Meet Backmeupplz from Canada, Vancouver. He is one of the best streamers on LiveEdu.tv. He successfully completed the Premium Project tutorial, “How to create a URL shortener in NodeJS” and received amazing feedback from the viewers. His journey has been full of adventure until now as he has contributed to more than 20 companies. He has also launched 25 products in more than 40 countries. His passion has enabled him to reach more than 10 million users combined.
His success story comes with many unanswered questions and that’s why we managed to get in contact with Backmeupplz.
Let’s hear more from Backmeupplz.
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Real Name: Nikita Kolmogorov
Alter ego: Backmeupplz
Location: Canada, Vancouver
Profession: Professional Business Troubleshooter
Channel: Backmeupplz Channel
Q: Hey, Backmeupplz! Tell us something about yourself.
I grew up in a relatively small western siberian city called Nizhnevartovsk fighting freezing temperatures below -50 degree celsius and sometimes bears. I spent my first 18 years there and then moved to Canada to study at UBC. I spent 2 years on Computer Science program, took all the Computer Science courses for 4 years and was left with biology, chemistry, physics, etc. What would you do in my shoes?
I started my first company that was building mobile apps, first for iOS, then for Android. We started writing backends as well but closed it down because working for 16 hours a day turned out to be pretty time consuming. Since 2014 I’ve been helping young startups and well established businesses to gather development teams, setting up management and leading development for 6-18 months.
Q: Tell us how your journey started. Did you get into your profession accidentally?
To be honest, I wanted to become a software engineer. I got my first computer at the age of 7 (thanks Dad!). My first series of mini tutorials was for one of the largest Russian hacker websites, it was published when I was in my fourth grade. I left programming for 6 years or so and was mostly playing video games. I got to the top level in WoW, explored all the zones and finished my finals. Fortunately, no Russian universities accepted my exam choice, Russian, English and Math, I could get into linguistics school but back then I already had an offer from UBC.
In my third year, I got everything I needed and started freelancing. I got my job done right and received more offers than I could handle, so I hired more developers to collaboratively do the coding. I wouldn’t say that I got into my profession by accident. However I can’t say that I have exceptional knowledge in Math or Physics, probably soft skills played a crucial role in my journey. Like working on a radio station and organizing flash mobs (more than 300 people participated in one of them).
Q. What made you select iOS as your first programming language?
I chose Objective-C because I had a Macbook Air (thanks Dad!) and I felt like I needed to start with something. Xcode was the easiest IDE I could handle, so I choose that. I actually started with game development and was working on an infinite runner game where you play as a brutal biker with shotgun in a zombie apocalypse. It consisted of hordes of zombies, you ride through them, slaying everything on your way. I also tried working in a team of developers on a game about cats where the Earth is overpopulated with cats and countries started to throw them over the borders. You are to play as a border officer with large boot kicking the cats back to their countries of origin.
Q. Which platforms did you use to achieve your goals? Any special mentions.
I used Xcode and that was pretty much it. However, when I started my company we used Bitbucket for git collaboration because it had a unlimited number of private repositories, Trello for development planning, Skype for video calls, HipChat for communication and plenty of other tools like Dropbox, Email, Google Analytics, etc. Oh, and I used to build games with Cocos2D way before the SpriteKit and Metal era.
Q. What is the role of LiveEdu.tv in your success?
I wouldn’t say that I’m successful on LiveEdu.tv, but I can say that good content makes things way easier. When I originally started on Twitch I had over 5,000 followers, but then my account got banned because I used to stream sitting in chatroulette. My account actually got banned twice, so I had to create two extra ones. Later on, people lost interest in development streams on Twitch and LiveEdu (aka LiveCoding) appeared on the horizon, so I had to join the leaving train and started streaming on LiveEdu. I love talking to an audience who watch my streams most of them are very smart and they do not only bring in good suggestions, but also help with debugging the code.
In all, I would suggest working on the content first and it should be interesting to watch. Webcam also makes a difference, because it makes everything feel more human. Don’t worry about the mic but investing $50 or $100 on mic gets your audio quality to the top. I love high-quality budget mics since the time I worked on radio.
Q: How long have you been on LiveEdu.tv? How’s your experience so far?
I’ve been on LiveEdu.tv since it was called LiveCoding.tv. I’m not sure how long it was, a year or two maybe. My opinion is that the most important part of this particular service is it’s audience. It’s way better than any other streaming websites. Probably because coders are the target audience and not gamers. For the Tech side, things can definitely be improved, but I see that guys work on LiveEdu.tv a lot and this fact definitely supports my hopes for this platform.
Q: Tell us about your work? Any special mentions? Do you love teaching?
I currently work as an independent tech consultant. You know, boring stuff, scrolling through thousands of resumes, conducting hundreds of interviews, doing team building, supervising developers so that they don’t mess up the architecture of a product, helping business talk to developers and vice versa, meeting deadlines, fitting budgets, negotiating with clients, making sure developers don’t use PHP, etc. The most exciting part of my job is to see the product in the hands of users especially when there are more than a million of them. Analytics became my passion recently.
I actually love teaching. I didn’t mention that before, but I taught iOS development in a local boot camp for two years and recently decided to move on. You know, teaching the same material every 8 weeks is not difficult but exhausting. I keep teaching people around me though. For instance, I got two teams of juniors for one of my projects “Controlio”. Part of them was learning Swift from me, and the other Node.js. It went pretty smoothly, I’d say.
Q: What do you love about programming? Which programming languages have you tried?
I love programming because I’m into optimization and automatization of business processes. I love making people’s lives better with any piece of software. When I developed voicybot.com I was stumped by how many users found it useful (more than 1 500 000). I’m just a geek like most of the developers. I love coding something and see it scale. Sometimes it’s like playing lego, you take parts of the puzzles and piece it together. Every single time I receive an extra dose of dopamine.
Q: So, which project are you working on? Which platform you are focusing your development time and why?
I’m working on two main projects right now. “Controlio” a communication tool between businesses and clients, and “LineApp” an electronic queue system.
The first one is built for iOS and Android in order to cover most of the market. We built mobile apps natively and server in Node.js almost MEAN stack, except for A. Probably we went with native languages because when I started development (two years ago) there was no cross-platform frameworks which was advanced enough. We also used Texture from Facebook on iOS which is astonishingly awesome.
LineApp is currently in design stage and it is what you think it is. Simple system for people standing in a line. Actually, not standing anymore. It involves using text messages and smart algorithms (machine learning, wooooooo) to manage all the customers without the need to physically stand in a line. Yes, text a number and get your estimated wait time while going to do other things (like drinking a cup of coffee or chatting with your bros).
Q: What is the role of new products in the market? Is the market saturated with new products or there is still a lot of space left?
Asking serious questions here! IT is rushing through our daily life like a SpaceX rocket (or Soviet one, you got the analogy) and one can only guess what is going to be the next big thing. Even though there are hundreds of new products on Product Hunt and probably thousands of them daily, they all still cover only 80% of the market at most. Every single time you hear somebody complaining about something on the street, take note. Almost any issue can be solved with the use of technology. I’d say that there is plenty of space for thought and new entrepreneurs out there and will still be this way forever.
Q. Did you work on Controlio? Tell us more about it.
Yes, I did and I consider it as my main project. As I already mentioned, I’ve been working on it for the last 2 years and finally released it for both iOS and Android. I wrote most of the iOS and the server code myself on the Bay Area during vacation and business trips. I just love the atmosphere there. The Android app was developed by a very good friend of mine who volunteered because he believed in the product.
We used a version of Controlio ourselves back in my devshop days. You know, when you have 20 developers working daily in two hemispheres it’s pretty hard to keep track of them. So we developed an internal Twitter where all the employees could Tweet about what they’ve done during the day. So instead of waking up to make 20 or more calls and spend half of the day doing it, I simply looked at their results and verified that everything worked. At some point, I spent a week without communicating with anybody from my company.
We started to open the access to our clients and it went well. I stopped making unlimited calls to our clients explaining the progress because they could see everything when it was convenient for them. Controlio is the same solution but for the mass market. It has everything you need to keep track of your employees and keep clients updated. For projects, there is a status, feed of updates with images and progress bar. That’s it, no further complications.
Q: How do you think Livestreaming adds value to the Society and coding learners?
Back when I started in my development days, there was too little information on programming on the Internet. In general, people have to read books to learn a new programming language. Then people started to dig into open source code to get most of the design patterns and methodologies. Now is the era of live streaming, you can literally not only follow the thought process of more experienced developers but also ask questions and interact with them! Such a great time to live and learn.
Q: Why would you recommend LiveEdu.tv to others?
LiveEdu.tv is my primary streaming platform, and I recommend it to everyone I know so this question might somehow be incorrect due to the conflict of interests. However, to answer your question; Yes. Every time I talk to newbie developer I give them the suggestion to watch some livestreams to learn from people with higher programming levels.
Q: Is there anything you want to end with?
To anybody who is still contemplating to pick up a programming language or not. Do it as soon as possible because very soon there will be no way surviving without this skill in society. Believe me, you will enjoy it as everyone does. After building your first piece of software you won’t stop and it will mark the beginning of a new life for you, smarter, stronger, faster and more efficient. To the ones who are still in school, stop playing video games and start programming. It’s way more fun; and if there is any advice I would give my younger self, it would be to start developing as soon as possible.
I’m a huge fan of Pewdiepie and I’d like to end this with my favorite quote that I use at the end of all my streams: “Stay awesome bros!”