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▲ZEIT's mission is to make Cloud computing as easy and accessible as Mobile computing. Their first product now makes deploying a Node.js project to the cloud as easy as a single command.

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  • now
  • Node.js deployment
  • Scaling

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First of all, I'd like to thank you for creating now, hyper, micro and all other amazing services/ products and for hosting this AMA. My questions are:

  1. Since now deployments are stateless, what service do you recommend for database hosting?

  2. The "Pro" pricing plan of now looks great, but can be a bit expensive for some. Do you have plans (pun intended) to create a cheaper, 'lite' plan that offers private projects and custom domains while cutting down on other features?

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Just to note: I don't think now is too expensive at all. John Lindquist is completely right when he says that now offers too much for its value. I suppose I was asking for a plan based on the open source plan where the only difference is to be able to use custom domains.

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Why did you decide to make ZEIT/now? Is it because you were frustrated with the existing Node.js deployment solutions?

Many reasons. On one hand, I believe that the fundamental action of "launching" an application has to be as frictionless on the Cloud as it is on Mobile or Desktop. That's the mission of the company.

When developing products or APIs, I was really frustrated with how long everything took. Managing packages, containers, registries, images, certificates, DNS records, scaling groups, load balancers. There had to be a more adequate abstraction.

We realized that if we set up the boundaries of the HTTP protocol as our constraint, we could dramatically simplify a huge part of the paradigm. If you could imagine the Cloud as one big computer, Now is the CPU. The hard drive can be S3 and the memory Firebase, for example, for many applications.

We also identified a unique opportunity to speed up the build process. We recognized that over time even simple JavaScript applications had quite an involved process for downloading dependencies and compiling your project.

We want to move that build step to the cloud so that you get reproducible deployments very quickly.

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What do you think is the next big thing after React? Web standards and web components?

In my article "Pure UI" I mentioned that a really interesting thing about React is that for the most part it shifted the discussion away from frameworks and features and towards programming models and how we reason about and scale our projects.

This set up the trajectory of the community in a very healthy path. With React came the discussion about Flux and state stores. With all the research around Flux came Redux. Simultaneously we have members from the React community rethinking how we design our APIs and backends with GraphQL.

And this brings me to the answer to your question. React was a revolutionary way of thinking. The Web Platform, and standards in general, are evolutionary.

As such, I expect the "next big thing" to almost never come from a platform burdened with browser compatibility issues, RFCs, GitHub issue drama, artificially encumbered mobile browser competition, etc. I expect it to come from a private company faced with lots of interesting and novel problems and very strong user demands and economical pressures.

But that also provides balance! The moments I've been the most productive in my life is when I master a tool or conceptual framework and I create new things with that tool over and over and over again.

This is why with ZEIT we created Next.js (https://github.com/zeit/next.js). We think the React programming model combined with some of the strengths of what the "PHP way" had given us will give us a very strong productivity (and therefore economical) advantage for years to come.

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Are you guys considering adding benefits for students via the GitHub Student Developer Pack?

Absolutely. This is a request we get quite a bit and I also touched on briefly when answering Stephan de Vries's question.

One of our missions is to make student, research, OSS, non-profit accounts completely accessible. We think the Cloud can do a lot to further those use cases.

You can definitely expect to hear news about this in 2017.

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How did you calculate your pricing model? You appear to provide way too much value for what you charge, so I worry that you're not making enough to stay in business...

I answered this on the top question by Stephan de Vries. The bottom line is that we need to remain very aware of usage patterns, and adapt our technology accordingly. This is why the plans we offer already include some bandwidth limits that we think typically correlate with higher usage.

In the brief period that we've been online we've learned a tremendous amount already about the different types of users we have. We look forward in the coming months to providing plans that fit each use case very well "out of the box", in combination with a realtime pay-as-you-go model whenever you go over the limits or stipulations that you had.

This gives us the ability to account for "one-off events" for individuals (like John Lindquist's website is featured on Reddit and Hacker News for 1 day), and at the same time accommodate for the large traffic demands of bigger organizations.

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