bit scared of the scale growing, having less and less time to code and design. Yet,  I also deeply enjoy the process of scaling up. A lot of mixed experiences, gains and losses without clear answers.I

n the end, what excites me is creating beautiful things. This is what I love doing and Screen Studio makes it way more likely I’ll be able to do this for the rest of my career.  

In some weird way I’m not deeply attached to Studio. I’m more attached to being proud about the way I executed it initially and how we execute it now with our small team. I’d like this to stay for sure. If the scale of it will make it 3x more stressful, it is possible my heart will start to whisper some new ideas into my awareness. But I don’t expect fundamental changes for at least a year or two.

Favorite tool and why?

VS Code - I have used this code editor for years. I deeply enjoy it. I built half of my career on it.

Word of advice

Good advice is the one that is actually used by the receiver. We’re all very different people. Something that works for you  will not work for me or will not work “yet” or “anymore”. Remember about this both when you give and receive advice.

Very often when you hear advice, you actually hear someone’s nostalgia about their life and mistakes they made. It might have nothing to do with your current situation, but is still worth attention and respect.

One book, one person to follow on Twitter, and one music? 

Lord of the Rings, @StelfieTT , Vienna by Billy Joel

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