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The Best of Track Changes 2019 (So Far)

A midyear roundup of our most popular articles and podcast episodes.

Happy 4th of July! We’re taking a couple of days off this week to grill out and watch fireworks from the rooftops of New York City. In the meantime, enjoy some of the most popular Track Changes articles and podcast episodes we published the first half of this year.

See you next week!

When the teams here at Postlight aren’t building software for our clients, we’re building software for ourselves. We’ve been heads-down experimenting and building this year in Postlight Labs, and we’re thrilled to share what we’ve come up with to the world. This year we released or updated a dozen Labs projects. They’re all free and available to try, download, and experiment with now. Check them out.

12 Projects in 6 Months from Postlight Labs

A dozen new free products, tools, and starter kits from your friends at Postlight Labs.

Fear, Flattery, and Word Salad: In this episode, Paul and Rich spill (not-so-secret) insider secrets and discuss what businesses should be wary of when hiring a digital agency.

If there’s anything consumer software should do for users, it’s empower them—to do something that’s hard more easily. To take the fear and uncertainty out of the numbers. To make doing the best thing the easy thing. Because money is so fraught, there’s no other class of app where there’s more opportunity to do that than in personal finance.

Personal Finance Apps Should Be Way Better

People who want to be smarter about their money deserve better tools.

A Creative Path to Find What’s Next: Harper Reed founded Modest, a mobile retail startup eventually acquired by PayPal, was CTO of Threadless and the 2012 re-election campaign of Barack Obama. It’s no wonder Rich often hears Paul say, “I wonder what Harper Reed would think.” In this episode, the pair talk to Harper about his dad’s Apple IIc, coming of age during “the most rapid capital expansion in the history of the universe,” political tech, mobile commerce, and what comes next for the defiant technologist.

Can you have Team A work on your brand and Team B work on your prototype, and meet up later? The answer is no, and after a career of saying “yes,” I’ve started saying “you need to work out your brand first.”

Do the Brand First

Don’t build your product until you know who you are.

Tradition and the Digital Age: On this episode, we sit down with Perry Hewitt, the former Chief Digital Officer of Harvard University to break down the duties of her job. Perry talks about what it’s like stepping into that role in an institution that emphasizes history and tradition. When Harvard adapts to digital, what kind of problems need to be solved? 

Some Statements of Work that are extremely detailed. They try to account for every single bit of detail. The problem with that approach is it rarely leads to great software. Right out of the gate, it compromises strategic flexibility and hamstrings design. It may promise true clarity and predictability but it rarely unfolds that way. Then you have to share the bad news: “What you’re asking for is out of scope.”

Embracing Change in Software

Skip the out-of-scope dance and get on with adjusting quickly to what’s best.

Putting the fun in funnel: Salesforce and Mailchimp seem to be everywhere, from the buildings around us to the platforms we’re creating for clients. How can we integrate sales funnels without destroying user trust? Can we understand the immense economy underneath each online click? What does this mean for the future of the platforms we create?

At Postlight, we’re known for using modern technology to build our products and accomplish our client’s goals. But the word modern cuts both ways. New isn’t always better!

Software Stacks for the Long Haul

Weighing innovation, functionality, and stability in your software choices.

Good design doesn’t have to be complex: Like many, Rich feels like an outsider when it comes to design. To non-designers, the field can seem confusing, even intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be. At Postlight, design drives the process, and in this episode we break down that process.

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Story published on Jul 3, 2019.