In the first couple of years of Postlight, we focused on building software. We were young, bootstrapped, and came out of the gate with over 20 people on payroll. My co-founder Paul Ford and I sat down and began to work on our pitch deck. (You need a pitch deck, right?)
But we threw it away before it was done. Our roots are not in sales. We just wanted to talk, but before talking we wanted to listen. And about half the time—fully half—that meant giving people awkward news about costs and priorities. “Don’t go down that path!”
We wanted to give good advice first, and then talk to you about how Postlight could help design, build, and ultimately ship the right solution. Sometimes prospects didn’t really need our advice. They knew what they wanted and they wanted Postlight to execute. Often, our advice wasn’t in our own best interest. We told people to use off-the-shelf software, or to go with a smaller shop, or just get themselves a great freelancer, or that what they really needed was to build an in-house product team. Regardless of outcome, we approached these conversations in the spirit of partnership.
We didn’t know this was weird. Most shops our size don’t lead with strategy. They stand next to a platform (Adobe Experience Manager, Salesforce, things like that) and build their expertise. It turns out that being a partner and frequently telling people they don’t need to pay you money is kind of unusual. But you’ll be hard-pressed to find a small (well, we’re getting bigger) firm asking prospects to zoom out and think strategically. Big ideas and big strategy usually fall under the jurisdiction of Big Consulting.
What happened over time is that we evolved from a company that focuses on building software into a firm that helps with product strategy—then sees that strategy through to launch, and sticks around after. It wasn’t the plan, exactly. It just turns out that’s what we’re good at. So often these partnerships blossom into relationships that are truly extraordinary. From re-imagining a professional trading platform for Goldman Sachs to delivering the messaging ecosystem for New York’s sprawling MTA, our collaborative approach to getting to the right strategy has elevated us beyond just a product studio that ships software. And there are other partnerships of equal size and scope that are maturing today.
Postlight is a different company than we were five years ago. We have seasoned leadership, we’re growing, and while we still build lots of products, many of our relationships can be measured in years, not months.
This year, it was time to rethink Postlight’s brand and how to tell our story. We had to ask: Who are we? Are we a “digital product studio” as we’ve been saying in our website’s <title> tags for the last few years? We still build—but we’re more than that now. With the launch of our new brand experience, we wanted to convey an understated confidence in who we are and what we’ve achieved. More importantly, we want to signal to the world that we are a strategic partner throughout. It’s not a line item on the invoice, but we will scrutinize, question, and debate with you to get to the right path. It’s part of what makes us different.
It’s an extraordinary time in the world. Classic agency services fulfill requests but they don’t speak to that often unspoken need: Am I doing the right thing?
As businesses and organizations navigate these unprecedented times, we’ve built a firm that provides strategic stewardship alongside great design and engineering. We’re proud of what we’ve become and we’re excited to see where we go. And we welcome you to get in touch.
We do have a nice pitch deck now, but our mission remains: To give the best and most forthright advice that we can.