Our interview with Craftbox, makers of an app that launched in the Windows Store on October 16, 2012, introduces you to the mind behind one of the latest apps that makes full use of Windows 8 and its almost cinema-like presentation on devices, especially the Surface.
According to Eduardo Costa, co-founder, "We seek to work with an approach that is simple and highly visible [to the customer], because only then can we be 100% transparent and work honestly. Thus, we have the effective participation of our customers to reach the goal of each project."
The company's latest creation, Movie ShowTime, let's movie lovers browse movies playing in their area, read movie plot descriptions, and even view the movie’s preview trailer. This app serves as a central location for everything a potential movie viewer need to know before going to see a movie. They are trying to eliminate the clunky experience of searching for movie information, like finding movie times or ratings and tickets, which often require searching on multiple places on the web and muddling through annoying ads.
The interface is easy to use. Put in the location where you want to see movie listings, then tap or click on the movie covers. Tapping or clicking on a movie cover pulls up a detailed record of that movie, including movie length, rating, plot summary, and movie trailer. Pretty straightforward. Navigation is intuitive for the most part. If there is something that isn’t totally clear, the app gives instructions for what does what.
Let's get into some of the thinking behind this team.
Name of Windows 8 App: Movie Showtime
Do you build for scale first, or for revenue? How are those things related in your mind?
We create our products in order to reach the largest possible number of users. Because we believe that our revenues will increase proportionally to the number of users satisfied with our solutions.
Do you make reasonable predictions about how you are going to achieve revenue and then test them out, or do you start with a business model and deploy it, to see if it brings in revenue?
We don’t like the traditional business models that try to predict all the results that can be achieved before testing them. Our model is to test our ideas without even knowing whether we make a profit or not.
What questions do you think a startup non-technical founder needs to answer when considering a cloud architecture for his or her startup, and I am thinking specifically here during the business model generation period?
Are you looking for scale, cost variablity and high availability?
What questions do you and your technical co-founder / engineering team feel are the most important to solve about the business aspects of your company?
On which platforms or devices our solution would work best?
How to decrease the cost of making our solution scalable?
Where do you include technical members of your team during the building of your business plan?
Our model of work includes technical and non-technical members across business modeling, as we believe that people should be excellent technicians in a startup like ours.
How much of what you are building is based on leaving a legacy and how much of it is based on technical challenges, or the ability to make something just for fun? In other words, where do you fall on the seriousness scale? For fun, for profit, for life?
We believe the best work is done when there is no difference between fun, learning and work. As for profit, we believe that it is the consequence of performing successive jobs well done.
When did you decide that you were “startup material”?
After so many learnings come from years of experience with software development we realized that we needed to get out of our comfort zone and pursue a dream. The dream of doing the right thing, be honest and be proud of a job well done. So, we created the Craftbox, a company without managers and people who are responsible for the success.
What impact or legacy do you hope to make in the market and in the business world?
We want to show that it is possible a successful company without "managers" where people have fun and make money as a result. And create a trend where transparency is the basis of business and that the excellence of the results is the basis of everything.
What are some of the challenges you face as a founder or developer at a startup, when it comes to dealing with family life, or socially? Does working on a startup change the way you associate and interact in these areas?
We created our business just with the goal of having a better quality of life. In other words, we create successful products without giving up the pleasures of life. Therefore we seek to create scaleable cloud products that can be developed anywhere.
What characteristics do you possess that make you an entrepreneur? What makes your startup a startup?
We believe it is the hunger for innovation and willingness to do good things for people before thinking about the profitability of businesses.
Obligatory questions that assist us in marketing
Can you describe the relationship that you have had with Microsoft in building your startup?
The Microsoft was crucial for the development of our solutions, providing an excellent UX for users with Windows 8 which helped a lot that our solutions have a visual appeal that greatly pleased the users. The Biz’Spark program also was instrumental in enabling our solution, providing hours in azure likely would hamper our development if we had to pay for it.
Why would an entrepreneur turn to Microsoft for help in building scale, a team, or using software?
The integration of products made by Microsoft facilitate the development of solutions to scale in the cloud published in Windows 8 or Windows Phone, even a publishing website with great ease and transparency.
Tell us about your Azure based solution.
Our solution uses two products azure, cloud services as a way to provide data for our app and mobile services as a way to store the data generated by apps.
How is Azure implemented in your solution?
We use Azure to host our REST API in a cloud services and we can provide support to over 120,000 users making calls to our API.
We also use the mobile services that provides a complete solution and great performance for data that are generated by users on our apps.
How did you get excited about Azure?
We are very pleased with the solutions of Azure. Because our users are increasing and our app continues with optimal performance even with thousands of simultaneous requests. Besides the easy way to develop and scale our services without any extra work.
What were the Azure features that prompted you to decide to build on Azure?
Being able to publish our services on a dedicated server where we have total control of what we do in a scalable and inexpensive thanks to BizSpark was very important to choose the Azure.
What advice do you have for companies that are thinking about building in the cloud?
There are few reasons to not use cloud services, regardless of the size of the solution. Even if your need for scale is not high today, in the future you may need.