Epic Web Conf '24 Speakers

Zeno Rocha

Founder & CEO at Resend

Talks

  • Wednesday, 7:25 PM7:45 PM
    The Next Generation of Developer-First Products
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Bio

Zeno Rocha is a Brazilian creator and programmer. He currently lives in San Francisco, California, where he's the Founder & CEO at Resend. His lifelong appreciation for building software and sharing knowledge led him to speak at over 110 conferences worldwide. His passion for open source put him in the top 20 most active users on GitHub at age 22. He's also the creator of the Dracula Theme (6M users on VSCode) and Clipboard.js (30k stars on GitHub).

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Interview

Hey, what is up, everybody? I'm excited to be joined by my friend Zeno. Zeno, say, how are you doing? Hey Kent, super excited to be here, man. Super excited about the conference. This is gonna be so fun, so yeah, let's do it. I'm stoked. All right, so Zeno, you are actually

the founder of one of the companies that's sponsoring the conference, Resend. And I'd love for folks to, well, first of all, thank you for sponsoring the conference, that's awesome, making this thing possible. Otherwise, I couldn't run the conference. It just would cost too much. So I definitely appreciate that.

I'd love for people to get to know you a little bit. Could you give us an intro to yourself? Yeah, I'm originally from Brazil, now living in San Francisco with my wife and my two-year-old daughter. And I've been doing front-end my whole life. Started with ActionScript 3, started with Flash,

and I've seen the transformation through HTML5, jQuery, all those things into what we have now. Today, I don't code like full-time. That's not what I do from nine to five, but I can't stop coding. So I keep coding on weekends

and during the night is just something that I love. And yeah, currently running Resend, which is a email API for developers. So if you're looking to integrate email into your products, check out Resend, it's pretty cool. And I love open source.

I absolutely love open source. Maybe folks have heard about Dracula or Clipboard.js or React email. So I've been doing a lot of open source my whole life, and it's one of the things that, yeah, I also can't stop doing. So I definitely appreciate React email.

That's a built-in part of the Epic stack. Resend is also a built-in part of the Epic stack. So for sure, appreciate the work that you're doing in open source and the service that Resend provides. I definitely am very thoughtful about the decisions that I make in the Epic stack.

And so evaluated a number of options and Resend checks all the important boxes in the best way of all the services that I evaluated. So thank you for building that and for your continued work on the open source side of things as well.

I think that's super. So, and also congrats on your two-year-old daughter. That's a wonderful age. It's a very fun time for the children there. So I appreciate you taking a little bit of time away from the two-year-old to come out to Utah. I'll probably bring them.

I was talking to my wife. I think we're gonna go as a group. Oh, now that would be awesome. I definitely recommend it. There are really cool things to do and things to see in Park City. So yes, absolutely. Good call. That'll be a lot of fun then.

So, and yeah, I can't argue with the idea of bringing the family along as well just because I hate leaving my kids at home and especially leaving my wife alone with all the kids at this point is just a lot to ask. So that sounds great. That's exciting for you.

So at the conference, you're not gonna be talking about recent. It's not like a product pitch, but you are going to be taking some of your experience in building developer first products. And so what are some of the things that you're planning on including in your talk?

Yeah, I definitely feel like we've been through multiple generations of developer products. You know, when you look back 16 years ago when Twilio started, it was a very different world than what we have today, right? So I wanna go through that history, but more importantly,

I just wanna highlight what's different today. And for me, there are a couple of things, one being, for example, I truly believe we live in a SDK first world and not an API first world. And even though APIs are extremely important

and they are the foundation of services like recent and like many others like Stripe, I feel like there's some different abstraction layers that are now being highlighted and exposed. When you think about services like Clerk, right? You do have the REST API, but you also have SDKs for Node.js

and then you have another layer of React components that are unstyled or maybe lightly styled and then you can customize. So there's a lot of different things related to that that I'm super excited to dive into. And also from a marketing perspective too, I feel like a lot of things change

in the way you approach building a product for developers. I think in the beginning, it was very much about like, if it works, that's all, and it can have this super ugly documentation, maybe not even a website, just to read me and that's enough. I think the bar is very high nowadays.

So how do you even go about not only reaching the bar, but raising the bar? That's everything that I'm about. I just don't wanna do whatever people are doing, but I wanna raise the bar where everybody's like, oh, wow, now there's a new standard.

Now we gotta be as good as this thing here. So really excited. I think there's a lot that we can dive into. Very cool, yeah. I think when you raise that standard, and you definitely have done that with Resend,

it just makes, it's part of your competitive advantage and that's part of the reason why I wanted you to give this talk is because I think a lot of people who are building web applications, especially with the Epic stack,

they just want to get a product into people's hands and a lot of people are building products that are SaaS related. And so I thought that your talk would be really useful based on all the experience that you've had in building a SaaS product. Really useful insights for them.

So I definitely appreciate that and I'm looking forward to having you speaking on that. While we're at the conference, one of the really important aspects of a conference is the in-person nature of it. Otherwise, we just record a video and upload it to a YouTube playlist

and now everybody watches it, which of course we are going to do. All of this will be live streamed and the videos will be put on YouTube later. Subscribe and all that. But the main benefit of a conference in my mind is the connections and the networking. I've received jobs from relationships

that I created while at conferences and open source contributions and collaborations, lots of those things for me have happened because of conferences in person. And so while you're at the conference, I'm sure there will be people who want to come and talk with you.

What are the sorts of things that you would like people to come and ask you about or what are the things that you want to talk about when you're at the conference? Yeah, it's a fascinating question. And just a parenthesis, before going to that, like you mentioned the importance of going to conferences, right?

I remember my first talk was about HTML5 and I didn't know anything about HTML5, but I submitted a talk and I remember they had like this huge text area for you to fill up with your bio. And I was still a student, still like doing like a CS course and everything.

And then I just submitted and somehow they accepted. And then I had to start like thinking, oh no, how am I going to give a talk? Now I'm going to be in front of everybody. Now I need to really learn this. So, and I had like, just like you, job offers because of that. Just because I went to one conference,

I met one person that led me to a different job. But more than anything, I still have friends that are like extremely close to me today that I met at conferences in 2012, 2013. So just echoing what you said,

I feel like there's just so much you can take out of that. But once we're there, once we're in person, after we share about the things we like first, because we don't need to be pitching stuff to each other. We just need to be talking about, hey, here's a human, here's another human.

We're the same. Let's chat about things we love. I would love to talk about maybe how Brazil is different than the US or how like tactics for launching open source projects and getting traction. And just building open source projects that last.

Maybe that's another one. Like I've been running Dracula for 10 years now. And now Dracula has six million something users only on VS Code. There's a Wikipedia page for Dracula. Like how cool is that? That's amazing, wow. So yeah, I'll be down to chatting about that or about email too.

I've been learning a ton about email. So we can definitely go over that too. Cool, yeah, it sounds like you have a wealth of experience. As you mentioned, you've been doing this for a long time. And so just a wealth of experience that people in person will be able to get a lot out of conversations with you.

So I'm looking forward to that for the attendees. I'm looking forward to meeting you as well. And I think we're just gonna have an awesome time in Park City. So yeah, I guess that's about it. Zeno, I look forward to seeing you in April. Yeah, it's gonna be great.

Super excited to see you and everybody. And please get those tickets. It's important. Let's meet in person. I'm sure it's gonna be a much different experience than just watching on YouTube. I think it's worth it. Yeah, awesome. Thanks, Zeno. Thanks, everybody. We'll see you all later. Bye.

See you at the Epic Web Conf!

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