Even before I moved to Austin, I met the folks from ATX Hackerspace (now Asmbly) at SXSW. When I made the move down here for good, I joined their community and co-working space.
One day, I noticed Natalie wearing a t-shirt from a startup where my roommate worked, Synesthesia. I asked her if she knew my roommate, and since the company was only five people at the time, she did.
Recognizing each other’s talents, we quickly became friends. Years later, Natalie ended up moving into our hacker house in Hyde Park (Think project room, pool, jam room, and pounds of steel in the backyard.).
We both spent time in different startup ventures; Natalie moved on to work at Senseye and I left my job at PubNub to start Haxor. At Haxor, I was conducting UX research on developers to better understand why every developer complained about docs and what we could do about it.
I noticed a similar theme in the problems that came to light. Developers struggled with communicating their issues when they needed help. There’s too much information required to provide context, and developers have too little time–and patience.
I started to prototype screen recording tools that developers could use to provide feedback to the teams responsible for managing APIs and SDKs. Eventually, I found that the most valuable thing we could do for those teams was to provide them with a short “instant replay” every time they had bugs or wanted to submit feedback. The teams didn’t have time to watch hour(s)-long screen recordings, but instant replay provided just enough context about what the developers were doing.
After testing this software with more than 250 developers, and getting positive feedback from pretty much everyone, I knew there had to be a better application than UX testing. That’s when I asked Nat to come aboard.
And since we had already lived together and worked on a dozen projects together, we knew we’d make a great team. Nat had also been there through the first years of Haxor, and she’d frequently been the only person I’d talk to IRL the entire day. Natalie was a free agent, though now in Portland, and was looking for the next thing.
When I made the pitch to Natalie, she immediately understood the problem. “Both of us believe in the core tenant of documentation as the lynchpin of development,” is something I grabbed from an early call.
With everyone going remote, there was much higher interest in documentation and remote communication.
“We’re being forced to move into this async remote mindset as a culture. And that is the mindset in which this product is the most useful” she said.
Together we want to bring the benefits of Replayable to every developers’ desktop as part of their everyday workflow regardless of where–and when–they work. Developers hate repeating themselves, and they hate breaking their flow. Replayable lets developers open bugs, close pulls, and create documentation faster by capturing video of their workday. We think that Replayable can help developers become more productive, learn, and empathize with one another.