What was the scope of their involvement?
They built everything. What makes the project a little more complicated, and why I didn't know if we would get the full functionality from WordPress, is that we're a place where anybody can go on, at any given time, and post immediately. We do not filter the content, we let our community filter the content. That means that when you read something that someone has posted, you as a community member can react. We provide a space for people to share their experiences. That being said, we have to build something that will be very user-friendly.
The site is built on Amazon Web Services and Digital Ocean. 4xxi has done every single thing to set up the site and the infrastructure support. Additionally, 4xxi connected us to a free photo site so that people can just seamlessly search for a photo to put with their post.
It was amazing to me how complex it is to build a website, it is like building a house. You have to architect every single aspect and it all has to work together. 4xxi was great at guiding us with their input and suggestions. Anything we came up with, they implemented for us. We would tweak things and sometimes have glitches, but then they would go back and tweak it again to make it work better.
Right now we're redesigning the whole site based on user feedback we have received. We are waiting for their estimate on the new changes and designs but they've already written back with questions. This is not something I have found with other developers who simply just take your work and implement it with no sense of ingenuity or ownership of the creative process, 4xxi is unique.
Additionally, 4xxi hired a team of strategists and what I learned from them was that I need to scale back the site and return to the basics. There’s a ton of functionalities, but people are not using it because they don’t really understand it. We are going to scale it back to core basics and then build in the functionality.
One functionality we are about to implement is called Karma points. That was 4xxi’s suggestion because the whole idea is that we want to intrinsically reward people for contributing content and encourage them to do so. Our site really is about Karma, you’re sharing something that helps you feel better and that is going to help somebody else. As you engage more, you move up our levels and earn kudos on the site. These kudos could be in the form of being featured in our newsletter or shout outs.
We will be going to the market place, so what I like about 4xxi is that they are completely equipped to grow with us. I have a huge vision for the site but I'm trying to be patient and really perfect our base and what we do at its very core. I want to wait for the additional features, but I know that when I'm ready to do that I know that 4xxi can make that happen.
What is the team dynamic?
I don't talk to the coders directly, I really deal with Alexey [Project Manager, 4xxi] and Evgeny [CEO, 4xxi].
How did you come to work with 4xxi?
I was at dinner with a friend and I explained how I was completely frustrated because the designer that was going to help me with a WordPress template decided that she didn't have the time for me. He was kind enough to share his resource with me and connected me with Evgeny.
How much have you invested with them?
Between $65,000 and $70,000.
What is the status of this engagement?
We began working together in late July or early August 2016, and the relationship is still ongoing.