What was the scope of their involvement?
When we started working with Railwaymen on the search tool, they didn’t only listen to the instructions we gave them, but also read a lot of what we’d already done, saw who we were and who our audience was, and helped make a tool which would both appeal to them, as well as to a broader audience.
We knew how to talk about what we wanted from the perspective of a future user, but not in terms of how the site would operate and how we could deliver it. One of the many things I liked about Railwaymen was that they were able to articulate options for what we wanted to deliver and coach us on what they thought the best option was for running the site and what experience the user should have.
What is the team dynamic?
Łukasz Młynek, their CEO, has remained my main point of contact over the years. From early on, we began to think about them as a third partner, and this deepened over time.
How did you come to work with Railwaymen?
When prototyping, we initially worked with someone else, and we left that experience feeling that we wouldn’t be able to articulate the concept in a way which would help someone make what we envisioned. In the process, we found a graphic design firm in New York, called OrangeYouGlad. We liked some of their work, and the mix of things they’d done.
We went through the initial design phase, and it turned out that they had worked on some projects with the personnel of Railwaymen, doing everything from brochure sites to banking systems. They introduced us to Railwaymen, and we liked their approach. Our previous experience with an outside programmer was more of a for-hire relationship, but our initial impression of Railwaymen was that they were all-in, like partners.
How much have you invested with them?
The total cost of the work with Railwaymen, since 2009, has been between $50,000 and $200,000.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working with personnel who are now a part of Railwaymen in 2007, but who were with a different company then. We decided to switch to Railwaymen when they started in 2009 because we liked working with them. They were the people who made the experience of working with the other company a good one, and they were the ones who understood the real nuts and bolts of how the site worked. They helped us envision and build it.
We continue to work together on an ad-hoc basis. We had a performance issue recently, and Railwaymen dipped in and fixed it. I’ve also been talking with them over the past one or two years about a possible next life for Cookthink.