What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
We’ve been working together for almost a year, and Mark’s team has been excellent. All the services we’ve developed with them have been for the subscription-based version of the platform. The product has been free up to this point, and we’ve been trying to build a user base.
Having over 200,000 downloads worldwide is fantastic, but we’re really making sure that the 100 people we’ve been working with directly love the product so that they can become sales ambassadors for us. It’s hard to provide exact metrics since we’ve gone underground while developing the subscription product version. The development we’ve done differentiates us from the free service, so we won’t have the typical freemium problem of users not seeing the need to go pro. We’ve drawn a clear line of demarcation, have learned what our users want, and have developed to that. Users have been using the pro features that Futurist helped to develop, and they can’t live without them.
How did Futurist Labs perform from a project management standpoint?
Development is a matter of “fix one thing, break two”, but this is true for anyone. We have a fluid process and are direct with each other. With them being in Bulgaria and us being in Los Angeles, we have a small window for daily communication. I often speak to them early in the morning.
The communication has been great, and I’ve appreciated their ability to provide answers and explain why something can turn into a challenge. Futurist Labs isn’t simply taking my to-do list and running it without any questioning.
What did you find most impressive about them?
They’re the first team of people I’ve worked with, and I’d only used single developers in the past. The dynamic I like about having a team has to do with group-think. They’re all sitting around in a room in Bulgaria, and can talk to each other about different problems. The cumulative experience and freedom to speak back-and-forth directly gives me an exponential level of thinking.
Getting senior people for a reasonable fee has allowed me to experiment, which is what I really like. Some places require us to be specific about what we’re trying to get done. With Futurist Labs having such a great value, I can ask them to play with certain tasks, and give them the freedom to make mistakes. This is hard to find in the world of development.
Are there any areas they could improve?
They have lots of clients, which I’m sure they’re trying to pare down into a handful of great clients. Futurist Labs can be stretched at times because of the number of ongoing projects, but I can understand how a company like this needs to work. They could bring in more people, but that wouldn’t necessarily equate to getting more stuff done. It’s a matter of casting the right people for the right things, and Mark has been cognizant of this, pulling in the right resources, rather than trying to put a square peg into a round hole.