What was the scope of their involvement?
We developed an app that functions as a Chrome extension and as a new feature within our company app on iOS. The core technology is the same on both platforms because, in the end, it’s actually a web app.
Postlight handled all of the production, but we provided the design guidelines. They worked as our engineers by integrating our APIs to make the app work.
Once we agreed on the collaboration, I met with some of their senior people for brainstorming sessions. At a certain point, we had well over 10 ideas. Some were way too big; some were way too small. We eventually settled on this experiment because it was a good match for our timeline and for the resourcing that both of our teams could offer at the time. Then, it was a matter of fleshing out the user story and product vision, which led to wireframes, prototypes, and high-fidelity designs while building the actual backend for the product, doing testing, looking for bugs and edge cases, and constantly iterating day by day.
We also had to tackle marketing because we wanted to launch this product publicly. We did an event together, I went on their podcast, and we did press meetings together. Then, we launched the product. I functioned as the product owner or executive sponsor. But, Postlight provided all of the product management and sprints.
What are the key features and functionalities?
We wanted to offer the power of our company to users by letting them bring our expertise anywhere online. If you’re reading a news story on a website that’s not from our company and activate the app, your device will scan the story and detect entities that are either publicly traded companies or notable people. Then, in a little web view, the app provides a list of those companies and people, allowing you to read our data and news about them. In Chrome, you can do that right beside the article you’re reading without leaving. In iOS, the results appear in a simple web modal, which means you’re not leaving the app to go to another webpage. It doesn’t hijack the experience.
How did you come to work with Postlight?
We had a pre-existing relationship with one of the founders of Postlight. When we first reached out to them, they’d recently announced their labs initiative. They were looking for small, experimental projects to do as collaborations. The partnership just made sense.
How much have you invested with Postlight?
The amount they gave is what they would bill for a similar project. We paid them an honorarium because we agreed that this was something we wanted to do together. There’s Postlight branding in the app itself. The work allowed them to gain exposure and hone their team. We were able to have a small product built that didn’t fit our in-house abilities at the time.
While we haven’t hired them on a retail basis yet, certainly our experience with them is helpful. Their lab is a place for collaboration where other forms of value exchange besides money are an option. I don’t want to speak for Postlight in terms of what they want from potential partners. With us, that arrangement works. I don’t know what they would charge clients.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working with them in December 2016, and the project was completed in June 2017. Our team is going to take ownership of the whole code base and maintain it going forward. Now that the product has launched and is stable, we’ve reached the end.