25th May is Geek Pride Day and much of our business at weheartdigital is dependent on geeks to get it right #geekprideday! As a digital agency we come across a wide range of projects in many different subject matters and lots of diverse industries. In a usual day we can be discussing fishing, automotive, social networks, podcasting, sport, video streaming and more. The context switching requires an agile brain and also makes one rather good at pub quizzes.
So often though, we are introduced to a business which is a Start-Up or an SME with a product already in existence. Usually they talk to us (especially in the latter case) because they need help with their digital baby as production is not going according to plan. We like to help by solving issues, hitting milestones and making things beautiful.
Let’s Think about a Shiny Lean Startup…
Someone has a great idea – to sell something, fix an issue in the world, create a network, improve a widget and disrupt the normal way of doing things. If they are talking to us, it’s digital, it’s online, it’s an app, or a mixture of all these things. This is all wonderful; ideas are great, “we will be the next Gates, Zuckerberg or Jobs in 5 years”, we are told. Business plans, EBITDA spreadsheets, a Lean canvas – all wonderful stuff – has been written and presented.
Then less wonderful stuff starts appearing – “We definitely want it built in an HP and have something with a Red Hat. And it needs to have WTFAITA system with TWAIN and IPv6 not 4. We don’t want it in WordPress, we have heard that’s rubbish* and not .NET, we hear it’s more expensive**. Custom, bespoke out of the box solutions – I hear that’s the way forward. And HTML6 isn’t it and needs to be repulsive? Its needs to work on all things, including pagers, Post-It notes and my mate Jim’s carphone.”
Ok, slight exaggeration, but you know what I mean.
The point is, you wouldn’t go to a vet to get your ingrown toenail removed, or ask a car mechanic to fix The Shuttle. weheartdigital are here to advise you on the best technical solution to meet your needs. Our team has years of experience, degree level educations in Computer Science and a wealth of projects successfully delivered #geekprideday.
* Approx. 1/3 of ecommerce online uses WordPress and Woo
** no it isn’t, honest
…and the Not So Lean Start-Up
Here are the businesses who have launched, have a digital presence, have a digital agency looking after them and have a great big tick in the box – well done, hurrah, nice work. You are out there.
But then things can change and your existing digital agency is perhaps no longer meeting your needs. You have grown and changed. You have staff, you have P&L, hopefully some investors, definitely an accountant and you want an Rest API, you want an App, you want Google to find you. You are wiser and start to question your partner agency, why they can’t deliver what you need when you need it?
You are also becoming very digital indeed, you are growing a network of digital people, you meet new suppliers. All great stuff. Then you decide it’s time to change supplier – you have found a new, fresh company who will make it amazing, and costs will be slashed, and they still wear jeans to work and go out on a Friday.
You ask your original partner for the code base, it’s your product after all, you paid a 6 figure sum to get them to build it.
‘Nope’ is the reply.
‘Please’ you say.
“Read the contract you signed 5 years ago, section 6a part 2 paragraph 3” you are told.
It’s there, in black and white. They own the codebase. You have no right to modify it, and have no access to the source. You own a big fat nothing. To go somewhere else, you need to rebuild it from scratch.
Top Tips when working with a digital supplier.
- Don’t decide on technology – focus on the user experience and success criteria. A decent supplier will recommend the best tech for the job.
- Get estimates from a few people to get a balance of the costs with an indication of budgets. These are variable, and sites can be made in many, many ways.
- Do not sign anything that means you do not own your IP (it might be a good idea to go and check your contract right now).
- Make sure you have a written statement saying the code is yours and when it gets handed over.
- Keep the code safe, in the cloud, locally, and on memory sticks.
- Understand what existing products are part of your solution which aren’t your own.
- Check under what conditions your partner can withhold the codebase.
- Check your hosting costs are competitive for the traffic you’re generating.
- Make sure analytics are part of the build – if you can’t measure it then it’s pointless.
- Don’t accept that it can’t be done, it can, but also accept there are costs involved and nothing really takes 2 minutes.