Leaving Mediafly

Most of my writing these days is on LinkedIn and Twitter/X.

Cross-posted from LinkedIn:

Today marks the last day in my 14 year journey with Mediafly.

When I joined, I thought this would be a 2-4 year job. I joined as employee # 9, and have had the good fortune of participating in growing this company to hundreds of employees. I’ve experienced a whole career of experiences during that time, including helping sell and service to the world’s largest companies; building world-class Engineering and Product teams that rival some of the best I’ve ever worked with; completing and integrating 8 acquisitions; successfully guiding us through intense technology audits; and building scalable processes that will far outlast my tenure.

I met Carson, Mediafly’s founder and co-CEO, while at a previous startup where we did a joint project together. After a year of consulting for Mediafly, Carson and the team closed our first enterprise customer, RE/MAX, and I decided to join full-time. During these 14 years, Carson, your force of positive energy brought us through the good times and the bad.

I’m thrilled that Kelly Anderson is taking over as Chief Technology Officer. Kelly was the VP of Engineering for the largest of our engineering teams, and is fantastic with people and process. Kelly, Mediafly is so lucky to have you and for you to step into this role!

Carson, MaryJames, and the rest of the leadership team with whom I worked closely: you have a talented team at Mediafly. I’m so excited to watch where you all progress as I follow my path down this fork in the road. And to my friends I leave behind: I’m rooting for you all!

As for me, after taking a much needed break, I plan to dive back into entrepreneurship. I am exploring buying a small business, or starting one. Likely, but not necessarily, software. Stay tuned and stay in touch!

Announcing SalesKit Meeting Tracker

(Cross-post from Mediafly and LinkedIn)

Here at Mediafly, we work hard to make the lives of salespeople better. We talk to a lot of salespeople, and what we hear from reps over and over again is “I hate my CRM.” This feeling comes from many reasons:

  • While CRM is very valuable to sales management, salespeople find these systems add little to no value to their primary job as salespeople
  • After a long day or week of meetings, salespeople have to drag themselves into their CRM to record notes of what happened in each sales meeting they had—instead, they want to be working towards their next deal or spending time with their families
  • CRM systems in general are clunky, complex, and require a lot of clicks/taps to accomplish the most basic of tasks

What does SalesKit Meeting Tracker do?
Once SalesKit Meeting Tracker has been turned on for your company’s environment, tap on the “Meetings” button and start tracking your meeting.

Start Meeting

When you’re done, stop tracking, record the meeting’s details, and send them to Salesforce.com.


Complete Meeting

Your meeting’s details will appear within the Activity History for the account, contact, and opportunity you’ve chosen.

What’s coming next?
We have a rich roadmap for SalesKit Meeting Tracker, including integration to our other app platforms (web, Windows, Mac, Android) and to other CRM platforms (Microsoft Dynamics, SAP Cloud for Customer).

The consolidation of tablets and laptops begins

IDC announced today that worldwide tablet sales growth is expected to slow to 7.2%, and that iPad shipments will decline by 12.7%, the first year-over-year decline in the history of the product’s existence. This is significantly different from their 2013 report, which showed a year-over-year growth rate of 50.6%.

This announcement coincides with what I’ve been predicting for the past two years:from an enterprise perspective, tablets and laptops will largely consolidate to a single form factor.

The drivers are clear. Enterprise users want to be able to work effectively, regardless of what device their working on. They don’t want to carry around multiple devices and companies don’t want to supply or manage multiple devices. The iPad is a revolutionary device but it’s strengths still lie in content consumption, not content creation. Another limitation is the fact that users don’t want to have to have another upgrade path on tablets that is separate from their phones and their laptops. And on top of that, companies struggle to keep up with device upgrades.

Despite prior years showing the significant growth of tablets as a device platform and Mediafly being a “mobile-first” enterprise software company, we’ve seen that our web viewer still ranks as the top platform. The device report below is from one of our enterprise customers and illustrates how important the browser is (represented by Mediafly Web Viewer).

Our web Viewer gets the most usage


We see a number of additional data points over and over that further justify this trend:

  • Many customers and prospects are hesitant about rolling out iPads to their salespeople and general employee base as they work to reconcile the capital expense and challenges of managing another track of devices with the enablement benefits they provide.
  • More and more of the new Windows PCs are tablet hybrids as well, with full touch screens, detachable keyboards, and a full-featured operating system behind it. We are eagerly awaiting OS X to support these features as well, and expect this to happen in the coming 1-2 years as tablet sales decrease even faster.
  • Larger phones (e.g. iPhone 6+, Galaxy S5, and Nexus 5) are decreasing the importance of also carrying around additional devices such as tablets and laptops.

What are we doing about it?

In anticipation of this shift, we are working on a new desktop solution that will work on multiple operating systems (Windows 7 and above, and Mac OS X 10.8 and above) and support all of our mobile app features including: full offline access, offline search, intelligent syncing, and Interactives. The desktop solution will remove the line between devices and will allow an end user to experience the benefit of our solutions everywhere.

Our target timeframe for launch is Q3 2015. We’ll keep you updated on our progress and share details along the way.

(Cross-posted on the Mfly Blog)

Amazon Web Services and “cost stabilization”

When deleting a large chunk of data from Amazon S3, AWS struggles a bit with figuring out how much you actually owe.

We at Mediafly deleted ~30% of the tens of terabytes of data from one of our AWS accounts yesterday. One would expect the appropriate cost graph to drop ~30% as well. However, this (obfuscated) chart, output from our installation of Netflix Ice, the excellent open source tool contributed by Netflix, appears as if we outright deleted all content from our S3 bucket.

Amazon AWS S3 costs after deletion


Seeing this graph raised some alarms (“oh crap! Did we just delete everything??”), but thankfully the reality does not match what was depicted here. Time will tell when and how that information is updated, however.

Introducing Mediafly Airship

I’m proud to have worked with my colleagues at Mediafly to beta-release Airship, the web-based content management system that we’ve been working on for almost a year.  It’s been a fantastic experience conceiving of, designing, and working with them to build the system.  I’ve learned a few things about introducing new products during this process.

  • Speed is essential. The engineer in all of us on the team wants to build a robust, scalable system up front. But doing so has gotten us into trouble in the past. So, this time, we opted to build super-fast, and worry about scalability when we need to. After all, while we may have a guess as to what the scalability challenges may be 6 months from now, we could be very wrong. So it’s better to kick the can down the road at this early stage.
  • Saying no to feature requests is hard. Very very hard. Especially to ones that are good ideas, but are not a part of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
  • Frequent meetings and checkins are important. We met 2-3 times/week in 5-minute standup meetings, and informally lots of times/week to hash out ideas.
  • What was hard in the old system is easy now.  With our old Publisher system, getting the media into the system took ages. Users had to use a user-unfriendly “filechucker” that we wrote years ago, to incrementally upload files. Or, they would have to paste a URL. This time we used highly developed open source tools, and as a result, importing is as easy as dragging and dropping into your browser.
  • What was easy in the old system is hard (for now). Assign security groups to a large number of files was relatively easy. Now, (at least in MVP), it requires making changes to each file independently. While this is a short term solution, it is incredibly error prone and time consuming.

Lots more thoughts coming soon. In the meantime, congratulations team, and keep on flying!