After four months of rapid development, Goodwerp, a project management software for creative firms, is now out of our closed beta and open to the world.
In all honesty, I cannot say that building Goodwerp has been a gruesome experience. The reason I say that, is that we always hear various stories of daunting experiences. Some of them are mostly true, but in our case the whole experience has been quite pleasant actually, which means that we’ve been lucky compared to all other startup products and teams around the world. Maybe this has to do with our parent company (boldUnderline. llc) having the word “bold” in its name where “luck favors the bold…” — but part of that luck I have to credit to my team who are a stellar bunch of lads you’d go for a beer with any workday. Luck as in the right amount of planning, solid execution and serendipity.
I had started boldUnderline. llc back in 2009. This is when Goodwerp initially started to take shape. While we were doing client work (web + app + graphic design) we used Basecamp, Freshbooks, Pulse, and Highrise — to manage our day to day operations. They were great tools for the mass market, but not specific enough for us — a creative firm and a small business. For starters we had to switch between all of them to get a broader view of various aspects of our business, which meant we never had a birds-eye view of our operations. And if you’re like me and love stats, I would create various Excel sheets. Then compare our productivity to the time spent and income we were generating. This data would allow us to make intelligent decisions, work better and get more done, while turning a stable profit year in and year out. Also, I had to manually add clients/projects on all these apps, even though they had some working API that would eventually do that for you. So, as you can see, Goodwerp was born out of this necessity and we wanted to share it with all creative firms around the world, just like ours.
The reason we built Goodwerp is to help creative firms around the world feel a sense of ease as they deliver projects, get paid on time, and communicate openly with their staff — as well as to challenge our own strength in being able to deliver a world-class product. In other words Goodwerp has the synergy needed to help each team cut the time they spend in managing their creative firm.
Back in the Spring of 2012 we had a working version of Goodwerp built purely on PHP/MySQL, that wasn’t finished yet. Come February 2013, we had made a bold decision — by the end of April 2013, we would pause on all client work and fully dedicate our energy and time to Goodwerp. We were boiling inside for quite some time to explore all ideas within the platform and we felt we had what it takes to make it through. We notified our clients that we would be pausing our consultancy work. In the meantime, we helped them find good matches with other design-firms. Some of our clients were super happy about us, and with some we had a harder time parting ways, since our relationships at times exceeded 5 years or more. These were clients with millions in their yearly operating revenues.
Our team is made up of individuals with the right skills in business, design, and engineering.
My expertise is strictly on product architecture (UX, UI, Design, Front-end Dev) and I can dabble in backend (PHP/MySQL) if need be. Tyler is involved strictly on design and user interface. While we had the front covered, we needed a dedicated individual that would carry the total weight of backend architecting and engineering. Erman came to our radar via a stellar job application. We interviewed him and he joined us in May 2013, after he had gone on a cross-Europe trip with his girlfriend. After we started, I realized that I had more stuff on my plate than I had initially thought and couldn’t concentrate fully on the front-end engineering. We were looking for an ideal team-member who would be fully immersed in front-end and moonlight as a CodeIgniter developer (assist Erman) if need be. Funny enough the ideal candidate came by the name of Ideal — go figure. We welcomed Ideal on temporary basis and couldn’t help but keep him.
Our multifaceted team is made up of designers, engineers, and marketing managers. Below is a description of each team-member who contributed in bringing Goodwerp to life.
Tyler, our web/graphic designer, landed on bold circa Summer 2012 via Austin, TX. He had moved to Prishtina with his entire family and was attending media studies at the American University in Kosova (RIT). He works on all UI/Design aspects of Goodwerp and spends most of his valuable time looking at cute cat pictures online. He’s a gym rat and goes beer tasting whenever he has a chance.
Erman, was doing a masters degree in Database Management and had few solid years in the CodeIgniter framework. Prior to his masters degree he was studying computer science at the South East European University and worked at a wonderful company (LogisticsPlus) that makes stellar fleet-management software. Erman’s dancing abilities surpass those of Brooklyn Breakdancers of early 70’s.
Ideal, as the latest addition to our team, is an all around front-end engineer with keen sense of back-end development. A cross-over hybrid that communicates well between both fronts. He had studied computer science at the American University in Thessaloniki and worked alongside Erman at the above-mentioned company. Ideal’s pizza-making abilities are bar none compared to Italian Pizza makers of New York City — and that’s one of the reasons we hired him, but don’t tell him I said that.
Prior to founding boldUnderline. llc — I had a 9 year stint in the US (NJ/NY) doing work for the NBA, Oxfam Group, and small businesses all over Northern New Jersey while I studied Art & Design at one of the hidden gems of Design Schools in US, Montclair State University. On the other side, I am a father to a spirited one-and-a-half year old. If you’re a father like me and know how it is to raise an active child, you will understand that building a global product, such as Goodwerp, is a walk in the park. Because of my false confidence in back-end development, I tend to brake code once in a while without caution.
One other great addition to our team is our Cheif Advisor, Dan Kurani. He is currently advising us on product development and growth. Dan was previously the CEO and Founder of Thumb, Inc., which recently got acquired by Y-Pulse. Thumb was voted one of the 7 Social Networks to watch for in 2013 by CNN. The app has more than 2.5m active users with monthly engagement rates second only to Facebook. Above all, Dan is an avid surfer and a family man with a great sense on holistic approaches to everything he does, hinted with bits of science and proven techniques. Dan and I have been working together on-and-off since circa 2001 when I applied as a graphic designer to then Kurani Interactive (Nike, etc.).
Another fancy fact is that we’re not located in Silicon Valley, which is a plus of sorts as we’re away from all the distractions and can concentrate fully on making the product better. Go figure, products can be built in other places around the world. Part of our success we owe to the dynamic energy of Prishtina, the city we’re based in currently. It’s one of the most dynamic places in Southern Europe packed with entrepreneurial spirit and enthusiastic engineering.
Goodwerp is built on CodeIgniter, a PHP framework made by EllisLab, Inc. (the makers of ExpressionEngine) — coincidentally enough, our website is built on Expression Engine as well. CodeIgniter is a robust and flexible framework that allows for quick manipulations, perfect for our ever-growing product. Also, security is key to what makes CodeIgniter a perfect choice for rapid development.
As far as security and servers go, from day one we opted for super-fast strong Rackspace servers. Combined with their Fanatical Support® and easy scaling, Rackspace is the perfect fit for our users to get the best out of our cloud software and security.
Node.js is leveraged for real-time communications and Dropbox is initially our choice for file-sharing within Goodwerp.
As we have started letting the world know about our product, we’re busy optimizing our modules and fine-tuning new features. Also, we’re working on releasing web-based mobile/tablet versions with essential features only.
What makes goodwerp better than all other project management apps — is our wonderful team that can’t shut-up about the latest soccer transfers & classic films — and mainly our ability to rapidly evaluate user feedback in making the product better — A project management tool that actually helps teams communicate better and get stuff done.
Start by bringing your team to Goodwerp and help us spread the word by tweeting about it.
In the meantime, if you have any burning questions and can’t wait for us to write an article about it, simply Email us at info [at] goodwerp.com.