What was the scope of their involvement?
They built the website and took care about GoDaddy contracts. Every tech part, I would give my input on how I’d like things to be done. They did well in giving me ideas of all the options that were on the table with a good idea about the risks of each direction. We developed version 1 which is currently live. We keep working together for the version 2 and we already have the agreement for version 3 which is expected by Q2 2018.
They supported me with something that was not specific to their business, but since we recently integrated the whole graphic aspect and UX experts in, we went through exactly what we wanted to do on paper and defined the corporate image and the corporate branding. We did integrate this part and it went very well. We could create the corporate branding manual of the company, which then became the website which was the first product that came out of these set of rules.
The website was very interesting. I wanted to do something a bit peculiar. They used all sorts of management tools (Drupal, etc). We could quickly go to what we wanted. The website procedures went on pretty smoothly and quickly. We found a few problems here or there that were solved quickly as well.
Then we started talking about the mobile application. We evaluated all the options in either going native or choosing anything that could simplify the development but would maybe have more bugs. We decided to go for native which was also their recommendation. The app itself went very well and very quick. Everything we had was pretty standard, like standard APIs or network creation approval of contacts and start interacting between two accounts.
We had issues with an important part of the code. The transmission of messages that are played only at certain times of the day on a smartphone that is in a room of a patient. We had to re-identify what was the real-life scenario and adapt and create something really unique for us. We had few problems with this, either compression issues or talking with the server. Version 1 was delivered after 7-8 months from the very first line of code. That may be a bit long, but I thought the team worked well. I was worried and I was pushing, but I think it was a good job that it was done in the time it was.
Version 2 was about debugging everything we found. We had the app living in the open environment for 5 months. We tried to observe any problem from the smallest to the major. Version 2 took us 4-5 months to develop. There was a tricky part also because they decided to change the internal team. They took the project and gave it to a new team. I know that within these 5 months, it was also a good month and a half of people that just looking at the code, understanding what was done before, and then starting to work on it. That was managed by QP and I think that at the stage where we are now, it was the right choice.
We hope to launch V2 this Quarter on both Android and iOS. We’re just doing our very last endurance test this weekend. We’ve already been working on V3. We went back to talk with the same guys that did the corporate branding and the website, and we designed the new graphics integration for all the 50 plus pages of the app. They’re going to take V2, make a full reanalysis of the entire software to understand what can be optimized and what can be reworked, recoded eventually to create something more stable, something that will reach hopefully almost the level of something like Skype, and can offer with intermobility especially. Knowing that V2 will be fully working and debugged, we have time to breathe before launching V3. We will not be rushing as much as we did for V2.
What is the team dynamic?
I have experience and I do have the resources to know what I’m doing with marketing, finance, international trade, and privacy policies. Everything that is coding, is discussed with QPSoftware what the solutions are. It was very easy to sit down and understand how each team worked because they have always been extremely transparent, both with the problems and the solutions that they could implement. We could definitely find a good way of work. I understood that maybe in some cases I need to be a little bit more involved in the decision of process, and it’s enough to make sure that the entire communication within QP doesn’t get lost or we don’t lose time or anything. Our partnership is focused on trying to work as if we were one company. It has worked so far, and I am satisfied.
I started with Quentin, the CEO and partner of our company. I talk with him mostly about payments and project development on a large scale. My daily interaction is with Ahmed, who is one of his senior project leaders. He is the one who will talk with the entire development team. 90% of my issues are generally solved by Ahmed.
Then there is another 5% of things that I discuss directly with the graphics guys because we know each other. We understand each other pretty well concerning the design. I can go straight to them. There is another 5% of issues concerning general administration. Other times, when I see there is a specific problem and I haven’t had an answer in a couple of days, then I talk directly with the CEO, and that generally moves very quickly.
There is also Salim and Benito. They’re experts on graphic design and UX. Whenever I need to design anything, even a new logo or a HIPAA compliance or anything, I talk to them. There are 3-4 Chinese guys, and they are focused on operations in China which is an option that we haven’t faced yet. They have the capability to create paying platforms and whatever is needed from a legal perspective in China. There are also a couple of Indian women that are more in charge of the SEO and the marketing optimization, which I don’t really need. They’re more like consultants. I do the marketing myself with other resources that I have from my own network.
The team hasn’t changed in terms of size. It may have changed in terms of people concerning the development. They may add another 4-5 people, but nothing significant. There are another 6-7 people I don’t really interact with. There are a couple of them that are in Australia. I think a few others are in Paris. The senior guys in Australia have been working on my project. He solved some specific problem of the website, but I didn’t talk with him. I talked with Ahmed and Ahmed distributed the work to him because there was an issue that he could solve relatively easy because he is a senior developer.
How did you come to work with QPSoftware?
I was looking for a partner. At the time, my wife lived in Shanghai. I was still looking for options in the United States, Luxembourg, London, and Paris. I started contacting people. Generally, it’s through a connection of people you already know, people who already developed something. QP came kind of out of nowhere; there was someone who introduced us, and I liked the approach. The idea of not having a provider but a partner, you have to find someone who understands what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, sees the potential, and gets on board. With QP, that was almost immediate, which tends to be a good sign.
I had written offers from at least 8 other companies. I think 2 were in California, 3 in Luxembourg, and there were a couple somewhere else in northern Europe. I did also have another couple of offers in Shanghai. Again, the feeling was about companies that can develop this kind of things, but their core business is about graphics and nice revolutionary website which is basically the marketing part. The marketing part, as useful as it can be, was not what we were looking for. In our case we want to do a tool that was revolutionary, that was very different. I needed more of that technical know-how. QP was definitely in the top 3. In terms of the offer, they were in the top 2. In terms of feeling and understanding each other, they were by far number 1.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working with them in January 2016. We have ongoing work with them.