How we won’t screw up Glitch

Last week, we launched Glitch, to a wonderful response from our community. Here’s how we’re thinking about ways to keep from messing up what you love.

Look at all the pretty colors!

Glitch is the friendly community where you’re going to make the app of your dreams. And that community is amazing —with everyone from independent digital artists to the most innovative companies in tech all showing up to share their creations. Yay!

Usually, at this point, companies like to get people excited by sharing their roadmap of the features they have planned. But honestly, Glitch users are smart and can probably figure out a lot of the stuff we’re working on. Instead, we’d rather emphasize how we’re going to try to be worthy of your trust.

  • No lock-in. We use totally standard infrastructure for Glitch, including regular old Node.js, and normal JavaScript for your code. You can export all of your code to GitHub with a click, or download a zip file of your code instantly at any time. And it’s gonna stay that way. The key thing that we think will keep you using Glitch is by your deep emotional connection to your fellow members of the community. And that’s not lock-in, that’s love! Aww. ❤️
  • We’re not gonna take features away from you and then start charging for them. This is one of those tricky things that a lot of companies do when they start building a business model for their product — they ask, “what would people pay for?” And then they realize… oh crap, the stuff people want to pay for is already offered for free. We’ve thought about this pretty carefully so we’ll be able to support our current features going forward. (It doesn’t cost much for us to run your Glitch app, and that cost is going down each month. No biggie.)
  • When we do start charging for stuff, we’ll check with you first. We imagine we’ll add some paid features on top of what Glitch has now (maybe domain names? Everybody loves mapping domain names!) and when we do, we’ll let you know they’re coming, plus get your feedback on what you think is fair and reasonable pricing. Because we want you to be happy to pay for these valuable features!
  • We won’t let a bunch of jerks take over the community. Ugh, this one is so annoying. Usually, when a company is trying to grow a community, they’ll let just about anybody in because they’re desperate to show growth, and that inevitably means opening the door to some small number of jerks, who then ruin the whole site for everybody. Instead of doing that foolish thing, we’re going to grow Glitch steadily and deliberately, with tons of room for new folks, but a lot of thought put into preventing abuse and harassment. I can’t guarantee we’ll get it perfect, but honestly the thought of working every day to build something that’s mostly used by jerks would be awful, so we’re not gonna do it. And honestly, Glitch is growing pretty quickly because it’s friendly, so hooray for nice people.
  • We want your fun and weird and “not serious” stuff on Glitch, too. While we’re ecstatic to feature Serious Tools from incredible companies like Slack on Glitch, we think your artsy or silly or deeply personal projects are vital to the community, too. The same people who spend their day building a complex API integration on top of Glitch’s tools will come home and collaborate on a generative poetry project at night, and that’s exactly what we’re designing for. So don’t feel embarrassed to show all your many facets here; that’s what our own team does, too.
  • No April Fools Jokes. We plan to be mildly funny and confusing every other day of the year, instead.

We hope it’s crystal clear that we’re serious about making Glitch a great community for the long haul. Honestly, Glitch already offers a bunch of features that no other platform has put together before, but we’re not getting complacent about it — there is a lot more to come. And as we dive into building out Glitch’s future, we’re asking you to help us with two things:

  1. Keep us honest. If you see us on a path to screwing up, or breaking the general principles we’ve outlined here, let us know. We’ll try to get it right. We follow the conversation on social media and on our forum really closely, so just mention @Glitch and we’ll hear you.
  • Tell your friends. We don’t have a huge marketing budget (Fog Creek is still a small, independent, self-funded company!) so the biggest way you can help is to let other people know that Glitch is something special. We can’t wait to see what you create together. :)

Alright, now that you know where we’re headed, go explore Glitch and make something great!

Like what you read? Give Anil Dash a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.