Thanks for 2017!

Chris Ball
Chris BallTuesday, January 9, 2018
Echobind logo

2017 was a great year for Echobind! You may have heard us classify last year as an investment year, but it was so much more than that. We solidified the foundation of our company by taking some time away from consulting work to improve our processes. That investment allows us to do better work more efficiently. We’re excited about Echobind’s direction and have some announcements below, but let’s first start with a recap of 2017.

A look back on the year

Chris Ball laughing with co-worker

The majority of last year’s business included a good mix of team augmentation, greenfield projects and code audits. Four of our top five revenue generating clients were from the healthcare space. With years of developing medical and life science applications, healthcare continues to be a sweet spot for our team. Here are a some of the projects we had a hand in:

  • Lead the charge on multiple Elixir projects for one of our largest clients
  • Helped upgrade, build features, and later simplify several large Ember and Ruby on Rails applications
  • Developed and executed a plan to migrate a patient database from MSSQL to Postgres allowing the consuming applications to reduce external dependencies
  • Brought balance to a company with a large dev team during employee transitions
  • Helped a healthcare startup scope out an application to replace their manual processes with a small application that is built to grow alongside their business
  • Built a highly customized lead management system to delegate and incentivize resellers to treat their leads like gold as future leads are predicated on positive user actions
  • Created and launched our first react native application early last year
  • Audited the codebase of a company that one of our clients was interesting in acquiring
  • Audited existing mobile apps before embarking on a rewrite in React Native

What our clients said about us

Chris Ball and Sarah Case at client meeting

A day of user stories in Boston, MA.

We made an effort to better collect feedback throughout the project. We’re not just surveying new clients. We’re reaching out to long term clients to ensure they’re as happy with us now as they were when we started. It’s been valuable to have a constant pulse on our partnerships. Many of these learnings have found their way back into our corporate checklists. A Healthcare organization that we worked with for a second time said this about our standards:

“The results exceeded my expectations. We wanted to maintain certain high standards of code and at the same time do a robust amount of testing. They created a big part of the application from scratch, proving to have a good understanding of the frameworks and the languages they were working with.”

An Educational company that we’ve worked with over multiple years said:

“I’ve had people look at the code, and they’ve been blown away by its quality. There are standards for working with and building an application like ours, and Echobind has gone above-and-beyond.”

Finally, a life sciences company that we’ve work with on and off again over the last two years wrote:

“They’re accountable and there’s not much handholding in the sense of getting Echobind up to speed. They’re experts in their domain, so we got the team up-and-running in our environment quickly. Echobind was responsive and understood our goals and deadlines. They were accurate in terms of estimates, so we didn’t require a long planning phase.”

Expanding our team

Michael Yared and Dave Wasmer at lunch

We welcomed Dave Wasmer to our team in July. Dave brought an expertise in design, UX, Ember, and Node to Echobind. Having additional UX and design capabilities in house has proven to benefit our clients even if they’re not specifically contracting us for that purpose. We’ll continue to expand upon those capabilities this year.

We’ve also reorganized how we lead accounts. Every account, regardless of size, has the full braintrust of our entire agency. We achieve this by having both client and agency advocates assigned on each team. This ensures that our project managers and development team discuss estimates and critical decisions before a solution is decided upon. We dedicate time each week to review these lessons agency wide.

Building community

Chris Ball giving a speech

Chris Ball at a Boston Ember meetup.

Conferences and community are really important to us. We continued to be a part of key conferences and meetups in the communities we’re involved with.

We sponsored two conferences in 2017:

Our team members spoke at four conferences:

We attended three other conferences:

We also gave talks, sponsored, and helped organize the following meetups:

  • Boston Ember
  • React Native Boston
  • Boston Elixir
  • Elixir Louisville
  • Ember.js Denver

We plan to attend, speak, and sponsor even more conferences in 2018.

Building Content

Robert Beene speaking at ElixirConf

Robert Beene at Lonestar ElixirConf in Austin, TX.

Our team wrote on a variety of topics last year. This year, you can expect more of the same with some additional formats making their way into the mix. Here are a few of our top articles from last year in case you missed them:

Agency Partnerships

Chris Ball and Michael Yared on ski lift

Chris Ball and Michael Yared meeting 9,000' high in Breckenridge, CO.

We’ve always viewed other agencies as potential partners and friends. This year, we met a lot of great agencies and had the opportunity to work with a handful. One worth calling out are the fine folks at Adorable. We look forward to helping each other build great companies in 2018!

Kicking off the new year 🚀

To start, we’re diversifying our company focus. We’ve identified opportunities to reduce cost and risk for our clients, and we’re excited to package and share our solutions. In 2018, we are dedicating resources toward developing agency products that serve the needs of our client base. Our goal is to build a suite of long-term products that create value for Echobind. Chris Ball’s primary focus will be leading the product business.

Our consulting business will continue to get the lion share of our attention and resources. We’re growing our team to support new clients and broaden our expertise. As we’ve always done, we’ll continue to invest in employee growth and support our communities through mentorship and open source initiatives. Michael Yared’s primary focus will be leading the consulting business.

We’re thrilled for 2018, so send us a note if your company is looking to develop custom software or you just want to chat. We’re always available to bounce ideas off of and explain how we approach problems.

Happy New Year from Team Echobind!

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