After a lot of feedback received that mentioned pricing, I've decided to pull the trigger and switch API Bakery to freemium.
The reason is that, due to a lot of free / open source tools that work similar to API Bakery, there is an expectation that at least the basic functionality is free.
Since the long-term plan is to build a lot more power into the system, there will be many reasons to subscribe to premium version. For now, the focus will be on growing the user-base.
It's easy to explain but hard to "see" what API Bakery does without signing up for a free trial.
Although we don't capture credit cards at this point, some people are still reluctant to go through the sign-up process without having even seen what the product does.
To work around this reluctance, from today, people can start the project builder in a "demo" mode without signing up. They can play around and build projects (for Django and Node), preview the resulting code, and only sign up (for the same free trial) once they see it in action.
Let's see if this improves visitors → trials conversion ...
I've always planned API Bakery to support multiple frameworks, but started with the one I know best - Django.
After a few months in development, today I launched NodeJS support! Now you can start Node projects the same way, and with the same speed, as Django ones.
This also widens the potential customer base so I can now spend more time on getting the word out, getting feedback in, and then improving both the tool and the sales/marketing approach.
I got my first paying customer a few days ago!
The person already knew about API Bakery from earlier discussion (on Reddit) and express interest in using it. Soon after launch, they signed up, subscribed and provided a ton of valuable positive feedback.
One user doesn't sound like much, but first few users are hardest to get. The ball is slowly starting to roll...
I knew I had competition even before I started API Bakery. After all, users already have some way of accomplishing their goal.
In the ten days after the public 1.0 launch (see earlier post), I found out about several more. The first one was kind of a shocker:
Then I found about a few more. Not competing product, but open source software accomplishing pretty much the same thing.
With each, I learn more about the "lay of the land" and think through what my unique value proposition is. After all, if I don't know about anyone else doing the same thing, how do I know what's unique about my value proposition?
Here's to more competition!
So, last year was brutal - for everyone on the planet. Among other things, for me it meant a pause on API Bakery plans, so I finally picked it back up this spring and started working towards launch.
While the core of the product (the value add) is mostly unchanged, there was a lot of work to be done on the edges - stuff like user accounts, subscriptions, payments integration, etc, as well as thinking through marketing strategy for the first few months.
So finally, most of the bricks were laid out last week and I pulled the trigger on the newletter email (34 strong! :-) to announce it. So it's not a big, splashy launch, and that's intentional.
My expectations for the launch are modest. I hope to get feedback from at least several potential users, to see if the path I'm currently on matches what their pain points are, and adapt the direction based on what they tell me.
I'm also (slowly) working on the content marketing front. The aim is to slowly get the ball rolling in both audience and visits.
For the next few months, I'll be focusing on speaking with users, finding new users and adjusting what I already have based on what I hear. I do have some plans on the todo list, but I don't plan on starting any grand undertakings until I have more sense of direction based on the feedback I (hope to) receive.
With that said, I encourage anyone looking for low-code API solutions to visit the project and try it out, or just watch the intro/tour videos to get a gist of it. Any feedback is welcome!
The Show HN from a few days ago was quickly buried under new submissions. Although it did get a few upvotes in the end, it was too slow to reach the front page, so the reach was pretty limited - I'll probably resubmit in a couple of weeks.
Still, it was on Show HN page for two days, I got a few visits and about 30 new projects created, and one insightful comment/suggestion.
Yesterday I posted it to /r/django. It's a smaller, more focused community, with less content so more chance to stay visible longer. I got a decent uptake there, some great comments, about 40 new projects created, and some bugs discovered :)
So far, the results are as can be expected (though I had hoped for more feedback from the HN community). Since the project is public now, I expect to get a (very) small amount of traffic, comments and bug alerts as I go along updating it to the full SaaS version, to be released some time in January if everything goes as planned.
I just posted a Show HN (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21681727) with a few details about the project.
Hoping to get some feedback (and newsletter signups) from a larger group of developers and potential users! HN is a pretty big and technical crowd, with Python and Django being popular so I figured it's a good next step in launching the product.
Ahead of the launch next week, I've shared a link to the project to a small local developer group on Facebook to test the waters. Got around 15 likes (higher than average group activity - it's a very small group), a few shares, about 10 test projects created and a newsletter signup! And, crucially, no errors :-)
Last checks done, I'll probably launch on HN and tech-specific subreddits next week and see how it goes from there.
After a few months of on-and-off development, the MVP is ready! We still have major things missing - actual user signup, billing and related features.
However the core product is usable and will be free to use during the "beta" (until billing is up & running :) So it should be enough to gauge general interest and gather useful feedback.
I plan to "launch" it on places where I'm most likely to get feedback (HN, relevant reddits) while I keep busy finishing the remaining bits. I've got a newsletter subscription form set up, so I'll be able to follow up with interested people.
Not expecting much for the first launch. I'd be happy with a few newsletter signups and a dozen or so constructive feedback comments, just to see if I'm on the right track.
In it for the long haul!
API Bakery speeds up project setup time, freeing the developers to immediately start working on code that adds value to the project.