Studio Process

Artcompiler is a software studio that makes API-first B2B SaaS products.

Our businesses all start by cloning our ever evolving web app template based on the Graffiticode open source project. The app template includes a client and server, database, authentication, payments, and console. Within the app framework, the business specific MVP is built as one or more microservices written as Graffiticode languages.

The underlying technology stack includes: NodeJS, React, NextJS, GraphQL, OAuth2, Ethereum, Stripe, Twilio, TailwindCSS.

We work in four-week cycles using a process loosely based on Shape Up by 37Signals.

In brief, we “shape” work in pitches that are rough descriptions that make clear what matters most. On the first day of each cycle we bet how much we of the current cycle we are willing to spend to complete the work described in each pitch.

What makes this process effective is the imposition of three opposing forces: fixed cost, variable scope, and minimum viable outcome. If we are able to ship work that fills the specified shape for the fixed cost that was bet, it is considered done. If it is not done, then it is considered a sunk cost and sent back to the drawing board for reworking and possibly pitching in a later cycle.

The key to this process is to specify work loosely enough to allow the implementation flexibility to cut corners when necessary while still delivering on the intended promise of the work.

We budget 20 four-week cycles (approx 1 1/2 years) for each project, to get from idea to product market fit. Anecdotally, this seems to be about the industry wide median duration it takes to get from from idea to traction. We budget $5,000 per cycle, or $100,000 per project.

When we work with partners, they generally pay the development costs in exchange for 80% ownership of the outcome. (See Artcompiler Studio Agreement)

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