AMA: Vlad and Sergie Magdalin, co-founders of Webflow

7 years ago from Vlad Magdalin, Co-founder / CEO @ Webflow

  • Vlad Magdalin, 7 years ago

    Hey Kuanysh,

    Thanks for the kind words, and the great questions!

    What can you recommend to guys who just got into their 20s and want to continue grinding with design and software … in post-USSR countries?

    My biggest recommendation would be to make full use of the incredible advantages freelancers have today in connecting with clients all over the world (as opposed to even 10 years ago). Not only are there many more ways to build your personal brand in online communities (Dribbble, GitHub, Behance, etc), but also the infrastructure for finding clients and getting paid (Upwork, Payoneer, etc) has gotten much better.

    We have tons of freelancers working in ex-USSR countries that do work for clients worldwide (sometimes at USA-level rates) because they were able to find that first big client, who recommended them to others, and so on. In my personal experience, I’ve seen that freelancers who put in the effort to find business clients in more developed countries to be more satisfied with their job - because you can take on fewer clients yet get paid more than if you were to find a lot of price-sensitive clients locally.

    When one should focus on her own product rather than working for someone to build theirs?

    TLDR: When you have external validation that what you’re building is needed in the market.

    This is a really nuanced and deeply personal decision. Building a product from scratch is hard, especially once you decide to quit your job and do it full time. In my personal experience, it’s been easily 100 times harder than I imagined when we first decided to work on Webflow (as a product).

    For me, the decision to work on my own product was doubly complicated because I have two young kids (and my wife stays at home with them full time, so my family had only my income to depend on). We saved up enough money to be to work without my salary for 3 months, imagining all these idealized scenarios where we would raise a bunch of money via Kickstarter and get thousands of users. But of course when none of that materialized and I was borrowing money to stay afloat many months later - you come to realize quickly that there are real advantages to working for someone else and having them worry about things like payroll and health insurance.

    At the end of the day, though, if you have a vision for a particular product, there is nothing stopping you from working on it at least part-time. I know of so many founders who were able to build something while working for someone else, post a prototype on Hacker News or Product Hunt, and only after they received serious validation for their idea consider pursuing that project or product full time. So I would definitely recommend this tapered approach, because it takes a significant amount of risk off the table - but it will require some long nights and weekends :)

    What would you do to attract youngsters to focus on our industry considering small city population (< 1m)?

    Hmm, I’m not sure - I don’t have much experience in organizing people locally, but I would look into platforms like to get started. Also, at Webflow we’ve had a lot of success in reaching out to teachers/professors of new media courses at high schools and universities and connecting to students through them. Many students are hungry to learn, but they become truly passionate about honing a skill when they can experience the power of creating something with their own hands and having that creating solve some sort of problem.

    2 points