What was the scope of their involvement?
I outsource the majority of the development and tech support organization to them. I work with them to create multiple shifts so that they have near 24-hour a day coverage, five days a week. I think it’s up to 21 hours a day. The other great business advantage they have was that because we have international partners, we have support during their hours as well, as opposed to just having 9:00 to 5:00 Pacific time. It started out as tech support and then we moved to our main product, Breadcrumb, and also Game Show. They also helped us with web support and SEO, so it branched out to almost all of the tech within the organization.
Because we’re a game company, we like to give our products interesting names. The gifts we give away most are rubber chickens. We have an unofficial mascot of a rubber chicken. Rubber Chicken is a standalone application that is designed primarily to handle low bandwidth situations. If you look at our players, they go out in the field and they take pictures and videos and photos with our mobile app. There were times when there were bandwidth limitations, and in order to upload all those photos, Rubber Chicken was created to plug the phone in, absorb all the photos and put them up into the photo service we have. It’s also designed as a downloading option. It downloads all photos and creative visions locally to the game runner’s machine so that when they want to do real-time judging, they could do it without worries about bandwidth and bandwidth speed. A lot of times, when they were judging afterward, we showed the output of the creatives that the teams did in a bar or restaurant, but we have notoriously had intermittent internet access.
Uran built an entire app. They picked Electron as a platform. They created the digital signatures in order to distribute it to OS X because we’re all Mac here, and created a standalone program that downloaded it to people’s machines, was able to read from iPhones and Androids, pulled from media folders, downloaded media, and created gallery presentations.
They continue to solve bugs along the way. One of the requirements for Rubber Chicken was that it has an auto update feature. Whenever it opens, it pings the server to see if there are updates out there and automatically updates the code base. Because it’s a desktop application not permanently connected to the web because of a bandwidth solution problem, you can’t assume 100% connectivity and updates are being done. There are regular updates to it and there’s no need to download a new version.
We moved on to other projects like Client Portal, Gallery, and a few other things because Rubber Chicken is mostly done.
They had two primary developers and a couple of backup people. The nice thing about Uran is that I have one main point of contact, the project manager, which allows the encapsulation of how they get it done. They replace their own resources internally. I only deal with the developers if I have to for a specific reason.
How did you come to work with Uran Company?
We found them based more on serendipity than true process. I’ve worked with other organizations where I’ve created entire matrices around quantifying their ability to do a particular tech stack so they quantify their ability to do particular support, asking “What’s the background and history of the company?” This, however, was more of an ad hoc thing. They were in town the same day and they were the first people we talked to. We did some due diligence with other companies. However, it wasn’t a true RFP like I’ve done in the past.
How much have you invested with Uran Company?
We average $8,000 a month with Uran. It’s not super tiny but not huge either.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working with them in April 2016 and the relationship is ongoing.