Serving a Creative Community

2007 – 2008

As a Strategy Architect at EchoDitto, I managed the development of an open source multimedia CMS for a media startup whose mission was to disrupt the advertising industry by connecting creative professionals directly with brands. Members of the community have produced videos, logos, and graphic design for clients such as South by Southwest Interactive, Heinz and PepsiCo.

I shepherded the website’s development, from the completion of its initial coding through public launch and the first generation of the platform. I managed the 1-3 developers who coded the site, the 3-person graphic design team, and the 7-person client team that ran the business.

I managed every detail of development around user experience in the months leading up to and following the launch, as we sought to excite new users and convert the existing user base into a cohesive community. Our focus was almost entirely on designing and implementing new features to quickly adjust to the needs of the creative producers and the Fortune 500 advertising clients.

It was on this project that I witnessed for the first time the tension founders face between the desire to create an ideal product behind closed doors and the need to get to market quickly with a minimum viable product that allowed them to begin iterating and receiving feedback. The latter ended up being a much better strategy, as we received significant feedback from users as well as clients that changed not just how the website worked, but the company’s entire business model.

Specifically, I helped to:

  • Build and refine multiple page types to best serve multiple user classes: independent creators, groups of creators seeking to work together, advertising clients managing campaigns, and users who only viewed content and voted in competitions.
  • Develop modules to enable content discovery and surface community interaction on the site, such as the most recently produced videos, Creator Spotlight, up-voted comments, and prize tallies
  • Measure performance of users based on marketing channel, such as paid online advertising, StumbleUpon users, and blog and social network outreach
  • Create a series of finely-tuned email notifications to alert users of important site actions involving their projects and activities
  • Refine the site’s voting mechanisms and contest features of the platform based on metrics, user feedback, and business goals
  • Develop campaigns and related graphic materials to augment growing amount of paid client work, such as a mock 2008 presidential ad campaign (complete with actual cash prizes)
Screenshot: Homepage
Screenshot of a user's profile page, including active projects, contacts, skills, and works submitted
Screenshot: Individual Profile Page
We developed a Creator Directory to allow independent creators to find teammates with complementary skills and partner on a project together
Screenshot: Want Ad
I helped the client analyze user engagement with a set of custom metrics and reports to augment anecdotal experience with the community
User Engagement Metrics
A sampling of new features I helped propose, design, build, and iterate.
Work proposal