How we secured a spot in thoughtbot’s toolkit
thoughtbot is a design agency that builds custom software for web and mobile platforms. But there is more purpose to it than that. What truly drives the people at thoughtbot is a shared desire to continually find better ways to do their work and to improve on both a personal and professional level. They firmly believe this is the kind of attitude that creates a work environment in which their teams can thrive, allowing them to build excellent products for their clients.
Since 2005, thoughtbot has been actively sharing knowledge on their blog "Giant Robots Smashing into Other Giant Robots" and – as evidenced by their 47.6K followers on Twitter – they have gained a massive audience as a result of it. Aside from that, thoughtbot has released a ton of open source and useful developer products, so it may come as no surprise that Transloadit's founders were fans long before thoughtbot became a customer.
With over twelve years of experience in the business, thoughtbot has grown to be one of the frontrunners in the field of software development. They have collaborated with over 700 organizations, varying from the smallest startups to large multinationals and prestigious universities, to design a variety of great products. The company currently has teams situated throughout the United States and in London.
Finding the right tool for the job
A major part of what customers love so much about thoughtbot is the speed with which they are able to deliver quality work. One of the core philosophies at thoughtbot is to get to market quickly in order to validate their assumptions. Matt Sumner, developer at thoughtbot, explains it a little better:
“We want to build the right thing and the best way to do that is to get your product in front of users and iterate. We want fast feedback when we build anything. This is reflected best in our product design sprint process, which involves getting a prototype in front of users within the first week of product work. This gives us the confidence that we're building the right thing.”
Working under strict time constraints means that there can often be little time to nail down solutions for any problem that arises. This was also the case during one such design sprint, when they were working on improving an existing product. One of the team’s main assumptions was that requiring user-uploaded video files to be in a specific format would cause friction. This was validated when they got to the user interviews, so they quickly needed to find a reliable, scalable, and affordable file-processing service that could deal with all edge cases.
Matt recalls the requirements thoughtbot had in mind as they were searching for a solution:
“Our main criteria was that it needed to play well with our existing technology stack and needed to be simple to implement. We had files being uploaded to S3 and would need to display them later in a browser. We wanted to allow users to upload videos of varied file types but have them seamlessly convert into MP4 behind the scenes.”
While there are other services on the market that also offer this type of mass data conversion, the team at thoughtbot eventually chose Transloadit over its competition. We like to think that also having a robot featured in our logo played a big part in their decision, but Matt explains what made Transloadit really stand out to them:
“One of the things that set Transloadit apart from their competition is the various language SDKs they had available. We were working with a Ruby on Rails application and having a native SDK made the decision to use Transloadit that much easier. This allowed us to quickly integrate Transloadit with our product, freeing us to work on the functionality that made it different.”
A solution you can trust
In order to consistently deliver quality software products on a short timescale, thoughtbot has to be able to rely on the tools they choose to work with – and Transloadit is proud to have a place in their arsenal. According to Matt, not having to implement video encoding themselves has been the biggest benefit from working with Transloadit:
“Using Transloadit likely saves weeks of development and is certainly a more robust solution then managing transcoding yourself. Being able to concentrate on the unique aspects of our product instead of re-inventing the wheel cannot be understated.”
Whenever thoughtbot is in need of mass conversion of data at a moment’s notice, they can be sure that Transloadit will be there to offer them a reliable and versatile file-processing solution that is ready for whatever they need, when they need it.
”We are always looking for tools and services that solve problems well. Getting a product in front of users as quickly as possible is so important to us and having solutions we can trust is paramount. When we have the right-shaped problem in the future, we'll certainly reach for the correct tool to solve it – and Transloadit has a place in my toolbelt.”
– Matt Sumner