You have an idea.
You want to build a product.
You need help with tech.
tl;dr: Have you market tested your idea? Are you ready to launch? Yes and yes. Great, that’s what we do. Apply now.
Move fast and break things
Facebook’s engineering slogan. Until 2017. Over 1 billion active users. Move fast and break things. Then it changed. Now it’s “move fast on stable infra”. One part remains. Move fast.
Speed. Move fast. Get it done. Today. This is our single, solitary, unwavering purpose. As fast as possible. Right now. What can we get done today?
Done today beats perfect tomorrow. Every time. No exceptions.
Are there exceptions?
Simple answer. No.
Is your industry special? No. Take banking as an example. N26 is a new bank from Berlin. They launched in 2013. They launched early. Their first product was terrible. I was an early user. There were horrible bugs. Their security was shredded publicly. Today they’re one of Europe’s fastest growing banks. Few industries are as regulated as banking. Your industry is no different. If you want to win, move fast. There is no other way.
Not embarred by your first release? Then you waited too long.
Release early. Release often.
Launch. Learn. Iterate.
We will say no
This is actually our greatest value add.
Most developers think about software. We think about products.
We’ll challenge every part of your vision. We’ll push back hard. On everything. It’s a process. Together, we’ll scale down your vision. We’ll tease out the very core. The absolute essential. The foundation upon which everything else stands. Then we’ll build that. Without caring about anything else.
We’re ruthlessly focused on doing less.
Priorities not scopes
You have a plan. Your plan will be wrong. It’s guaranteed.
You have a vision of your product. It’s totally natural. You’ve been thinking about it for some time. You have imagined all kinds of features. Saying no will be painful. But we’re not saying never. We’re saying “not now”.
Your product will never be finished. There is no “scope”. There’s only next. We only care about your top three priorities. First, second, third. Nothing else. Anything fourth or below might never happen. So much will change. The direction will change. User feedback will destroy our plans. Flexibility is the key.
Gardens not houses
This can be challening. Many people think about software like a house. Make a plan. Build it. Fix problems. Maintain it.
Software is not like a house. Software is like a garden. Leave it unattended for a month. Chaos. The landscape is constantly shifting. There is no finished. Software is finished when it’s dead. While it’s alive it’s constantly changing. Users are the primary source of change. Real people will not obey your expectations. The market does not care.
This may seem like a small detail. It is not. Understanding this philosophy is critical. It is a pre-requisite for success. From the smallest startup to the largest tech giant. Software is constantly in a state of evolution.
Launched in 3 days
You’ve picked your single focus. Your top priority. We helped you make an informed choice. Now what?
We build. We launch. In three days or less. Every time. No exceptions. If you can’t touch it, it doesn’t exist. The best case? Real users touch your product in the first 3 days. The learning is invaluable.
An example. We built a social network for kindergarten children.
The client imagined “linkedin for children”. Photos. Teacher to parent communication. Learning outcomes. What is the core? What is the most important piece? Where do you want to start. Photos. That was the decision. Teachers take photos, tag children, upload. The child’s connected adults can see the photos.
Day three. We go to a test kindergarten. We install the app onto three teacher’s phones. We come back two days later. The feedback is clear. The process does not work. There are 25 screaming children running wild. There is time to take a photo. But not to tag or upload. The flow does not work. Tagging and uploading has to happen later. Launch. Learn. Iterate.
Are you ready?
This philosophy is not for everyone. This is not how large, old fashioned companies build software. They make plans. They spend months on development. They typically fail. Often spectacularly.
Our pace is intense. Some clients have been unprepared. Can you commit 2-4 hours per day? Every day? You are an essential part of the process. You test. You talk to users. You collect feedback. You set priorities. You make decisions. You want the best value from our engagement. You need to commit sufficient time to the process.
Developers are expensive
Developers are in high demand. That’s simply today’s reality. We talked to an agency in San Francisco. They wanted to hire a new developer after a three month code camp. They offered $100k. The developer went to Google for $110k. With three months “experience”. Life ain’t fair.
We’re in Berlin. Freelance rates are about €10k per month.
We’re more expensive
Most developers build software. We build products. The difference is huge. We’ve been doing this for a long time. We’ve launched dozens of products. Our rates reflect that.
We will talk you out of 90% of your plans. Our day rate might be double or triple other companies. We’ll move faster.
Example. We helped a client with their mobile app. They fired a contract developer after 3 months. We launched the first version in three days. Our first week delivered more progress than the previous 3 months. We’re not better at software. We’re better at focusing on what matters.
We want to work with startups. Clients who qualify for “startup pricing” get a 40% discount. This has two conditions. First, full payment in advance. Second, a single appointed contact person. That person must be both authorised to make decision, and available to manage the project. See “Are you ready?” above, our pace is intense.
We have two billable units. Days and sprints. A sprint is a 2 week process. We work on your project and nothing else. For two weeks straight. No clock watching. You get our exclusive focus. We will move like hell. Expect to see 5 or more releases.
On standard pricing a day costs €2’000. Or on startup pricing €1’200. Sprints are €32’000 on standard pricing. Or on startup pricing €19’200. We like startups. We want to move fast. We want clients that succeed. The more agile you can be, the better your chances.
Money back guarantee
100% money back guarantee. No questions asked. If you don’t feel like we’re generating value, then we’re not. It’s that simple. We offer a full money back guarantee on the first 3 days. Either standalone days or a sprint.
We often start with an initial planning session. You can focus on your priorities. We’ll tell you what’s easy and what’s hard. You make choices. You create a tighter, leaner, more focused vision. These sessions are covered by our 100% money back guarantee.
We do one thing and one thing only. Move fast. We are not cheap. We are not very good. We don’t focus on quality. We’re not trying to do things well. Good is not our goal.
We’re developers. We do one thing with ruthless focus. We move fast. We are experienced experts in fast development. We are not experts at evaluating founder teams. You believe in yourself. You believe in your idea. We’re not setup to evaluate that. We accept payment in cash (or crypto).
Sidenote. We’ve noticed a pattern. Some clients offer equity. Some wouldn’t give us equity if we asked. There is a correlation with success. Our most successful clients never offer us equity.
What do we actually do? What software do we use? Do we use technology X? The simple answer is, it doesn’t really matter. The best tool for the job is the one that you already know. We’re ruthlessly focused on speed. We’re not trying to choose the best tool. We want the fastest tool.
You really want the tech details? Then you’re probably not a good fit. You will be better with a different company. But just for the hell of it we typically use tech like Meteor, React, React Native, Gatsby, serverless.
Mobile and web
The products we build are typically deployed to mobile and web. We have done some converational interfaces, but those are rare. Web and mobile are our bread and butter.
Do you really need software?
The most common advice we offer. Don’t build software.
Here’s an example reference from a customer.
Superlumen rescued our failing mobile program and turned it around, delivering a testable MVP within the first weeks. Aside from just engineering they helped us focus our product development efforts and improve our development practices. They’ve had an immensely positive impact on our product and our company. Perhaps their most memorable legacy is the rallying cry: “How do we get this done TODAY?!”
— Will Gill, Head of Product, FATMAP
Or another example.
The greatest thing about superlumen is that there is a hell of a chance that they send you home. You come up with a business proposal and all you get is „prove it“ ; if you don’t want to prove it you gotta pay. They are so expensive that it hurts . You gotta learn your lesson. Either this or that way and that’s exactly why I loved and will love to work with them. It pays out! You get better, your side gets better and your product improves.
— Marek Claaßen, Director, ArtFacts.net
Want more detailed references? Sure. Many of our past customers are happy ambassadors. Contact us and we’ll connect you directly. Talk to them. Get honest, independent, impartial feedback.
Don’t build software. That’s the single most common outcome from a first meeting. We try to take a hard, objective look at your project. Do you have real customer feedback? Have you done early market testing? If not, do that first, then let’s talk. We work best when you have real customers ready. They will be our most valuable source of learning.
Here’s an example reference from one such “unclient”.
They told us not to build software today – the feedback provided was very straight forward, detailed and helpful! Tech consulting with a holistic business view and understanding! Thank you!!
— Sascha Firtina
You’ve read this far? You think we could be a good fit? Awesome.
We have an application process. It takes 3 minutes. You answer a few simple questions. We’ll get back to you. We might tell you immediately that we can’t help. We have a very specific focus. We build new stuff. Digital products that will be used by people. If you’re doing something else, we probably can’t help. Click here to apply.
If you’re determined to break the mold, you can also reach us on messenger. Don’t have Facebook? Tough.
Questions we haven’t answered here? You can reach ask on messenger.
PS: This page, of course, is an MVP!