Join us for a Developer AMA with the Appfire Team on November 2nd

Hello, and welcome back to our next (and final!) edition of our Developer AMA series. This week, we’re hosting a few members of the leadership team from Appfire: Gorka Puente and George Dinkov.

Appfire — a leading enterprise collaboration software provider for teams looking to make work flow — has built more than 200 solutions for the Atlassian Marketplace since 2005 and was one of the original partners in our ecosystem. Their mission is to enable teams to thrive and do their best work.

We’re excited to have them here to answer your questions about building for the Marketplace. Before we begin, let’s meet our hosts @GorkaPuente and @GeorgeDinkovAppfire :

With a Ph.D. in Web Information Systems and a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Gorka Puente brings his knowledge and almost 10 years of experience in the Atlassian ecosystem to research and visualize new markets, products, and opportunities. Gorka founded RoninPixels in 2020 before joining Appfire, though his team has Atlassian roots going back to 2013. When he’s not working, his focus is on cats, beer, BJJ, wrestling, and sneakers (though not necessarily all of that at the same time).

George Dinkov first got involved in the Atlassian ecosystem in 2013 when he co-founded Botron Software. Since then he’s enjoyed solving hard problems in Jira (and occasionally Confluence and Bitbucket) and building up Botron’s - and now Appfire’s - team. He is a Director of Product Engineering at Appfire, responsible for the development of a suite of apps in the Administrative tools category - most notably Configuration Manager for Jira.

Without further ado, let’s chat! Share your questions for Gorka and George below, and come back on Nov 2 to see their responses.

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What’s the one thing you wished that somebody told you when you started out?

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If you could wave a magic wand and have Atlassian fix one thing - what would that be?

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  1. Both RoninPixels and Botron were successful Atlassian Marketplace Partners on their own, why did you decide to join Appfire?

  2. How did you experience the acquisition? Was it all unicorns and rainbows? Or did it also involve some tears?

  3. What is your advise for other (smaller) Atlassian Marketplace Partners who want to grow to a place that they become interesting for acquisition by larger partners, let’s say Appfire? What would be the best strategy for them to fast-track into acquisition?

  4. If you were to start over in the Atlassian Marketplace, what would you do differently?

  5. Is it true that y’all are now filthy rich because of the acquisition? :stuck_out_tongue:

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Hi @danielwester! That’s a though one…
I’ve learned so much since starting out that it’s hard for me to point to a single thing that may have an outsized impact. It’s more of an accumulation of many things.

If I have to choose just one - probably to drop things that aren’t working as early as (reasonably) possible rather than trying to make it work for way too long.

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@danielwester, this would probably be adding some of the API’s we’ve been asking for :sweat_smile:

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Hi @remie!

  1. There are many reasons. For Botron, we were approaching a point where if we wanted to scale the organization to the next level we had to either figure out how to add partners (think investors, board, etc.) or join forces with someone. Around that time Appfire was already figuring out how to do that and they had Silversmith on board, so it was lucky timing. We knew Randall and Mat and other folks from the company, so we were confident it would be a good fit. Me and my partners were also tempted by the thought of not having to take care of everything in the business and focusing more on the work we like (e.g. product development).

  2. There were definitely challenges, and there still are as the company is growing incredibly fast. But the positives far outweigh any of the setbacks. As with anything worthwhile in life you need to go through some pain to get the benefits :slightly_smiling_face:

  3. Keep working on and growing your business and your team (if you have one). I know that’s quite generic, but I can’t think of anything more specific that wouldn’t require diving into a lot of details. The other important thing is building a relationship with potential partners or acquirers - we’ve known Randall and Mat for years prior to starting any talks about an acquisition.

  4. I’d probably start with an easier to develop and support product than Configuration Manager for Jira - we did not anticipate how much work it would require to make it :sweat_smile: But on the other hand CMJ made us leaders in the admin tools category so… :man_shrugging:

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Hey Daniel! One thing that wished someone told me… “Create a test management app” :rofl:. Just kidding.
Having quite limited resources, I’d say that I wished to have focused on creating a single app, instead of trying several options. There was this idea of launching different apps to see if one magically worked.
I did this the last time with RoninPixels and it worked out better than my first try.

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When you work as a partner within a marketplace there are many things you’d like (new APIs to simplify your code or enhance your capabilities for example), but the one I’d value most is communication. I think there are a few improvements could be done in this regard.

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Hi Remie!

  1. It was a combination of several factors that we (the three partners in RoninPixels) valued:
    i) Culture. Randall and Mat really believe in companies having a heart. From the outside, you can see this in the Appfire Town initiative and in the 1% pledge. And from the inside, you just have to talk to them to feel it :smile:
    ii) Speed up our vision. Being in Appfire allows you to speed up your product vision, focus on customers and multiple your capabilities overnight: Support, security, growth, infrastructure…
    iii) Financial stability. You don’t have to worry about paying salaries anymore, so you can focus on your job.
    iv) Professional growth. You get to work with professionals in different areas, learn from them, keep on learning new skills and capabilities.
  2. In my case, the acquisition was all unicorns and rainbows. Everyone involved in the process was willing to help and reach an agreement. Just tears of happiness :slight_smile:
  3. If you want to be in the target of a company (Appfire or any other), I’d say, study where they are not leaders, where you think they are heading, where you could fill a gap in their portfolio. In the case of Appfire, I’d review their acquisitions and their solution categories. And one thing that is probably obvious… ask them.
  4. I’m gonna answer the same as I did to Daniel. I’d focus on a specific app/domain to avoid splitting resources, be good in 1 domain instead of having presence in several domains.
  5. Nah, those are rumors from the banks
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Thank you so much to our AMA hosts @GorkaPuente and @GeorgeDinkovAppfire ! And thank you as well to everyone who submitted questions and followed along during the AMA. We’ll post a summary of this AMA on the developer blog in the coming weeks. Cheers!

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