Jan. 5, 2023

Bringing Designers and Developers Together with Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz

Working together in a professional environment is easier said than done, especially when  teams have conflicting workflows, priorities, and skill sets. Designers are all too familiar with having their work feel like a second priority to developers. Is there a way that designers and developers can collaborate successfully without sacrificing their individual needs?

Enter Penpot, the first Open Source design and prototyping platform for cross-domain teams. Penpot was developed by Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz, CEO and Co-Founder of Kaleidos, Taiga and Penpot, to bring collaboration between designers and developers to the next level. Penpot inspires designers to become comfortable using open source and allows developers to become excited about the design process. 

In this episode, Pablo talks to Chuck and Robbie about how Penpot differs from its primary competitor, Figma, and why designers and developers love their platform.


Key Takeaways

  • [00:36] - An intro to Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz.
  • [02:38] -  A whiskey review - Willet Family Estate Bottled Rye.
  • [05:31] - Chuck, Robbie, and Pablo’s whiskey ranking.
  • [07:47] - What Petpot is and how it compares to Figma.
  • [15:50] - Adobe’s defensive acquisition of Figma. 
  • [24:54] - Why Pablo is excited about Penpot.
  • [29:37] - How Penpot brings together designers and developers.
  • [34:30] - Two top priority feature requests for Penpot.
  • [39:23] - Use cases for Penpot.
  • [44:31] - Why Pablo got expelled.
  • [48:34] - Pablo’s diverse hobbies - from mead brewing to archery.



[26:27] - “We don’t just want to accelerate design into code, but also coding to design.” ~ Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz

[31:18] - “First, we need to make sure that designers really appreciate what we’re doing. Whenever they first encounter Penpot, they see it, they feel it. It’s meant for them. Not as a gift from engineers.” ~ Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz

[36:54] - “Design is more important than ever. Design is eating software faster than software is eating the world. Software is a key differentiator, a key element in the critical palette of innovation. Design is key, and yet it remains outside the software building pipeline.” ~ Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz




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Robbie Wagner: [00:09] What's going on, everybody? Welcome to another Whiskey Web. and Whatnot with myself, Robbie Wagner, and my cohost, as always, Charles Charles William Carpenter III.
Robbie Wagner: [00:21] Third, third. Always wanted an echo effect. Sorry.
Robbie Wagner: [00:23] Didn't finish my intro, Chuck. Pablo is with us today. I would try to pronounce your last name, but I would do it poorly. If you would like to introduce yourself and give our listeners a few sentences about who you are and what you do.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [00:36] Sure. So, thank you for having me. It's really exciting. I'm Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz, and I'm CEO at Penpot, and my background is in physics and computer science, and I'm now an open-source hacking entrepreneur. And I'm really having great fun building the next design code tool that's open-source and based on open standards.
Chuck Carpenter: [00:58] Awesome. Nice.
Robbie Wagner: [00:59] Nice. We'll dig a lot more into that later, but first, we always have to start with whiskey. So today, we have the Willet Rye. I don't know. I'm trying to put this in my camera, but I guess it doesn't matter. They won't publish my video, but.
Robbie Wagner: [01:14] I have the same bottle here.
Chuck Carpenter [01:16] Yeah, we hope we got probably some different batches or whatever, because Robbie notes in the show notes that his is 108.2 proof. Mine is 107.4.
Robbie Wagner: [01:26] His is 110.4.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [01:28] Mine is 1104.
Chuck Carpenter: [01:30] Whoa. Nice. I like it.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [01:32] Yeah.
Chuck Carpenter: [01:33] Yeah. I mean, that's just going to be the.
Chuck Carpenter: [01:34] Nature of the game, because they make them pretty small batch per distillation, so it's fairly normal for that to be the case. But we all got four years, probably the same mash bill. So this is a 74% rye, 11% corn, 15% malted barley. Oh, okay, it's a blend. And then Robbie put something about there's also a low rye mash bill as well. Aged and hand-selected white oak barrels for four years. I've actually been to this distillery a couple of times. It's a really cool place. Small, but it's very cool. Oh, that's a fail.
Robbie Wagner: [02:07] What happened?
Chuck Carpenter: [02:09] My plastic cap popped off at the top of this thing. So I might need an extra second here. I'm going to use some highly technical tools. You can't see in the video, but I'll be using my teeth to pull out the cork.
Robbie Wagner: [02:19] I was waiting for you to get your huge knife out, and that was going to be scary.
Chuck Carpenter: [02:25] Yeah, I just said something before we started about not using knives and risking life and limb. Cool. All right, we're good. Okay, so I'll start with a little sniff.
Robbie Wagner: [02:41] Smells like rye.
Chuck Carpenter: [02:43] Yes. Definitely has a lot of spice. Initially, for me, it smells kind of I get a little bit of some other arbitrary descriptors, like a pile of fall leaves.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [02:58] Okay.
Robbie Wagner: [02:59] Yeah, I don't know that. I would say that leaves can be kind of musty and gross sometimes. Fresh leaves, maybe like a little bit of, I don't know, it's spicy. It's got some black pepper, of course, and some various spices. I don't know.
Chuck Carpenter:[03:16] I would say it has more of a traditional rye-like flavor. Black pepper, initially. A little bit of leatheriness to it for me. Yeah.
Robbie Wagner:[03:25] Maybe some cinnamon on the finish.
Chuck Carpenter: [03:28] Yeah. And that nice, warm hug down the throat. I like that. This is in my this is my jam. When it's over 100 proof, I need that feel that I'm not having soda. What do you think, Pablo?
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz:[03:44] Well, I'm not into whiskey, so I'm unfamiliar with everything here, but I think I'll go for the nice hug that you said. I do appreciate that with the warmth, and it felt constant and continuous. Also, I think for me, it tastes a bit like caramel at some point. And spicy. Yeah, definitely spicy at the beginning, but, yeah, as I said, super no expert at all in things whiskey.
Robbie Wagner: [04:17] We're not either, really.
Chuck Carpenter: [04:18] Yeah, we're just making it. This is all an act, right? Making up, drinking. A lot of it doesn't necessarily make you an expert. It's the spoiler, unfortunately. I was going to say, I like how you were drinking from a wine glass.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [04:33] Yeah. Well, we do have a collection of different glasses here. It's mostly for beer and mead.
Chuck Carpenter: [04:41] Yes.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [04:42] To be honest. But, yeah, I got to find one appropriate for whiskey tasting.
Chuck Carpenter: [04:49] That's perfect. I think it's great. Yeah, we'll put a pin in that one. I believe that's on the list of whatnot items we're going to bring up and chat about a little bit, so we'll get there. So, as experts in the field of whiskey tasting, we have a highly scientific system for rating them. One day tentacles, one being the worst thing you've ever had. Please never give them this again. Eight being the most amazing thing. I would like it every day. In fact, let's replace water with it. And I know you said you don't have a lot of whiskey, and I don't want to influence your opinion overall on this particular one. So happy to let you go ahead and go first and see just what you have had for whiskey. How this might rate for you?
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [05:31] I think the closest ever I've been to proper whiskey tasting was in Orkney Island, north of Scotland. So Kirkwall. There's a long story there, but I had a ton of whiskey, and this one is different because I really like it. Overall, on that scale, I would say, for me, it's seven tentacles.
Chuck Carpenter: [05:51] Wonderful.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [05:53] Good rating.
Chuck Carpenter: [05:55] Yeah, I think that's great. I'm glad. I'm glad we didn't shaft you with something you want to throw away down the drain. So this is good.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz:[06:03] Yeah.
Chuck Carpenter: [06:04] All right, Robbie, as the self-described rye aficionado, what do you think?
Robbie Wagner: [06:09] Yeah, it's hard for me to place it amongst all the ryes we've had, but I would agree that it's good. I would say six, maybe six and a half. Pretty good. Something like that. Yeah. What do you think, Chuck?
Chuck Carpenter: [06:21] Well, I'm a little bit of a Willett fanboy. This was like their first non-sourced distillate under the Willett label. So was released as a two-year and then they've done three and four-year ones. So I really like it. I think with each version that has a little more age to it. It gets even better. For me, unfortunately, it used to be like $55, and now I'm seeing the prices creep up to $75 and $80. So that's kind of a bummer in comparison to some others. But in the realm of things where it is pleasant tasting, has very traditional rye notes, though, and has the proof that I enjoy, I'm giving it a seven. I, like, would come back to this often and do often recommend it.
Robbie Wagner: [07:02] Cool. So it's good because.
Chuck Carpenter: [07:04] The spoiler is I've had it many times before.
Robbie Wagner: [07:09] Yeah, I haven't. Chuck has had a lot of whiskey, but I'm still learning.
Chuck Carpenter: [07:14] Yeah, we all strive for expertise.
Robbie Wagner: [07:17] Yeah. Cool. So a lot of people probably have noticed if they've been on Twitter or just been anywhere on the Internet. That Figma got acquired by Adobe, which was a big thing, which I don't know how things were going before that, but I think it really helped Penpot become this thing people had heard of and like an alternative for them to use. So tell us a little bit about Penpot and how it compares to Figma, what it does, that kind of stuff.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [07:47] So while Penpot was an idea that existed already five years ago at the parent company, which is Kaleidos, as in kaleidoscope, so Kaleidos in Greek means of a beautiful shape. So you can see that rooting in calligraphy, for instance. And we had this motto that was beautiful coat, so Kaleidos, beautiful coat. And we still are an open-source company. Back then, we would do projects for other people. We would just, for a fee, build your amazing technology, your product, whatever. You could be a startup or a big corporation. And we wanted, at some point, designers at Kaleidos, since we were pro open source, demanded that they had the same first-class citizenship that developers had in open source, with the toolkit and the tools and databases and frameworks and whatnot right. They felt that they were lagging behind in terms of choices. And since there was no proper real-time collaboration, design, and prototyping tool in open source, they asked if they could use Figma, breaking their sacred rule of only using open source because we do believe it means not only in ends. So tools matter. These tools do matter for us. And we have this very existential crisis at a company called Kaleidos Open Source, that's the full name, where our beloved designers, which we respected and admired and loved, were asking, were begging to be as productive as developers in their daily work. And so they asked to have that exception, basically. And they asked for Figma because there was no other choice. It was obvious that they were going to ask for Figma. And so we understood the pain. Of course, we did, because we're not psychopaths or perhaps, and we conceded, but with one condition, that we will build the open-source Figma killer. So this would be a temporary solution. And on top of that, we didn't want to create just a clone, like an open-source clone or something that's proprietary and always play catch up. You know, the story that happens a lot like a pale reflection that it's open source, so it's good. We haven't done that ever with all the open source product, which is Taiga. It's an agile tool. It's not a clone of anything. It's its own thing. So Penpot should be its own thing. And to do that, we had to go beyond Figma. And to go beyond Figma, we wanted to make sure that it was not only for designers, it was not a UX UI tool for collaboration between designers, but between designers and developers. So we started building that. Initially, it was called UXbox. Pretty bad name for many trademark issues there. But yet two years ago, we renamed that to Penpot, actually. It's the logo. It was always there, which is a matter of saying, okay, what's the name of the logo? That's a Penpot. Okay, let's call it Penpot. We announced that we were doing that seriously at FOSDEM 2020. So that's in Brussels, this big event. By the way, what happened with OSCON? It's dead now, right? Anyway, we in Europe, we still have FOSDEM, and it's 6000 7000 hackers meeting in a weekend. And we announced that we were doing this for SERIOUS like for real, this was happening. And so, initially, we started with a designer-first approach so that designers would feel familiar with see, from the territory there, they could migrate and get the UI, the productivity, and all that. But once we got to that point, we needed to depart from that paradigm and make sure that developers would feel at home in such a tool. And that means changing what the tool does, how it behaves, how the feedback loop is shaped. But also, what do you mean by design, and what do you mean by code? And that is what we've been building for two years now. And when Adobe acquired Figma, it was this super timing. We were very lucky, extremely lucky, because it caught us by surprise, as everyone, I think, but not unprepared, because we had been building a designer's first experience. So that when designers were desperately looking for alternative because they were. It was a big emotional distress. It's nothing like I've ever seen. After an acquisition like Microsoft acquired GitHub, it looked like it was this kind of distress. This was bigger. Yeah. And it hasn't faded away, by the way, if our metrics tell us something, is that it didn't fade away. It was not just one day that people felt sad, and then they go on with their lives. The next day. No, it's a long-lasting effect. So they found out for the first time an open-source design and prototyping tool that was actually quite neat and feature-complete. It lacked a couple of things like advanced components and auto layout. But all in all, it was super valid, a solid alternative. And their developers, their developer peers, were loving hard for it. So they started trying it out, and they found that they like it. And they then invited developers. And, of course, developers were super excited about an open-source design tool that welcomed them. So before Figmagate, which is how we call that internally, we were having great traction. We were having our series. We had our Series A, all that stuff. So we had all the metrics that you would expect from a startup, building the community, building the contribution cycle, having an honest conversation across social media, and being quite fast in terms of features being added to the tool. So we had all that, and we could prove that we were worthy of an alternative. But I also have to say, and that made that the acquisition just propel that the skyrocket and brought us two years from the future in a single day that's September 15. I will never forget that date because, actually, we had an offsite event. We were all in one place having a strategic hands-on offsite events. And we had a great party that night because Adobe was obviously the worst possible acquirer for Figma. Or the best, if you look at Penpot.
Robbie Wagner: [14:45] Yeah, I think there's a lot of hatred of Adobe for many, many years of them doing things that people don't like.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [14:54] But they had 20 billion to spend.
Chuck Carpenter: [14:57] Right. Exactly. Well, it's like you can't beat them. Join them ideology. And Adobe has applied that same strategy many times over. AEM, Adobe Experience Manager that was an acquisition thing to get an actual CMS into their system because they couldn't do it right. I mean, there wasn't Flash and Fireworks an acquisition as well from Macromedia?
Robbie Wagner: [15:20] Yup.
Chuck Carpenter: [15:20] They did that before too. So there's definitely a history of acquisition over trying to create a competitive product or iterate an existing established product. They kind of tend to think that we're the Adobe, you just are going to stick with us, and then if it doesn't happen, they just go get you. So I guess if you were a Figma employee or founder with a lot of shares, it's a pretty great thing. But outside of that.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [15:48] Okay. But I have a question for you. This defensive move, sort of the defensive acquisition, I totally get it in terms of mind share brand awareness and all that. It was now impossible for Adobe and Adobe XD to play catch up. Everyone was saying we had previous tweets saying the only tools that prove they can move fast are Figma and Penpot. What about Adobe XD? So we had those tweets early in the year. And also, from Figma's point of view, I have my own theories that perhaps they had this series D, sorry, series E last year, 10 billion valuation sounded like a pre-IPO to me. The recession sort of looms, and someone gets nervous about growth and not being able to deliver. I don't know. That's my theory. I don't have inside information. But why 20 billion? 20 billion tells us something we're missing. Someone is a fool. Either I'm a fool, or someone high up in the hierarchy at Adobe is a fool. I'm not sure I prefer to think I'm a fool because 20 billion is a ton of money. It's 50 arr. Yeah. So I have my own theory. But do you have any comments on why 20 billion?
Chuck Carpenter: [17:09] I'd say I'm out of my depth in terms of trying to, like, quantify some of these valuations that obviously occurred early in booms and when VCs had tons of money, and that was as soon as eight to twelve months ago. And so you are pushing these valuations so early in the raise cycles for some of these companies that, like, yeah, how are you ever going to necessarily become profitable based on some of those early assumptions? I don't know. I think there's probably some financial trickery happening in the background. And essentially for Adobe to get, yeah, there's some trickery and inflation to get cash injections at various times and then essentially for Adobe to squash this bug. While $20 billion is a lot of money, they've got a pretty long runway to sort of get there. And so it's kind of fine. Right. You'll have probably investors just trying to basically forcing Adobe to make them a profit. Like, no, this is going to be a profit center because we made some high bets on this. And so if you want it, you're going to have to really pay up. Something like that is my guess.
Robbie Wagner: [18:22] I think that it's purely arbitrarily. Having not been educated on what actually happened, I'm thinking Figma was like, we're worth 10 billion. We've been valued at that. That's what we've been raising at. If you really want us, pay us double. And then they were probably like, okay. I think they were trying to stick to their guns of, like, we don't really want to be acquired. We feel like we're doing a good job, but if you pay us a ridiculous amount of money, we'll do it. And then they were like, okay, we can do that.
Chuck Carpenter: [18:51] Yeah. And once an offer like that goes to the board, everybody is going to say, yes, you're going to get it. Doesn't matter what the CEO wants to do.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [19:00] Even if you were born with this quote saying, we are the anti-Adobe. Right. Because that was the beginning of Figma.
Chuck Carpenter: [19:10] Yeah.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [19:11] For people that are not familiar with this design ecosystem. I tried to tell them that what just happened is that if Emperor Palpatine just hired Princess Leia. Yeah. So what if you were part of the rebellion? What then? Because that is betrayal. The feeling is betrayal because there's actually some delusional designers perhaps told me we thought we were going to acquire Adobe. That Figma would lead us to the ultimate vendetta and be so big that delusional, childish dreams, they don't understand the relative sizes of companies. But that was a dream, and I mean, that didn't happen. Actually, quite the opposite. I have my theory here. Well, first, I think acquisition was plan B, not plan A. Plan A was IPO. It was natural for me to think about Figmas future. But then suddenly, things are not looking great, and you have to go to plan B because perhaps you're burning cash. I mean, it's quite a solid money-making company, but still, the expectations for any series a investor with evaluation of 20 billion are still high, right?
Chuck Carpenter: [20:24] Yeah.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [20:25] And that's still 25 arr. So still at all. So that's plan B. Now, who is going to acquire you? I think it's going to be either Adobe or Microsoft.
Chuck Carpenter: [20:33] Yeah.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [20:33] So that only two. But I think the reason Adobe was happy to send 20 billion through the wire was because and this is hinted at what they said the chairman, I think the president of Adobe said, which is super bullshit today, but not in the long term, is that Adobe thinks as a nation-state in terms of the long, long term. And the long, long term for Adobe is developers, not designers. Because, to be honest, Figma already owns pretty much like 80% of designers. So what is left is developers. And the ratio these days is one designer per eight developers. That's on average per team worldwide. So one designer, it used to be worse, it used to be one designer per 15 developers, but now full-time equivalents is one to eight. Our team is one to two. Super weird because we have this other way of building teams, but on average, it's one to eight. So you have eight times more developers out there that you could ask for some money. And Adobe is not famous. It's not well known to be a developer suite. So I think that the battleground and this is quite relevant for us since we are the bridge between designers and developers, is going to be the developer battleground that is going to be quite relevant in the next couple of years. Who will win the hearts of developers? We'll see, but I think we stand a pretty good chance.
Chuck Carpenter: [22:12] Yeah, I think that's a really smart, interesting play that I've never considered with these tools in particular because I do believe that in spite of some recessional things happening and whatnot around the marketplace for developers to get a job, I think that there's going to be more and more developers required worldwide, across all companies, whether you're a technology company or not. Technology is the next battlefront. It's a current battlefront, and it's only gaining more and more traction. There's a lot of people entering that career space to try to start filling that. And so, a massive niche is to give them improved developer tools. So that's exactly what Microsoft has done. They've pivoted over and instead trying to be the licensing company for Enterprise. They want to really address the developer space and the developer experience space. So Adobe looking at that market space, and like you said, the volume that's going to increase there, that really tracks for me. That makes a lot of sense of like because they do address a lot of verticals outside of just designers for the web, right? Like art in general, artists and digital artists and people in the photography space and all that, they're like covering that really well. But look at this entire group of individuals that basically get paid for their work, creative work. In a way, we're not addressing them. Dreamweaver is not doing it. So how else are we going to get there? That's interesting.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [23:50] I mean, if you look at how people, both sides address this acquisition, Adobe will tell their shareholders, look, we are getting, of course, they cannot say we're getting designers because that's not something to say to, you should have the designers. But so they're saying, we are getting developers on board. This is exciting for us, but Figma is not saying that. Figma's CEO is not saying that. They're saying we are getting the Adobe suite. They are not saying we are bringing developers on board because they don't have developers. Figma is not welcoming developers. You don't have the social log-in there if you want a signal. So I don't think anyone is being foolish here. But of course, after 20 billion acquisition, you need to go back to your choir and tell things they want to listen to and to support you with. But it's different perspectives of how the two companies sell this to their audience. Now, why we're excited at Penpot is that we were born with this code is design mindset. So we go for SVG as a native format. So it's 100% open standards, no translation. The design is a code. Of course, we have real-time collaboration. This is web-based and all that. I mean, that's a commodity now, right? And beyond that, of course, you get your auto layout, but with a twist. We're calling that layout flex. So it's already layout flex. Layout grid layout AI. Who cares? We just give code first, abstractions to whatever layout design is there. So designers are happy to just inject their behavioral rules, knowing that that is already valid code. And that, of course, opens up a ton of potential because then that bit of code can get into Githubs with no human intervention, and actually, full duplex, you could actually change that piece of CSS in your Git repo and change the design. Going back to Penpot, that is where the magic happens, and that is where design finally scales up. So I'm sure the competition will try and accelerate or make it easier for design to become code with the least loss in translation. But as long as there is translation, there is loss, and you have to sort out the full duplex. It's not just one way. We don't just want to accelerate design into code, but also, why not code into design. So we are looking at this AI, GPT, chat, whatever, and you think how people would actually code design just using code and that would be native to Penpot because it's just text file following standard rules. So I think I wouldn't be surprised if Figma very soon will start launching these experiments around bridging the gap between designers and coders. We hope to be able to make a point saying too late. You're now playing catch-up with us.
Chuck Carpenter: [27:06] Well, exactly what I was going to say. That's the exact point I was going to say is that even with this particular move, with the next big player in the space, they're already still going to be playing the catch-up game. Like, oh great, you got two-thirds of the way there, but you've still got to put resources and make some concerted efforts and also understanding your user base because maybe that's like a thing that's always been conflated for them, to begin with, is that they just don't get it. So it doesn't mean that this injection of cash is going to start to shift the paradigm there. Also, I wanted to kind of come back to one point that you made earlier, which is around the whole Figmagate occurs and you're seeing in your metrics, hey, why not just call it what it is you're seeing in your metrics that people made a shift and they're actually staying, they're staying to play. I think that's a testament to your product and the timing then because they're not coming on board to be like, I'm angry, and I'm going to try another thing, but also I'm lazy, and I don't want to learn something new, and I'm productive over here still, or I just still feel like this is effective. And not that I want to compare the two necessarily because obviously, it's a little different, but like Elon's takeover of Twitter, right, had a whole massive exodus to a degree. And yet I think the inverse has happened there and that lots of people either maintain their Twitter also or have just kind of come back because it's still kind of the spot to easily have these cross-boundary connections. And you can either go into your closed community, which, how is that different from Discord necessarily? Your like-minded, subject-minded community or you come back to the open thing. So it's interesting to say that this thing didn't really do it for us. So we're coming back to the thing in spite of the big bad Elon, and in your case, people are saying our cherished and loved tool now went down a different path. We came over to Penpot, and it's like we're very happy to be there.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [29:13] Well, I think there are two differences with the Twitter and Mastodon. By the way, in Figmagate, they call themselves refugees, like Figma refugees. So yeah, it's that type of vocabulary, it's their terms.
Chuck Carpenter: [29:26] That might be a little more a little extreme, but yeah, I enjoy it.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [29:31] That's how they felt. So I think two differences here. First, in our case, developers, those eight to one in the ratio, please don't forget that developers are lobbying hard. Like they have agency, and they have a ton of power. Too much power, in my opinion. That's my background. But too much power, too much decision-making power. And they are lobbying hard for Penpot because it's just the natural tool for them. Whether they understand the potential or not, it's what they prefer. So in that sense, if they have to choose amidst the Figmagate crisis, it's easy for them to stick with Penpot in the long term. So I think that's the difference with Mastodon instance in some ways that you have an extremely loyal outnumbering you audience in terms of developers. But then, what about designers? Because, after all, this is a UX/UI tool. We didn't want to make the mistake, and we didn't make that mistake. And now we are profiting from that, where people say if you're going to develop an open source and this is key, I think this resonates with the audience and you. I hope people will tell us also investors. Very smart investors will tell us not so-smart things. If you're going to develop an open-source design tool, you have to go first with developers because that's where your contribution community is. And we say not at all. Sorry, but not sorry. Because we need designers to feel excited about the tool. We need a beautiful onboarding experience, really productive experience for designers. First, we have time to get developers on board. That's the long-term strategy, of course, but first, we need to make sure that designers really appreciate what we're doing. That whenever they first encounter Penpot, they see it. They feel it's meant for them, not as a gift from engineers. Let's take a look. This is what we built for you, without asking you any questions, but actually from designers and developers working together. So when the Figmagate happened, that is what we had. So the transition, the migration, was quite smooth because it didn't feel like they were faking their interest here. They were truly excited, and there was many reasons. First, the tool is quite polished, so it was a nice experience. Second, they understood the value of SVG and owning your design forever, like no strings attached. Worst case scenario, Penpot goes down. No worries, your design is yours forever. It's just open standards, web standards. So. No window locking and then the open-source nature. Okay, my peer developers are excited about that. But also, the collaboration ethos between design code is something that's a win-win for me. So what is wrong with Penpot? Nothing is wrong with them. But what perhaps the only thing is I want everything now. I don't want to wait. I want that promise to be fulfilled. We're working on it. So that's the reason why designers did have this wow or aha moment because it was always meant for them, not for engineers. Okay. And I think it took us. We made some sacrifices along the way, meaning that we had to say no to some help, financial help from investors that would be obsessed about developer-only, developer-first communities. And we said, look, this is a hybrid community, and we need designers to lead the conversation and to fill the product is theirs. And we were right. Okay, so I'm happy to say that, in the end, it was the right approach.
Chuck Carpenter: [33:20] So, first of all, then, as an open source project and trying to be transparent in that way, do you have a public roadmap?
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [33:31] Oh, yeah, you can go to our Taiga page. So you go to our GitHub repo if you're a developer. Typically, that's where you go, and you see a beautiful read-me page, and you have links to every relevant resource that there is. Then you have community.penpot.com. Community.Penpot is our community space. So it's discourse forum, quite tweaked in terms of the eye candiness. And then you go to our Taiga page and you see the backlog and the sprint, the current sprint. So many times the team is actually pointing to user story that is they're working on during the sprint or just going to the backlog. So people can see also the priority of whatever they most of the times what they ask for is already in the backlog. And it's just a matter of looking at the priority. And since we have onboarding surveys and we ask questions and we have interviews, we listen to the community, and we manage to get, I think, the right priority. So the two biggest top priority feature requests that we have that might be maybe blocking some migration from designers or from developers is the auto layout. Figma's auto layout, which is a great feature and also some way of having advanced components. So all the design tokens, the variables, the way to have design system scale up somehow because they also have this glass ceiling, and they are frustrated at the moment, designers are frustrated that they cannot scale up. But that is for Penpot's January release, which is finally exiting better. So we will have layout flex, which is, I believe, much better than auto layout and advanced components. Then we have to go back and ask the question you have now that now really, what do you need to migrate? Because there are no excuses left, so I'm really looking forward to having that conversation when the two clearly from our service data points, everything, the feature request that looks like they only care about that, it's the only thing that is blocking that migration are delivered then what? Because I'm sure, there's going to be more stuff.
Chuck Carpenter: [35:41] There's always more stuff. I think we know in software that nothing is ever finished. And then, to regress a little bit back to that, I have a second question, and it's around the fact that it's an open-source project. I don't know a ton about the option, at least what I'm gleaning on your site, and I know I can sign up and I'm a part of kickstarting off a cloud-based instance or something of that like that. It makes me wonder, like, do you have the Supabase-like model too, where if you want to self-host and run the product locally within your own network, can you do that?
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [36:16] Of course. This is the open-source product that you can sort of imagine it is, otherwise, we'll be kind of faking it. So we have the SaaS, the public cloud, to make it super easy for people to try it out and just be there and be productive and have their work there. But we have thousands of self-hosted instances of Penpot across the world. If you think about this, this is probably the last missing block in software pipeline. I mean, that matters, and everyone agrees that design is more important than ever. That design is eating software faster than software is eating the world. That software is a key differentiator, that software is a key element in the critical path of innovation. However you put it, design is key, and yet it remains like outside the software building pipeline like in terms of tooling and full control. So people are deploying Penpot by the thousands and what we're seeing is that two things in terms of demographics. One is bigger companies that are doing that. So the average team size is twice as big as the SaaS. Or if everyone is more into robust statistics, p 95, it's actually much better. It's seven team size on SaaS and 14 on-premise. But also the migration is coming from what? People not even using a tool, this being the first one they're actually deploying, and if they're using one, they're using Sketch. So there is a leakage there from Sketch deployment, which is the only sort of deck stop within corporate world. It's only for Mac. So it still has some limitations, but it's the only thing that some big corporations are allowed to have. And they would think, okay, but we really would like to use Figma, but we can't. But now Penpot turns up, and they say okay, that's it, we can have the best of all the worlds. So sure, we make it very easy whether it's with Docker or Podman or whatever. And then there are some on-premise as a service companies that are also offering you to one-click self-deploy into a cloud that is not exactly yours, but it feels like it's your own infrastructure. I think there is a huge advantage for Penpot in the on-premise world, and so we're making it super easy for people to apply it.
Robbie Wagner: [38:55] Yeah, I am very happy to hear all of that because I am working for a client right now where everything must be internal.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [39:03] Okay.
Chuck Carpenter: [39:04] We experience that a lot.
Robbie Wagner: [39:05] So we've been having this problem of, like, they use Sketch, and the sketch files are passed around. They get out of date. You can't collaborate on it. So yeah, I'm going to be talking with a lot of people later about how we can make this better. So I'm super excited.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz:[39:21] This is a very familiar story to us, that use case. I'm not saying it's fantastic. I'm sorry, I feel you right? But it happens across the world. It happens particularly at big organizations. And that means that hundreds, teams of hundreds of people that are stuck with something that they really don't like. But it's the only way. And Penpot is so refreshing. And also the desktop app people are just deploying Penpot as a desktop app. You won't really enjoy the real-time collaboration there because you're giving your IP address to who really but all those weird use cases, solo players also. You can do that.
Chuck Carpenter: [40:04] Yeah. So here's the thing that we do a lot of work with what I call legacy enterprise organizations. And so they're not technology first. They're not SaaS organizations necessarily. They're employing like e-commerce into their org or whatever else. But I mean, you're talking about orgs that are, you know, 50, 100 years old, and they've just got very different processes. Absolutely. But they have the need for online, and they just cannot get off of on-prem data centers. And the cloud is just a security concern that people that have been there for 20-plus years can't get their heads around, and it's a really disparaging fight. And so they will bring things like GitLab or GitHub Enterprise and all these other developer-centric applications on-prem, and so here you go. For their designers, this is like a ready-made solution. So I love to hear that because, again, like Robbie, we've had a lot of experience with clients that are exactly in their space, in this space, and they see all the talk and what's hot in the 10% of the developer world. But the reality is so many of us also work in these more legacy constraints and having options to improve tools and process in SDLC. And I think that design is a key part of that. The SDLC have definitely had a lot of experience as in design being a key element throughout that process and acceptance testing and things like that too. So again, being engrained in the process early on. Having software that works for the team seems amazingly key for that exact use case.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [41:49] Our numbers say that when we interview designers working at those, as you say, legacy corporations, those UX UI designers will tell us that they are already using Penpot. They will tell us that it was their peer developers that told them about Penpot. Nine out of ten designers in that world admit that this was pre-Figmagate. Perhaps now it's different but pre-Figmagate. We had this nine out of ten, and we get it because it can see a developer in constant exploratory mode looking for frameworks, database, anything that just enhances and promotes and evolves whatever, any workflow they want to go in and then find out about Penpot because of the natural exposure, they get to it. Perhaps those designers were explored in exploratory mode years ago, but not anymore because why they would do that, they're trapped, and they get this fresh new tool from the developers, and they try it out, and they say this is actually amazing. And developers feels quite happy because they are helping their design peers and helping themselves too. This is a win-win again, and it's quickly going to be deployed and tested. And then what happens is that in those on-prem scenarios, the developer unknowingly starts using more and more Penpot because it's meant for them too. So initially developer just was thinking about better tools, better workflows for the people, not for me. This is just open source. They can trust it. But what we're seeing is that designers are enjoying how much now developers are going into the designs, messing around, taking what they need, leaving whatever. So in a way, these legacy corporations are per capita or per second or per some unit of measure, are accelerating faster in terms of new, more modern workflows than others because there's so much to gain for them still their legacy corporations. But this developer lobbies for Penpot to a designer, designer accepts that and then invites developers into a process, and then everyone's involved. That is something that we are seeing more and more on-premise. So, looking forward to that.
Robbie Wagner: [44:13] Yeah, for sure. Me too. But let's go a little bit into some whatnot here with the time we have left. I'm very curious to hear about the story you mentioned where you wrote a role-playing game and got expelled for that. Tell us about that.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [44:33] Yeah, I was 13 years old with school, and I think I had read The Lord Rings a couple of years earlier than that. But most importantly, I was into role-playing games. So Lord Rings, Dungeons and Dragons, Paranoia, and Traveler. What else? They call it Kuflu, things like that. Right. And I love math, physics, and all that because that was vocational. So I decided to write down a role-playing game. I won't go into specifics about the theme of that role-playing game, but it was a role-playing game, and it was all about charts and numbers and stats, but there was some literature there. Okay. And it happened that the friend took it and handed over to a teacher, and a teacher looked at it and was, like, outraged at whatever she saw there. So I was expelled. The thing here is that I was formally expelled on no basis. Like, I would go and say, why are you expelling me if the rules of the school states that this is just mid-level warning level, so perhaps temporary expel and not the ultimate expel? So I just have to find a new school, right? But they would just twist the rules in front of me. I was 13 years old with the director of the school arguing about the rules that they have set. And I was confronted with the harsh reality of that whoever sets the rules can twist the rules and just go along with it. So I learned a lesson that day. Like, I was rationally arguing that the specific product that I have created could not fit into the long permanent expulsion, but actually just in two to three days. But, yeah, this was a role-playing game when you were 13 years old. You have your own fantasies and your dreams, and you have friends and varying degrees of sexual maturity, and, you know, you just write what you think. It's fine for a role-playing game. And a few days later, we got a call. So I was formally expelled. I was not going back. The board of teachers had just sat down and said. We cannot expel this child. This is so wrong. So I was readmitted, so it was fun. I got back and got to finish my school and went to physics and all that, but I am glad that it happened because I was never ashamed of what I had done. And I saw this authority power playing by their own rules and not adhering to any code of honor or loyalty or consistency or honesty. It was all about what they thought it would be good to tell other people about. An exemplary measure here. So, yeah, that happened, and fortunately, my parents didn't were really concerned about being expelled, but not about what I had done.
Robbie Wagner: [48:00] Yeah, it's very interesting.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [48:03] I'm sorry, I don't want to go into the details of the role-playing itself, but.
Robbie Wagner: [48:07] No, that's fine. That's fine. We don't want to put you on the spot. Everyone should feel comfy here, but kind of, I guess, around the same lines there. Of all the role-playing and everything you mentioned, you're a big Tolkien fan.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [48:22] Yeah.
Robbie Wagner: [48:23] So tell us a little bit about brewing your own mead. I think that kind of goes along with that theme too. It seems like you're trying to live out a lot of the things from the stories in your hobbies.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [48:34] Yeah, of course. This is a cool (unintelligible) here with Angela and my wife. We started with beer, but I think there's so much you can do in an urban space in terms of the end-to-end process with beer. But mead does allow you to just do everything. I mean, except for harvesting the honey.
Chuck Carpenter: [48:55] So you don't have bees on your roof?
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [48:58] No, we do have bees coming around in our garden, and I like to see them. I think that the lonely type the solitary bees. There's some of them. So I fantasize about their stories and what they're looking here or whatever, but yeah, so actually, yesterday, we had our winter batch. So if it's pure mead, we call that Ada Lovelace. And if it's Melomel or fruity meat, we call that those batches. Sorsha which is from Willow, the Princess warrior.
Chuck Carpenter: [49:33] Yeah.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [49:34] So it's Ada or Sorsha. So this one was Ada. And so we have four different types of honey and yeast and water and everything, and our fermenter. And we have it in the terrace, and it's actually quite delicious. We have sent some of our mead and bottles to tastings, and people say this is professional stuff. Who's behind this? It's like, well, this is just, this is from our terrace. But yeah, we like it. And it's just fun, really. But since we are Angela is a physicist, too, and we like to have all these measures and gravity and all that, and think and experiment, this end-to-end process, I really enjoy. And also you get to have some great stuff to drink.
Robbie Wagner: [50:17] Very cool. Yeah. I haven't tried anything myself. I was going to start a distillery and do my own whiskey and stuff and then realize how much work it was and all the laws around it and stuff, and was like, no, I'm not going to mess with that.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [50:32] If you're familiar with beer brewing, then mead is not that different. It's fermentation. So it's the same yeast concept. Different yeast, perhaps, and different conditions, but it's the same process. Distillery is quite a different avenue there.
Chuck Carpenter: [50:51] Yeah, there's quite a bit more danger in the high ethanol, so there's that aspect of it. But I'm from Kentucky, so we just drink it straight. It doesn't really hurt me, but probably Robbie.
Robbie Wagner: [51:04] Yeah.
Chuck Carpenter: [51:05] So, are you in Madrid?
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [51:06] Yeah, I'm in Madrid. Yeah Spain?
Chuck Carpenter: [51:08] Yeah. Okay.
Chuck Carpenter: [51:09] Yeah. I knew you were in Spain. Wasn't sure, but I guess it makes sense.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [51:13] Well, I mean, it could be Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Bilbao. Many great cities.
Chuck Carpenter: [51:18] Aren't you supposed to say Barcelona?
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [51:20] Oh, really? Yeah.
Chuck Carpenter: [51:24] I've spent about a month or so in Spain.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [51:26] Barcelona, of course.
Chuck Carpenter: [51:28] Yeah. Twelve years ago. I spent some time in Barcelona as well, and so the Catalan and all of that. I stayed with some friends from Valencia.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [51:37] Very good. You go with the 'th'?
Chuck Carpenter: [51:40] Yes, a lot of time in the southwest of Spain. Actually loved it there.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [51:44] Just southwest. So Cadiz, Huelva, Malaga.
Chuck Carpenter: [51:48] Actually stayed right outside of Cadiz.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [51:50] Wow. Cadiz is beautiful.
Chuck Carpenter: [51:52] Sevilla also great.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [51:54] You know Spain pretty well?
Chuck Carpenter: [51:56] A little bit, yeah. I did not get to go, so it's funny. So the year that I was, there is the first year season that Cristiano Ronaldo was signed to Madrid. Okay. I couldn't get tickets to Real Madrid. Yeah, like 2009. And I did get to go to Barcelona game, though, and it's an amazing atmosphere and all of that. Not my favorite team by any means, but are you a football-soccer fan? I mean, what's going on right now?
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [52:26] Yeah, so I used to be. And actually, in the old days, I would have my role-playing game session at the local role-playing club in my hometown. And then at the end of that one pie, the Masquerade or role-playing Lord of the Rings or whatever, my dad actually would take me in the car, or we would go to the Santiago Bernabéu, which is the Real Madrid stadium. So I had both extremes. They're very much intellectual fantasy challenge and then the brutal sports fan. The thing is that I got wary of the hooligans. So this was 20 years ago. It was a time where I was not enjoying the chance and the aggressiveness of just a small portion of the fans, but still noisy and loud. Not anymore, but at the time, it was important because they were just creating this vibe in the stadium. So why I'm here? I'm not enjoying those supporting chants or anything. So I decided Real Madrid was not playing super nice also, so it was a bit boring. So I just it faded away. So I'm a huge fan, but it's fun of a good soccer match.
Chuck Carpenter: [53:44] Yeah.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [53:45] And of course, I feel for Real Madrid and my parents and everything. We got that Real Madrid in the blood. But I was there in the stadium for years and then decided, no, it's not for me.
Chuck Carpenter: [53:58] Not for me. Yeah, you were pre-Galácticos. And so things obviously changed then. And there's been quite a bit of success since then, so yeah, that's true. I didn't realize that was a thing in Spain as well. But I know internationally in general.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [54:13] 20 years ago, so it's been a time.
Chuck Carpenter: [54:16] England went through their thing in the sort of, like, expunged a lot of that out.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [54:22] Yeah.
Chuck Carpenter: [54:23] The only places I've ever still kind of experienced that is Italy, can still very much kind of be that. I mean, there's like plexiglass, there.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [54:31] Tifosi.
Chuck Carpenter: [54:32] Between you. Exactly. Yeah. And then in Argentina, but they put so much space between the field and the players, it's almost like you're in a different place. I always want to ask that, especially of any European guests, just because I am very much interested, involved, and I'm a fanatic around football, soccer. I know this is a cool thing right now in the US. To be like it's called soccer. You didn't invent it. So I don't know. But yeah, what's my feeling and take and I have lots of friends in Europe too. And there's a lot less people than I expected originally 20 years ago that are into sport than I thought. But if they are, then tends to be.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [55:18] I'm into different sports now.
Chuck Carpenter: [55:20] Oh, yeah? What are you into?
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [55:22] Archery.
Chuck Carpenter: [55:23] Oh, yeah. Tried that once. Bruised the hell out of my forearm. So good for you.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [55:29] You got a bad coach, then. You got a bad coach if you have that.
Chuck Carpenter: [55:32] Yeah, because when I pulled back and then it like hit me in the arm a couple of times. So I had like big bruises there.
Robbie Wagner: [55:38] And got to put the guard on your arm, right?
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [55:40] Yeah.
Chuck Carpenter: [55:41] That's for babies.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [55:44] I mean, you're supposed not to hit your arm. Yeah. That still is a nice safety measure to have.
Chuck Carpenter: [55:50] Yeah, indeed.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [55:51] Traditional archery in particular, because archery is huge. So many, many different disciplines. But it might give us chat, archery. But yeah.
Chuck Carpenter: [56:00] So one of the questions Robbie had on here, and I think it's a very obvious one we should bring about, have you seen the new Amazon Lord of the Ring show?
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [56:09] I think I'm going to be unexpected here because, you know, I'm a big Tolkien nerd. I really am. I don't need to prove it. I know I am. And I haven't watched the original trilogy by Peter Jackson.
Chuck Carpenter: [56:26] Wow, that is interesting.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [56:29] Yeah. Why that happened is, do you know, the Bakshi films, the ones that were animated in the 80s? So I watched those and then went back to my reading of the Lord of the Rings because that's what I do every other year. And I could not picture my own Galadriel or my own Aragorn or my own Hobbiton, on my own Edoras. I had a hard time in my mind while I was reading. I was used to just see it. And for a couple of years, I could not see anything other than the Bakshi film. So by the time the Peter Jackson trilogy was announced and I'm in the Tolkien Society in Spain, so I'm a founding member, so I know all the people, everyone was excited except me because I said if that happened with the animation film, what could happen with them? Do I need it? How many years is it going to take for me to refresh my own? Because it changes every time. So I decided not to watch that trilogy just to protect my own mental image of Middle Earth elves, people's, accents, colors, atmospheres. And I haven't regret that. So the Amazon series was a different question. If it was going to be a great TV series but not loyal or faithful to the canon, then I would watch it. We have this arrangement here with Angela. If it's going to be a great fantasy TV series with no relation whatsoever to Tolkien's world, then who cares? We can watch it and enjoy it. It turns out it was neither a faithful TV series nor a good TV series. So I haven't watched it. I could watch it because I now know that it's just not random stuff, but not particularly.
Chuck Carpenter: [58:29] They're taking liberties, right? And they're creating there.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [58:32] Yeah, liberties are great to have. But I've spoken to my Tolkien friends, and they say it's hard to find Tolkien in the series. It's hard to find it. You have to be really, like, trying hard, and you shouldn't be trying hard. It should be obvious. And so, I don't know. Perhaps I will watch it. But I don't have any comments. I have official comments. We were talking that you won't have that for me because you won't have even a commentary from the original trilogy. Of course. Not to mention the Hobbit films.
Chuck Carpenter: [59:02] Right.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [59:03] Those were not even in the question, so sorry.
Robbie Wagner: [59:09] No worries. Yeah, that's fair.
Chuck Carpenter: [59:11] There's no wrong answer to these things about yourself, you know. By the way.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [59:16] Yeah.
Chuck Carpenter: [59:17] What's your favorite color? Wrong. Blue.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [59:20] Well, my favorite color is 761CEC. It's an hexadecimal. Okay. That's the kind of purple.
Robbie Wagner: [59:29] Nice.
Chuck Carpenter: [59:29] Okay. Interesting. Real Madrid purple. We're going to tie back to these subconscious things.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [59:34] No.
Robbie Wagner: [59:36] We are a little bit over time here. Is there anything we miss talking or anything you'd like to plug before we end here?
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [59:43] At first, I really had a great time. Thank you for inviting me. Of course. I'm looking forward to seeing what people say about Penpot GA in January. So it's really in a few weeks because we're going to deliver a ton of great stuff. Inspect mode, flex layouts, advanced components, and things that we're going to start developing the plug-in architecture. And I think we're going to get even more love from the community. And since we are very transparent and quite honest about what we're doing, we're not having any hidden agendas or anything. We publish everything. We have public roadmaps. We have frequent live streams. I think we'll get even more people drawn to helping us. So, no, just looking forward to that. Really excited to see what people say about our next May release.
Chuck Carpenter: [01:00:35] I'm looking forward to Evangelizing.
Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz: [01:00:37] Cool. Thank you so much.
Robbie Wagner: [01:00:39] Yeah, same. All right, well, thanks, everybody, for listening. If you liked it, please subscribe, leave us some five-star reviews. We appreciate it, and we will catch you next time.
Chuck Carpenter: [01:00:53] Thanks for listening to Whiskey Web and Whatnot. This podcast is brought to you by Ship Shape and produced by Podcast Royale. If you like this episode, consider sharing it with a friend or two and leave us a rating, maybe a review. As long as it's good.
Robbie Wagner: [01:01:08] You can subscribe to future episodes on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. For more info about Ship Shape and this show, check out our website at shipshape.io.