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Improving Code at Airbnb & Dropbox

Improving code at Airbnb, Dropbox, and Crunchbase

Koality

Improving code at Airbnb, Dropbox, and Crunchbase

Live from the stage/my workspace
 
 

I joined Koality as the Director of Product after three Palantir colleagues raised $300k from Peter Thiel himself. Frustrated by development delays, we set out to end code mistakes that bring large technical teams to a standstill.

 
 
 

Approach

Positioning

Instead of building another free developer tool I encouraged the team to focus on larger enterprise customers. Small teams moved so quickly that build breaks were infrequent and mistakes were easy to fix. Our product’s value for these teams was nil. Large organizations, however, were far more likely to experience breaks that could affect hundreds of highly-paid engineers. A mistake for these companies was extremely costly, and a tool with the right value prop could demand a premium.

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Product strategy

Enterprise customers needed to reduce software testing down from hours to mere minutes while maintaining absolute security. We were able to integrate with EC2 virtual machines from behind-the-firewall so proprietary code could be checked quickly and securely in the cloud.

Offering analytics also added immense value. Because all code passed through Koality, we could show which teams were doing well, whose code contained the most errors, and even what time of day mistakes were most likely to occur.

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Design

I focused on creating a product experience that would feel intuitive and familiar to software engineers. The dark color scheme mimicked a console. The biggest challenge was creating a hierarchy that would let users quickly identify a single mistake in millions of lines of code. The interface’s design and ease-of-use was a major competitive advantage that customers remarked on often during the sales process.

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Results

Helping top tech companies

Koality’s technology, positioning, and product design won Airbnb, Dropbox, and Crunchbase as customers. Our engineers and I often embedded at these companies as we set up their deployments and made customizations on the fly.

The Koality team spent so much time at Airbnb that we had a minor cameo in their 2014-15 handbook.

The Koality team spent so much time at Airbnb that we had a minor cameo in their 2014-15 handbook.

 

TechCrunch DisrupT

The Koality product was successful in identifying and displaying a single mistake in millions of lines of code, and blocking mistakes from affecting the rest of the team. The results were impressive enough that the company was admitted to TechCrunch Disrupt 2013 as a Battlefield competitor.

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Docker Acquisition

Shortly after competing at TechCrunch Disrupt and launching at AWS Re:Invent, Koality was successfully acquired by renowned cloud company Docker.