I will conduct interviews with people coming from the eastern part of the world. I want to share interesting stories of people making it big in the world and coming from countries where entrepreneurship might be a new concept. And of course the whole indie maker concept might be an alien word for people from some countries.
I am also coming from a small country in the east – a Balkan country but never mind I see myself as part of the east – and in this country, even the word “startup” is generally not very well known.
I know this since I am a volunteer at an organization where we are raising awareness on the whole startup world in my country, and this little “pet project” of mine is an amazing opportunity to get to know the people in this community where they are shipping projects and trying to become the next big idea started from a garage.
So my first interview is with Ljupco and Tomas. I met Ljupco and Dianna (Tomas’s girlfriend) on Twitter and then I met Tomas and we sat in a Kafana (a typical restaurant where you drink alcohol, eat and chit chat about everything, like a restaurant, but better) and talked about indie makers, startups, politics and about their project Moi Doktori.
How did you two meet?
Tomas: Ljupco and I first met in the Makers Kitchen Slack group, he needed makers to interview for his thesis.
I helped him fill it out and we talked a bit more about where we were staying and going. I was in Cyprus at the time and just a few weeks from going to Bulgaria. Ljupco recommended Skopje as a next destination and just a week later I booked an Airbnb near the center. We met up after a few days in a cozy restaurant and had a great time!
The day after we met in the restaurant, we met up again to co-work together. Ljupco showed me an idea he had in mind, and a very early version of what Moi Doktori is today.
I could tell he’s been working hard on it, but it needed some work. We agreed to see how far we could take the app in just 24 hours, and we actually managed to have a working example up and running!
Ljupco: Yes exactly, we came into contact through my thesis covering the success factors of indie makers. Later,I saw that Tomas posted on Twitter that he will be in the region (Bulgaria and Greece), so I suggested that my hometown Skopje will be an interesting destination to also visit. To my surprise Tomas and his girlfriend Dianna stayed for a whole month, and loved it!
Tell me more about the product.
Ljupco: The issue and the idea came from the problems in the public sanitary system. Basically booking an appointment with specialist doctors was difficult because there was a limited amount of insurance covered spots and a lot of demand for these bookings.
So patients would wait for months before they get to book a slot. Because the slots are online, we knew there was an easy way to have bots check them and notify users. Moi Doktori (My Doctors) today does exactly that.
Would you distribute it somewhere abroad if needed?
Ljupco: Absolutely. We are currently focused on solving problems and creating value in North Macedonia, and if we’re successful here we are open to exploring other markets.
What is the revenue model behind Moi Doktori? Is it sustainable?
Ljupco: Currently Moi Doktori has no revenue model, and exists only as a service for users. In the future, we might introduce advertising, but we’ll try to do advertising that’s useful for our users rather than random banner ads.
What is the marketing strategy behind Moi Doktori?
Ljupco: We are trying to reach as many people to find out about our product and get word of mouth going.
We had a very successful Twitter launch with local influencer support and we’ve run a couple of Facebook ads to understand who is interested.
From our Facebook tests we see that the product is resonating more with older people and with women, so we try to find organic channels to reach this demographic.
By trying a lot of different things we managed to get booked on 2 TV morning shows and get right in front of our target users for free. You can see one of the appearances here:
Do you consider building more products that are for the greater good of the public?
Tomas: Yes! Definitely, it’s with Ljupco. We connect very well, and would have no issues solving more problems like this!
Ljupco: I completely agree. With Tomas we have very complementary skills and we work great together. The comments and emails you get when you build something that helps people feel really good, so I am definitely up for doing it again!
Can you tell us a little info about the new products or it is a top-secret mission?
Tomas: Completely undecided, but when the idea comes we’ll most likely have another hackathon and get a MVP up and running in no time!
Ljupco: We haven’t thought about other products, but there is still more work to be done on Moi Doktori.
Our next step is to build a platform where you can find all the doctors that you need in your location, and book them in the easily right on our site. We already have the first version of this platform done, and it is interesting that we are using data generated from our tool to jump-start the platform. Exciting stuff ahead!
What is the stack behind the app?
Tomas: For the front-end I used HTML, CSS, JS + JQuery, and for the back-end PHP, MySQL, and Python.
Tell the Maker Mag readers a fun fact about you.
Thomas: I’ve never had a physical job. Ever since I started coding at 12 years old, I decided that’s what I wanted to do, and nothing else. Stubborn, but it worked out!
Ljupco: I was serious about becoming a DJ when I was a teen, even made a demo album which fortunately was lost when my computer overheated.
Any Indie Maker from the Balkans and the East (from Eastern Europe to China) who would love to connect with me in order to make an interview to contribute it on Maker Mag, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line Maker Mag Interview.