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Business

Our CMS, Ourselves

As we rounded our 12th quarter, we decided to take our digital destiny into our own hands.

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When we started Postlight, we quickly found ourselves in a pickle, with 25 full-time employees and our major client announcing chapter 11 bankruptcy, one of the very worst kinds of bankruptcy. In desperation we started a newsletter and, as if we weren’t attention-hungry enough, a podcast.

We did what you’re supposed to do as a startup, which is: Build nothing and own less. We used Medium for the blog and SoundCloud for the podcast, Mailchimp for the mailing list, Meetup for the events. Our website was kept on GitHub and hosted out of Netlify. We threw parties, tweeted, did experiments—whatever could stir interest in our firm.

It worked out fine, don’t worry. But as the company grew we started to feel the strain of using many platforms instead of one platform we controlled. I’ve written about this, in a piece called “I Miss Staging.” The point of that piece was that as wonderful as it is to have cheap or free platforms for making things available online, it’s hard to understand how those things all fit together. You end up with a fragmented experience with a lot of seams. We were fragmented, and we didn’t have control.

This is the same situation that many of our clients find themselves in. They’ve given up control to third-parties and now they want it back for themselves. They want their own platform. They want to innovate. And they want to know exactly how people are finding them.

We realized that we needed that same freedom. No more issuing pull requests in GitHub or hacked-together case study pages. We need a single framework that matches our own growth today. One that we own, host, and manage ourselves. With that comes more risk, but more opportunity to tell our own story on our own terms.

And now we’ve got our own archive, too—Postlight has grown a culture and a history, and it’s here in one place, from the podcasts, to the announcements of new leadership roles, and the events we’ve hosted. After three years, we’re in charge of our own destiny. And ready to grow.

Paul Ford is the C.E.O. of Postlight. 

Story published on Oct 29, 2018.