How Software Helps Developers Find Their Flow

Meetings and managers often get in the way of real work, and for developers, distractions and interruptions are particularly detrimental to productivity. Software was founded to help developers defend their code time so they can work smarter, not harder.

We recently participated in Software’s financing round of $7 million and had a chance to sit down with one of the founders, Brett Stevens. Read on to learn more about the company and the tools they’re building to help developers.

What problem were you trying to solve when you founded Software?

There’s a lot of pressure on developers, especially in Silicon Valley, and there are only so many hours in a day. We’re helping developers use data to visualize their flow and gain insights into their coding habits. Developers can then leverage their data to work more efficiently and protect their time from unnecessary meetings and interruptions.

The first plugin in the Software ecosystem of open source tools is Code Time, which provides automatic time tracking, project-based reports, and other coding metrics right inside your code editor.

What’s Software’s vision of the future? How are you different from others trying to achieve the same thing?

Unlike other developer analytics tools, which are often leveraged by managers, Software focuses on the developer’s needs first. We enable developers to set goals, run experiments, and compare themselves to benchmarks — all with the goal of improving the craft of development.

We believe that with the right data, visualizations, and collaboration from developers around the world, we can make developers more effective and happier.

What made Next47 the right venture partner for your long-term growth ambitions?

Next47 is focused on helping build mission-driven companies that really matter, which aligns closely with our goal of helping developers code smarter and build better software. We believe that developers are the elite forces driving global innovation. Access to Next47’s global network and expertise will be enormously helpful.

What’s the toughest hurdle you’ve encountered so far, and how did you overcome it?

Developers are demanding and skeptical, so winning their time and trust has taken a great deal of work. We naturally track a lot of metrics, so we use data to A/B test new features or onboarding flows to determine if we’re heading in the right direction.

Now that we have thousands of users around the world, we get great ideas from our community of developers. We believe that building data feedback loops and A/B testing will help us prioritize features and stay on track.

How has mentorship and/or networking impacted your founder journey?

I’ve been lucky to work closely with my mentor and board member, Jedidiah Yueh, who has spent the last two decades building and scaling two successful technology companies.

Jed has experience applying frameworks that have enabled successful products and other entrepreneurs, and he’s an invaluable board member, especially when it comes to financings! He’s also given me some practical life advice that’s had a big impact on my personal journey as an entrepreneur.

What do you know now that you wish you knew a year ago?

I’ve recently learned a lot about the art of product development, especially in terms of finding product/market fit. You have to constantly balance thinking big and small. Thinking too big makes it difficult to get anything done, and thinking too small can lead to major design flaws down the line. Some of the most talented and successful product teams I’ve met have both a solid framework for their product decisions and can also execute quickly.

Any other interesting facts about your company, the market and/or your customers?

Since we’re building tools that we personally use every day, many of the principles we follow are actually built right into our product. For instance, we follow “Code First” as a principle — we schedule meetings around our flow times. We try to defragment our calendars and minimize the impact of meetings by scheduling time right before and after lunch.

We also try to get our most valuable work done as early as possible in the day. In fact, I recently wrote about how we took inspiration from a blog post by Joel Spolsky, the co-founder of Stack Overflow, to help us make coding early a habit.