A downturn is the perfect time to start a startup
May 23, 2022–
Tech is going through a steep market correction right now. Companies are doing layoffs. Y Combinator published a letter to their founders telling them how to prepare for tough times ahead [https://twitter.com/refsrc/status/1527238287471292417]. Counterintuitively, this is a great time to start a new company–even better than in 2021 when tech was red-hot. I have friends who were considering starting a company this year, but are now feeling a bit skittish. This is the exact opposite of how you s
May 27, 2022
Changelog 5/27/22: Execute sub-tasks with the Node SDK, rerun entire sessions, and new Learn page
This week we rolled out the ability to execute sub-tasks with our Node SDK, made it easier to rerun entire sessions, and released a new Learn page. Read more
Cron versus anacron - understanding the differencesMay 22, 2022–Madhura KumarIn this article we'll introduce cron and anacron, explore their similarities and differences, and walk through how to implement each.
How to evaluate startup offers in a downturnMay 18, 2022–Ravi ParikhIt feels like a precarious time to join a tech startup. In the last few months, public market valuations of companies have come way down. The Bessemer cloud index [https://cloudindex.bvp.com/], which tracks average public SaaS company prices, shows that the total market cap of SaaS companies has been cut by more than half in the last few months. This has been going on for a few months, but in the last few weeks, reality seems to have hit startups all at once–the funding market has basically drie
Top reasons your cron job isn’t runningMay 18, 2022–Madhura KumarThis article walks through the most common reasons why your cron job isn't running: schedule errors, environmental changes, depleted resources, and overlapping jobs. We’ll also share some additional troubleshooting tips along with code samples to help get your cron jobs back up and running.
Docker cron jobs: how to run cron inside containersMay 12, 2022–Madhura KumarThere are a couple of ways you can create scheduled tasks in Docker using cron. In this article we'll walk through using the host's crontab, using cron within your containers, and separating cron from your application’s services. We'll also discuss scheduling tasks with Kubernetes.
Don't accidentally mislead yourself with graphsMay 10, 2022–Ravi ParikhRecently, I was looking at this graph of the number of weekly active users using Airplane [https://www.airplane.dev/] each week over the last few months of 2021: Y-axis omitted intentionallyTo me, it looks like boring, linear growth. We're adding roughly the same amount of new active users each week. But this was really surprising to me. I knew for a fact that we had a big inflection point in growth towards the end of September when a blog post of ours [https://blog.airplane.dev/i-started-a-sa
Feature toggles: tips, best practices, and implementationMay 3, 2022–Madhura KumarIn this article, we'll walk through the basics of feature toggles, some best practices when using them, and show you an example of how to manage feature flags with ease using Airplane, a developer tool for building internal apps.
Intro to cron and editing your crontab scheduleApr 25, 2022–Madhura KumarIn this article we'll walk through how to schedule recurring tasks using cron jobs. We'll discuss crontab’s structure and syntax, real-life use cases, and some limitations. We'll also touch on alternatives to cron.
Scheduling your GitHub Actions cron-styleApr 18, 2022–Madhura KumarGitHub Actions are a way to automate tasks in your GitHub repository and are most commonly used to automate CI/CD workflows. In this article, we'll walk through how to leverage scheduled tasks in GitHub Actions and explore some of the limitations with the native functionality.
Airplane for security: approval flows, audit logs, self-hosted agents, two-factor auth, and moreMar 18, 2022–Madhura KumarAirplane was built to help companies operate safely and securely. In this post you'll find a list of product features that support security as well as a list of security-focused use cases.
What is runbook automation? A quick guideJan 20, 2022–Madhura KumarWhen you take a step back from the buzz of activities we generalize as work, you'll notice event patterns—repetitive processes. We can document most of these events and processes into easy-to-run steps in runbooks. Runbooks help make sure tasks are performed at the same level of accuracy and yield predictable and desired results. While runbooks tend to live in Google Docs or wiki pages, runbook automation is the process of using software to execute these more reliably, quickly, and autonomously
How to start, stop, and restart cron jobsJan 18, 2022–Madhura KumarWe often run into situations that require us to run a piece of code periodically—for example, renewing SSL certificates that may expire every year or two. Fortunately, most servers and operating systems provide some means to conduct repetitive tasks automatically. One popular solution is using cron.
Airplane for healthcare: PHI and data protection, scheduled operations, interfacing with third parties, and moreJan 13, 2022–Madhura KumarOne of the primary challenges that B2B healthcare, consumer health, and biotech companies face when it comes to finding third-party software solutions is that they don't comply with the level of sensitivity necessary to be able to use the software. This includes: * Measures to control and lock down PHI (Protected Health Information) and PII (Personally Identifiable Information) * Regular and rigorous audit logs that are easily accessible * The ability to manage permission groups at the mo
Why does every startup incorporate with 10,000,000 shares?Jan 12, 2022–Ravi ParikhEvery tech startup in the US incorporates as a Delaware C Corp with 10,000,000 shares of Common Stock at the date of founding. This is remarkably consistent–if you go through an accelerator like Y Combinator or Techstars, if you use the default options with Stripe Atlas or Clerky, or if you ask a tech law firm for advice, they'll all point you in the same direction. Incorporating in Delaware and as a C Corp are pretty well understood and well explained on the internet, but why 10 million shares
Airplane raises $8.5M in Series A funding led by BenchmarkDec 9, 2021–Ravi ParikhToday, we're announcing our Series A and the public launch of Airplane runbooks—a developer platform for automating internal workflows.
Startup defensibility: how to build a technical moat for your productNov 8, 2021–Dan RobinsonI often get questions from founders about how they should think about the “technical moat” of what they’re building, or from potential employees about our technical moat at Heap. If you have a successful product, what’s to stop someone else from building it? Technical moats exist, but they rarely take the form people expect them to take. People often look for an answer to that question in the form of a monolithic, singular technology, like a single algorithm, or a particular piece of code nobo
Airplane for fintech: sensitive workflows, data protection, fraud investigation, and moreNov 5, 2021–Madhura KumarBuilding a product that interacts with financial systems and institutions tends to require a number of manual operational workflows. As a result, fintech and insurtech companies invest a significant amount of engineering effort into building internal workflows and processes for support, ops, risk, compliance, and other teams. This is why these companies often dedicate some percentage of their headcount to developing internal tools. One challenge is building internal tools while accounting for s
Build an admin panel in 10 minutes with AirplaneNov 1, 2021–Ravi ParikhOne of the first things that a scaling startup builds as soon as they have a reasonable amount of customer volume is an admin panel, sometimes called an admin dashboard or control center. From here, people on support, customer success, ops, and other teams can read and write customer data to help resolve customer issues. Examples of the types of things you might need to do in an admin panel: * Read data: Lookup a user's metadata and transaction history; see a list of users on a team * Sim
Airplane for SaaS: admin panels, customer onboarding, feature flags, and moreOct 28, 2021–Madhura KumarAirplane enables engineers at SaaS companies to focus on doing the thing they do best: building a great product. With Airplane, you can move quickly by transforming code into enterprise-grade internal apps in minutes that can be used by anyone on your team. Why SaaS companies choose Airplane SaaS companies are able to grow more quickly when developers can fully focus on building the company's core offering. Airplane enables this by: * Enabling non-engineers to safely run operations that were
Why “let the support team build their own tools” rarely worksOct 22, 2021–Ravi ParikhEngineering teams tend to prioritize customer-facing features over internal tools. As a result, the state of internal tools in most companies–especially fast-growing startups–lags far behind where it would be in an ideal world. But there's a solution: why not just let the support or ops team build their own tools? There's tons of no-code vendors out there that promise exactly this. However, unless approached correctly, this won't work. Before diving in, I want to clarify that the primary reaso
Integrating Airplane with AWSOct 12, 2021–Joshua MaMany Airplane users run tasks integrated with their production systems, and the overwhelming majority of users run their production systems on AWS. In this post, we'll walk through how you can easily integrate the two together! Via Self-Hosted AWS Agents With Airplane, you can self-host agents [https://docs.airplane.dev/platform/agent-installation] to run within your own AWS account / AWS VPC. This gives you the most flexibility: Airplane agents can run within your own private network(s), and y
Just because your product is "enterprise ready" doesn't mean it's any goodOct 5, 2021–Ravi ParikhThis article is not about compliance requirements, RBAC, SSO, etc. If you're interested in that, check out EnterpriseReady.io. However, having every box checked on that website still won't result in a high-quality enterprise product.
How to gain conviction to work on a startup idea for 10+ yearsSep 28, 2021–Ravi ParikhIn December 2020, Josh Ma and I started our startup, Airplane. Before that, we spent several months exploring ideas before settling on the idea that eventually became Airplane.
I started SaaS companies in 2013 and 2021. Here's how things have changedSep 20, 2021–Ravi ParikhIn 2013, I co-founded Heap, a product analytics company that I helped grow to over 200 people and $X0,000,000 in ARR before I left in 2020. In 2021, I co-founded Airplane, a developer platform for quickly creating internal tools.
Airplane: a complement to Retool for non-CRUD internal workflowsSep 13, 2021–Ravi ParikhA lot of Airplane users wonder how we're different from Retool–are Airplane and Retool competitors? Complementary? Here's our take. TLDR: both tools excel in different ways, and plenty of companies use both Retool and Airplane as complements. But there are also a few areas of overlap.
How we approach pricing for our early-stage SaaS productSep 10, 2021–Ravi ParikhAt Airplane, we recently exited our free early access period and started charging for our product. I thought it'd be helpful to write a post talking through the logic behind our pricing model, partially as an explanation for our customers, but also as a data point for other early-stage B2B SaaS businesses. Prior to Airplane, I also spent 7 years at my previous startup Heap [https://heap.io/] iterating several times on pricing. What are you optimizing for? It might seem obvious that the point of
Airplane: An easy-to-use Rundeck alternative for better runbook automationSep 8, 2021–Ravi ParikhHere at Airplane, we get asked often about the differences between Airplane and Rundeck. We thought we'd give our take. We're obviously biased towards our approach, but we started building Airplane in part due to some of the needs we had that existing tools, like Rundeck, didn't meet.
Airplane has completed our SOC 2 Type I auditAug 26, 2021–Ravi ParikhAt Airplane, as of this week, we've completed our System and Organization Controls (SOC) 2 Type I audit. For the entire time that we've had customers using our product, we've taken industry-standard security practices.
Airplane: A New Approach to Internal ToolsJul 23, 2021–Ravi ParikhToday we're publicly launching Airplane, a platform that lets engineers quickly create lightweight internal apps for their teammates. We've been in closed beta for the last 6 months, but as of today, Airplane is open for anyone to sign up and try out [https://www.airplane.dev/]. Why existing approaches to internal tools fall short My co-founder Josh and I both spent the last 7+ years at two different SaaS companies. I previously co-founded Heap, an analytics company, and Josh was CTO at Benchl
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