Wildbit Retreat — Summer 2012 in Palma de Mallorca

It’s that time of year again. We just returned from our twice-annual retreat, this time in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. We seem to be drawn to Spain, the last two retreats being in Barcelona and Malaga. For this trip we chose a beach vacation in a beautiful house on the water to plan the next six months as a team.

Wildbit retreat in Palma de Mallorca, Spain

What’s coming up for Beanstalk

When we started Beanstalk almost 5 years ago, we planned to build a beautiful, usable interface for Subversion that would take the pain out of hosting your own version control servers. Today, it’s really morphed into something completely different. As we ourselves mature in our development process, we realize that version control is not an isolated part in this. So many other key elements are tied to it, and makes sense to build them into Beanstalk, either natively or using really tight integrations. We started with integrating with ticketing systems, team communication/project management apps. Then we expanded into tying your deployments to your source code. Today, you can deploy with Beanstalk, tracking what changes (commits and pushes) were actually deployed through release notes. We then expanded to SSH deployments to let you run more complex deployments (like Capistrano).

On the retreat, we concentrated on figuring out what else is critical to the development process. What would we, as a team, want to see tied closely to our source code to make the developers more productive, effecting, and to save the company time and money. Through a lot of back and forth we’ve come up with some awesome ideas. The goal is to build Beanstalk in a way to support teams and their managers. To reinvent the way you use version control to manage productivity, effectiveness and quality of your code. That’s a lofty vision, and for now we’re just using it as a path going forward. We’re super excited with the ideas we’ve come up with so far, and we think you’ll like what you see in the next six months.

What’s coming up for Postmark

These last 2 years have been quite adventurous as we launched and ran Postmark. We learned very quickly how important this tool is to developers, especially as we see more and more competition entering the scene. What we also learned is it’s definitely an infrastructure product. In the last year we’ve been growing, a lot, and in the same time refactoring and rebuilding our infrastructure not to meet demand, but exceed it so we can continue to grow as rapidly. When the Postmark team met in Mallorca we spent most of the time discussing the next steps: what kind of product is Postmark going to be.

Our plan is to build you an infrastructure app you can depend on. That’s the most important step. On top of this we’ll give you smart tools to make your communication effective with your customers. Not in superficial metrics, but real-life information that can make your emails better, get to the Inbox faster and help you build a lasting relationship with your users. Naturally this will include much-requested features like open and click tracking, but also better reporting tools and a deeper API that helps you tie all of this important data right back into your app. With 4 full-time developers devoted to Postmark, we really think the next six months will be a whirlwind of new tools and improvements.

What’s next for Wildbit

As the team discussed plans together, we all agreed that it’s time to add a new member to our team. We are now actively looking to hire a new designer. We’re going to post more details to the blog later, but we’re excited to have someone new join our little family.

We also spent a lot of time with Dana discussing how we can improve support. We take support extremely seriously. We run apps that customers depend on, so when you can’t commit or emails aren’t getting delivered, we know you expect a response not only quickly, but one that presents a resolution fast. It’s very common for any of the developers on our team to get involved in support tickets, but we’re going to experiment a bit with involving the entire team in Live Chat as well. Our goal is to get you going as quickly as you can. If that means Russ, our systems admin can troubleshoot a firewall issue with you, then that’s exactly what he's going to do. Keep an eye out on some new changes to support for both apps.

This retreat was not only productive but an awesome time spent bonding and hanging out together. With half of the team remote it's so important for all of us to spend time just being in the same room. We ate together, went to the beach together, and just had an awesome time. Check out some photos on Flickr if you want to see more. Thanks to our customers who bared with the lack of live chat during the week.

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