Building Products, Streaming, and Making Software Experiences with Creators: Q&A with Rox

Avatar of David BanysDavid Banys

We were excited to sit down with Rox (AKA Dan Game), a programmer, streamer, and builder of products who has worked with some of the biggest names in the influencer and gaming world.

We wanted to know a little bit about his workflow, how he’s built some of his products, and what’s next for him.

Let’s get into it!

Rox is a programmer, streamer, and builder of products for creators

Rox is a programmer, streamer, and builder of products for creators

Railway: We’ve seen you for a while in the community and know you have a big following on Twitter, Twitch, and elsewhere. Can you tell us about some of your personal projects?

Rox: My most successful project is probably ThumbnailTest. That’s the brand name that’s the most well-known. The super short version of the product is that it allows video creators to test multiple thumbnails, get a higher clickthrough rate, and then as a result more people watch your videos.

I also built Clipbot, which helps Twitch streamers get views on TikTok and YouTube Shorts.

Otherwise there are a bunch of other projects I’ve worked on that you can see on my personal website although sadly some of my biggest projects can’t be listed since they’re owned by prominent creators.

Railway: Let’s talk about ThumbnailTest. We’re curious how you built the app, what can you tell us about the architecture of the app or how it works?

Rox: It’s a pretty straightforward T3 stack (Tailwind, Typescript, tRPC) app. I’m also using Next.js, Postgres, Axiom, Stripe, and storing files on Filestack.

ThumbnailTest’s main application is running on Railway. And the queue is actually hosted on Railway, although it’s a queue I made myself.

Sadly I started this project back when I was still a Mongo kid and I used MongoDB Atlas, which has been awful and I regret it. But I refuse to risk moving stuff over to a new database because it’s so much effort. Especially with Mongo where all your data is bad.

ThumbnailTest gives creators tools to increase clickthrough rate on video thumbnails

ThumbnailTest gives creators tools to increase clickthrough rate on video thumbnails

Railway: That’s awesome to hear Railway is powering your main application. We also noticed on Twitter that you’re recommending Railway to others for databases. How did you come to find Railway as a useful database for other projects?

Rox: I was building a product and doing some real-time data stuff and I needed to start rethinking where I was putting data.

I have a friend who can name every place you could deploy a database on the internet, so I called him up and he said I should either use Railway or Planetscale.

He thought Planetscale was going to be too much for what I was doing and something like Mongo or similar was going to be too little. So he recommended Railway. Just click Postgres on Railway, copy/paste the link, and you’re good. And I was like great, that’s what I want.

Railway: How did you arrive at Railway as a service to use for building out your projects? Was part of it your frustration with Heroku? We’ve noticed a lot of Heroku refugees coming over to Railway, would you include yourself in that group?

Rox: I got really into Vercel for a while, and then I was also a Heroku user for a very long time. I didn’t like Heroku for frontend or fullstack. I always thought of Heroku as a place to store backend. So when I started building fullstack apps I moved to Vercel because it was trendy and fun.

Then I decided that I don’t like serverless that much because it slowed down my development process. It made it so that I couldn’t have some endpoint that ran for a while or returned a bunch of data – like what is a warning on Railway is an error on Vercel.

The first time I moved an app with a frontend over to Railway was my ThumbnailTest app, which was purely because of a single long-running endpoint that I really didn’t feel like optimizing, so I chucked the whole thing onto Railway so I could have a long-running job and it not explode.

Other than that Railway has replaced Heroku for me, especially for databases and backends. Also, git was broken on Heroku for like three weeks and all my very important apps broke. So it’s either Vercel or Railway for me now.

Clipbot, another Rox project, helps Twitch streamers generate clips from Twitch streams for TikTok and YouTube Shorts

Clipbot, another Rox project, helps Twitch streamers generate clips from Twitch streams for TikTok and YouTube Shorts

Railway: Is getting started fast with Railway the key? Is that the number one thing in your mind when you think of Railway? We love seeing you recommend Railway to a few people on Twitter.

Rox: 100%, yeah. And the simplicity of doing so. A fast but complicated process is not fast, you know? With Railway, you open Railway and it’s just Postgres, copy, paste, done. It takes five seconds.

What’s that thing about a good product finds users? That’s how I feel. I tweet about everything and if someone on Twitter wants to know where I host databases, I tell them I host databases on Railway.

Railway: That’s so cool. What’s up next for you? What kinds of projects are you getting excited for moving forward?

Rox: I’m trying to launch tools with creators instead of for creators. I think there are a lot of really big software companies that can be built in partnership with influencers. I don’t want to be known just as a tech guy or just as a streamer, but as someone who can build a product with a gaming org or content team and show how successful that can be.

Railway: Where else can people go to learn more about your work and your projects?

Rox: You can check out my personal website, although it’s kind of a meme making fun of self-promoting websites. I’m also on Discord @Roxkstar#7474, Twitter @RoxCodes, and I stream on Twitch.