This week I had the pleasure of talking to Luke Oslizlo, a maker who grabbed a lot of people’s attention (and money) by co-creating Mac OS design apps like PixelSnap which allows you to instantly measure objects on your computer screen. Along with his friend Pawel they have also made CleanShot which lets you take a clear screen-grab of your Mac. I chatted with him over Telegram to discuss how he taught himself to code, tips for newbies and how he creates apps with his friend.
Can you give us a brief introduction ?
Hey! I'm a 20 year old developer living in Poland. Last year I finished high school and that was the end of my formal education. Together with a friend I run a company making macOS apps like PixelSnap or CleanShot.
Since you're 20, how did you get into coding so quickly?
I started pretty early! If I recall correctly, my journey with coding began when I was 11 years old. I was always fascinated with computers and how it all works and I guess it was a natural step for me to start with some simple HTML coding. So I started reading some online tutorials about it and I was just having fun while doing my first websites (to be honest, super ugly 😂).
You have released lots of products like iLend to keep track of lending things to friends, as well as PixelSnap and CleanShot. How do you get so much done?
From the outside, it might look like I'm super productive, but that's not always the case. However, I've been working with Pawel for so long, that it's natural for us to work together and I believe that's what helps us push projects faster. Setting deadlines (even if it's your own project) and having a work schedule definitely helps with finishing things.
How was it making the iLend phone app vs making a web app?
Although iLend might seem like a native app, it's actually made in Vue.js and then turned into an app using PhoneGap. We decided on this because we also wanted to launch it on Android and it made it easier. Unfortunately, we abandoned the project for now because the Mac apps took priority. If anyone reading this would be up for discussing taking over this app, feel free to contact me.
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I was really impressed with PixelSnap, with both the launch video and sales being very successful. How did you go about making it? Can you reveal revenue from it?
PixelSnap was born because we noticed that there was a big need for such an app. A lot of developers and designers were using Mac's screenshot utility to measure things on the screen and that's not really the fastest way to do it. 😆
So we made a simple MVP, tweeted a video of it, shared it on WIP and received tons of awesome feedback! A few months later we had a fully working app ready to be released. We also made the promotional video ourselves. Speaking about revenue, I guess it's no secret to say that we're coming close to crossing the $100k mark.
I know you work with another programmer to work on your MakeTheWeb projects. Was there any reason you decided to team up rather than doing the solo founder thing?
I've known Pawel since I was 9 years old so pretty much for my whole coding career! Before we started our own company, we were making a lot of projects for fun and we learned to work together. The company was just a next step and I'm really grateful to have such a co-founder. It has a lot of advantages, like constantly motivating each other or discussing decisions together which makes them more thought through.
What advice would you give a newbie who is just starting out with coding?
Do not start by trying to learn everything and waiting to build actual products until you are "ready". Spoiler: you will never be fully ready. I believe the best way to learn is to start creating and launching things. Even if they don’t seem perfect, with every project your skill level will rise and eventually you will become a good developer.
Have you ever done any bootcamps or online courses or did you just learn by making products?
No, I haven't done any specific bootcamps or courses. I mostly learn by making products and googling stuff. Although, it's nice to watch a quick tutorial while picking up a new technology to work with.
What are your plans for the future? Any cool new products coming up?
We've decided to fully focus on macOS apps so probably another app in the more distant future. Now, since we have a holiday period, I would like to work on some kind of fun game. We've been experimenting a bit with Apple's ARKit so maybe something in this direction. Personally, I also love doing DIY projects and recently started building a DIY cocktail machine. I will be posting the progress on my Twitter if anyone is interested!