December 20, 2022 (6 months ago)
At our first-ever Mux company conference in May (shout out to the team behind The Mux Informational), I shared our long-term roadmap and vision.
TL;DR: We exist to democratize video, which is such a fundamentally difficult technology that only the tech giants can afford to build efficient video at scale. We do this by solving the hard problems developers face when they want to build something with video. The major surface area of those problems are ingest and creation, encoding and streaming, players, and monitoring and analytics. We cover this ground for three modes of video: on-demand, real-time, and live streaming.
This year, we’ve delivered massive progress toward this vision. We aren’t finished, but in many ways, 2022 was the year when we finished the foundation.
People sometimes ask me what motivates me as a startup founder. I’ve realized the answer is actually pretty simple: I love building great products, and I love happy customers. (#3 on my list would be working with great people, which I’m privileged to do at Mux.)
In 2022, we’ve welcomed several hundred amazing customers to the Mux community, ranging from early startups to large enterprises: companies like Hubspot, Strava, Patreon, Imgix, Pixieset, and many other customers and partners.
All of this means our overall volume of video has grown significantly. In a year that—let's be honest—was rough for software in general and startups in particular, we scaled quite a bit: video delivery grew by 50%, video ingest by 80%, and Mux Data by 40%. Scaling software takes a lot of work, so kudos to our awesome Engineering team.
Our biggest deliveries this year are two new products: Mux Player and Real-Time Video.
Mux Player fixes the <video> tag. In 2010, we released video.js, which was basically the video player that everyone either used or copied for the last 12 years. (And by “we” I mean my co-founder and video industry celebrity, Steve Heffernan.) A lot has changed since 2010, and Mux Player is a major step-change forward in the world of player technology. My favorite Mux Player story from 2022 is this one:
If you’re a developer, few things are more exciting than replacing 1,212 lines of code with 91 lines of code, and making a major upgrade at the same time.
The addition of Real-Time Video makes Mux the first platform to excel at all three modes of video: live streaming, on-demand video, and real-time communication. This is important because so many interesting things happen where these different modes of video intersect. Think live streams where clips can be shared instantly (live and on demand), recordings of real-time conversations (real-time and on demand), or a live broadcast of two people talking (real time and live). Other platforms excel at one mode of video, and might have a barebones offering for a second mode. Mux now excels at all three.
Our launch tracker shows 38 official launches in 2022, not including small releases, hotfixes, etc. I can’t recap everything, of course, but here is a subset.
In 2022, we shipped our platform surface area: we started with Data and Streaming (live and on-demand) and added Player, Real-Time, and more SDKs.
In 2023, we’re going to push deeper into this surface area. We’ll improve video quality with things like new codecs and 4K; we’ll improve our pricing by introducing new flexibility and control; we’ll invest heavily in mobile video; we’ll add new ways to use data to build and manage video at scale; and we’ll iterate on the new products so you can build what you need, faster, better, and more effectively.
Of course, we’ll decide what to build by listening to customers.
The two people who have most influenced my approach to startups are Paul Graham and Steve Blank. As Steve Blank says: if you want to know what to do, “get outside the building” and talk to customers. (Clearly a pre-COVID metaphor.) And Paul Graham’s wisdom usually boils down to some level of saying “make something people want.” (Startups are honestly that simple…and that difficult.)
So please: reach out and let us know what you need! If you’re building something with video, we’d love to hear your input.
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