An Interview with Murat Mutlu, a Founder of Marvel (layervault.tumblr.com)
over 8 years ago from Kelly Sutton, Product @ imgix
over 8 years ago from Kelly Sutton, Product @ imgix
Great Interview, thanks!
A couple questions for Murat:
Your company is based in London — Do you feel that it is important to work there? Why not work from a cheaper location, for example?
I’ve been seeing people integrating Marvel prototypes into their websites, which I think is a great way of interactively showing off an app’s basic functionality. Is this a feature you plan on expanding in the future?
And finally, where does the name Marvel App come from?
1) We were all living and working in London while we were building Marvel in our spare-time so we just naturally started the company here without any thought.
You're right it is expensive here, especially once we moved from our bedrooms to a co-working space. However you can do it cheaply. For example our first office was just outside of Old Street and half the price (£180 per desk, per month), if you really wanted to you could move to a co-working space in Brixton for around £100 per desk.
We could have upped and moved to Sussex or even Ireland to get cheaper rent, office space, day-to-day life etc but instead we were just a lot more frugal in our spending in London.
We haggled a deal for pretty much everything, from servers to desk space. With my personal spending, I cut stuff that i never really used much, took a cheaper mobile tariff, things like that.
Also the benefit of having all your friends and family around during the bits where you are working your hardest helps too. Plus tons of companies are just a stones throw away from us.
I definitely think it helps being in a big city, I'm not sold on this whole 'tech city' thing though, now that we're in it, a lot of it feels like good marketing.
2) Yeah it's really interesting actually, it's funny when I'm just clicking around the web and suddenly see one embedded somewhere. It's definitely something we're going to tap into.
3) Sadly this is a super boring story. When I was freelancing I use to buy tons of domain names just in case I had some side-project idea in the future.
When we finally had a working version of the product, we needed to give it a name. I looked through the list of domains I'd purchased which included lots of words with 'app' on the end like furyapp, marvellousapp, overdriveapp (why did i buy that?!) and finally marvelapp.com.
I figured you 'marvel' at your designs/creations so we picked it and never looked back!
This week, we interview Murat Mutlu on our blog. Murat is one of the founders of Marvel. In the interview, he talks about scrapping initial prototypes and using Designer News as a springboard.
Thanks for asking me to take part!
If anyone has any questions about making Marvel or freelancing feel free to ask!
Thanks Kelly and Murat for this, that's a nice read.
Hey Murat, been a fan of your work, I've been following the Marvel story since launch and its pretty inspiring. I learn from my last work place that you worked with them and its been all praised. Pretty cool.
I can relate to the part about not doing what you loved earlier, right now I feel like I want to make something, but I don't know where to start. So questions:
Thanks for the question and kind words! Really nice to hear :D Hope some of these answers help make your thing!
1) I tend to have trouble concentrating on one idea because half way through, I'll get another one that is shiny and new and suddenly I've moved on.
When I came up with the idea for Marvel, it was the first time that didn't happen. I think it's because it was a real problem that I wanted to solve for myself.
For once I was the actual end-user for my idea, I didn't have to guess whether this was something that was really needed.
I figured if I could get it right for me, maybe some others would find it useful too....and maybe even pay for it?! Even if no one liked it I'd have some useful for myself.
But even after all of that, we still had no idea it would get this far, it just seemed like a better idea than the other stuff we made like Instabam and www.dandandan.net :D
2) I was lucky enough to work with Brendan and Jon at Nokia prior to starting Marvel so not only were they colleagues before this but more importantly they are friends who I trust and respect.
When we first started working together, it was clear we shared the same passions but also the same frustrations with our day-to-day work. We wanted to do more.
Eventually talk about company projects soon turns to talk about side-projects and all the cool stuff you could be making instead.
3) Yeah it's not easy, especially when the pace of progress is so slow because you're grabbing a few hours here and there.
I use to rush home to work on my own ideas because the stuff I was doing in my day job was so mind-numbing. If I didn't have those few hours of design freedom before bed I felt like i'd shrivel up or something.
It's definitely not sustainable to stay up to 2am every night, but it depends on how bad you want something. For me personally, I was willing to be tired 5 days a week to try and get my ideas out the door.
Love Marvel. Here's a few questions.
What's the one feature you really like in a competitor that you don't (currently) offer?
Any plans on integrating with Google docs or is the customer interest just not there?
You had a great blog post I think a year ago being very transparent regarding funding, burn rate, and such. Any plans on an update post?
Why don't you and Brendan like Wing Wings in the Haight? Love that place.
Thanks for the questions!
1) Personally I like the Slack integration of Invision.
We use Slack everyday and love it so it would be great to see Marvel integrated.
In terms of what users want, that one is easy - comments on prototypes (invision) and timers (flinto)
2) that's definitely planned but like the stuff above it's about ruthless prioritisation at the moment, but we have some really big ideas.
3) That's definitely due an update, when we first started I really wanted to get to the level of transparency of Buffer/Groove, but once we got going blogging quickly took a backseat to designing/support and running the biz. I forgot how time intensive it can be to constantly post something worth reading. I'm definitely going to get back into it once a few things have slotted into place, it seemed to go down really well and helped others.
4) when we visited SF I loved Wing Wings, I think I got them everyday. Then on my second to last day I went twice in a row (lunch and dinner mmmm) and ended up with food poisoning. Great way to lose a few KG, but I don't know if I can ever look at a wing from there again!
Awesome interview, definitely very insightful. Being an interface designer myself, I couldn't agree more with how prototyping helps you pitch so much better to clients.
Being a proponent of the idea "A prototype is worth a 1000 meetings", needless to say, I've tried my hands at most prototyping software available out there, understanding that each is designed to meet specific needs and aimed towards a specific fidelity. I've used Marvel briefly, since I love using Dropbox, thumbs up for the integration with Dropbox. Moreover, since I usually start my process with sketches, Marvel's feature with regards to taking photos of sketches is also something I find really awesome.
My first question is what is the future like for Marvel. You mentioned Sketch becoming a popular design tool. Would you guys consider building Sketch/PS integration into Marvel to make use of layers and more complex forms of prototyping.
My second question is related to interaction design. With the increasing value of animation/motion design in interfaces and experiences, and thus, in prototyping, what plans does Marvel have with respect to these aspects of design.
Would love to hear your thoughts. Cheers!
Glad you liked it!
Yeah there's a lot of prototyping tools out there, I don't think there needs to be a 'one tool to rule them all' kind of thing. The audience for this type of stuff is getting bigger and bigger.
So we're currently testing Sketch support with a handful of users, it works like how you would expect - export your artboards as separate screens that stay synced. That's landing anytime now.
The next level up would be what you suggest and allow you to move elements - this is trickier.
The biggest challenge is getting the front-end UX/UI right. Once you start adding complexity, it's hard to go back.
Layers, folders, visibility, page co-ordinates...could get busy real fast!
The future of Marvel, that's a great question. . I think this new wave of artificial intelligence is interesting, could Marvel prototype your designs without you lifting a finger? It's all becoming possible now.
This fits in nicely to your second question - how do we start to handle motion and animation?
It's definitely on our radar, I think 2015 will really be not just how interfaces look but how they feel.
We'll be adding some pre-set tools to help with this but we'll never take you as far as something like Pixate for example.
We have to just be really good at finding the balance between realism and speed. If we try and do too many things, I think the risk is that you end up losing the reason people liked you in the first place. (that doesn't mean we shouldn't keep innovating tho)
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