What was the scope of their involvement?
Bitnoise is our partner helping us to build this MVP that we’re going to launch next year. It was really important to us that we work with a partner that had not just the technical skills that are relevant to very modern development stats and frameworks, but they also had the right mindset. Anytime you’re building an MVP product, by definition, you don’t know what the marketplace validation acceptance is going to look like until customers start interacting with the product.
The kind of software products that we are building is fundamentally one that involves person-to-person and person-to-community communication. Having a technology stack that’s built on the most advanced capabilities around real time updates and real time visibility for the interactions between people in a large ecosystem was very important to us. We needed to make sure if 100,000 worldwide employees are using a provoking piece of software, those 10s of 100s of valued interactions are visible to others. We need a very specific kind of technology stack to enable that. We believe strongly in the React ecosystem and in the thought leadership and contribution. Facebook is an aid to the React community. We’re very comfortable having made the decision that all of our frontend product development work is going to leverage React.
React was also important because we’re building a product where there’s not an established category. What we’re doing is very experimental in the sense that it’s not like we’re building a CRM system and there’s a 1,000 we can benchmark ourselves against. We’re pioneering a space for which there is no standard, and there is no dominant existing player. While our ideas aren’t experimental, the concept that someone would buy a product that codifies our ideas is. We don’t know how compelling it will be using this at scale across the companies. We needed a technology stack that would allow developers to elaborate, modify, and change features very quickly. React was valuable to us in that sense.
We came to Bitnoise with a suggestion to use React. We use a modern cloud-scale database like MongoDB, and what was interesting is they did their own research. We didn’t ask them to do this. One of the reasons why we like working with Bitnoise is they’re very mindful that we’re trying to build a successful commercial product. Once they learned about our vision and our core product feature set and the kinds of users and interactions that would occur, they came back to us with keen insight. They said we didn’t only need real time frontend capability and React makes sense, but that our backend also has special requirements. They strongly recommended that they use a backend that isn’t Mongo, but is built on Mongo-like capabilities. It’s called ArangoDB, which is a very hyperscale cloud database backend. What makes it unique is that it can accommodate both traditional, relational data storage and relationships, but it also natively supports object and network base relationships; meaning many-to-many. Many-to-many data relationships are very complicated to do unless you’re using an object database. In a social network like Facebook or a social network inside of a large company, you have many-to-many relationships. If you’re not using an object database, it’s very complex, if not difficult. Bitnoise knew we needed a backend that would support us natively so they could focus on rapid feature development and not get mired in the complexities of building at a backend infrastructure. That was a positive that they brought to us in terms of insight and recommendations that has become part of the core stack that we’re using to build the product.
What is the team composition?
There were 2.5 resources. When you have highly-skilled developers and modern web product developers and you give them the freedom to work with the very best tools, it’s extraordinary how much they can build and how fast.
How did you come to work with Bitnoise?
I wrote a project brief and put it out on one of the freelance websites looking for a partner. They responded along with 100 other companies. Bitnoise’s pitch was, “Looks like you’re trying to bootstrap a product into the marketplace. Our company is a modest, boutique, high-end product development organization that likes to partner with startups. We think we have some of the best people, and we’d like to talk to you.” That’s how I was introduced.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working together in December of last year and the work is ongoing.