The last 45 days have been an incredible change for all of us. Hello Iconic spent the first month of this year in review, planning, and goal setting meetings to align the team for an exciting 2020, then in March COVID-19 hit. Everyone in the world had to adjust, including ourselves.
Despite that, Hello Iconic wants to share with you some of the projects of the last 12 months, especially since this adds some context to a question we often get from fresh introductions: “what exactly is it that you do?”.
So what exactly do we do? Are we a dev-shop, a design studio, a consulting firm, a technology architecture team, a project management firm, an innovation lab? The reality is, Hello Iconic is all of those integrated into a multidisciplinary team working with innovators creating new digital products.
The best way to describe the variety of clients and technologies Hello Iconic works with is to share a little about the projects that have kept us busy over the last 12 months. Here are a few examples:
Neil Young Archives
Web, iOS and Android products for Legendary Artist
Almost a year ago, Hello Iconic started conversations with Neil Young Archives’ digital product team to help them transition from a multi-vendor approach for their iOS, Android, and Web applications to become their single trusted technology partner for the ongoing development and maintenance of their apps. We are very excited to be working with them and help Neil’s vision of bringing high definition audio to his fans.
For this project, Hello Iconic assigned a multidisciplinary team of Product Management, iOS, Android, and Web Development (React), DevOps (AWS) skills that has become an extension of their team on all things digital. https://neilyoungarchives.com
The origins of Hello Iconic company are in Startups. We love working with founders from the very early stages of the idea, adding value not just on the implementation but also providing mentorship & advice to non-technical founders as they embark on the startup journey. With TradeZella, we started at the very inception of the idea that Umar Ashraf had to develop a new platform to support his large community of stock traders from Stock Market Lab and others seeking to improve and “find their edge” as traders.
For this project, Hello Iconic started with a Product Discovery Workshop, where our senior partners coached Umar through Design Thinking, Lean Startup, SCRUM, and Roadmapping exercises to help him and his team discover and craft a product vision that made sense for his users. We kicked off 2020 with the larger project of designing, developing, and releasing the TradeZella web application (launching later this year).
We are providing a dedicated team with Product Management, UX/UI Designers, Web Developers (Rails, React on Heroku) with a lot of API integrations for different stock market data sources and brokers. To stay on the loop, follow @TradeZella on Instagram.
The Biggest Entertainment Company in the World
Expand their video streaming apps to all platforms
Over the last four years, Hello Iconic has been working on a multi-platform project, helping one of the largest media and entertainment companies in the world expand the footprint of their TVe (TV Everywhere) apps. When we started working with them in 2016, we helped them improve the performance of their iOS and Android mobile streaming apps as well as their cloud CMS and API backend Ruby on Rails systems. Once those optimizations were stable, we started building their OTT apps one after the other: Android TV, FireTV, Chromecast, Apple TV, Samsung SmartTV, Alexa Video Skill, and Roku.
With this project, Hello Iconic expanded and matured our SCRUM processes, adapting to working with their Enterprise level PMO and Product, Quality Assurance, Analytics, Data Science, AdTech, Compliance, and others we had not been exposed before on the startup world.
From the technology stack and skills side, this project has it all: High trust ongoing Product Management, Project Management, Platform Architecture, Web Apps with Ruby on Rails, Node, AWS Lambda, Mobile Apps, OTT Apps, iOS, tvOS, Android, Tizen OS, Roku Scene Graph, Alexa Skills, Google Home, Unity, and other development environments and integrations with services like Omniture, Nielsen, Amplitude, Google Ad Manager, Freewheel, TrueX, NewRelic, Kochava, and more.
One of the main areas of expertise Hello Iconic has developed and continued to mature with this project is the video-streaming applications space. As a result, we now have in-depth knowledge and development skills for video playback for streams like HLS, MPEG-DASH, DRM Fairplay, Widevine and Playready, as well as different business models like AVOD, SVOD, and new experimental formats and user engagement models.
Political News, Video & Media Startup
One of the projects Hello Iconic wrapped up 2019 with was the main web app for TheRecount.com, a startup focusing on a new approach to Political Journalism through short-form Videos. Founded by John Battelle and John Heilemann, the company is backed by top-tier investors like Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures. This fund led their $13 Million Series A investment round. Also, just a couple of weeks ago, the Recount was nominated for a Webby Award for its archival series Rewind.
Our first assignment was to work with their in-house tech team on building a new React web application to handle their primary web traffic and kickoff 2020 with that release and an ongoing relationship to maintain and continue to expand and improve their web presence for mobile and desktop experiences.
On this project, our video streaming expertise meets our years of web development experience on a product that requires both. On the technology and project skills side, we provide a mix of modern web stack development with Node and React, web-based video players, as well as page load optimization, automated testing, and ongoing project management at a speed of a startup.
Fintech startup redefining banking
Although Hello Iconic started as a software engineering-heavy team, we have been expanding our skills to match the needs of our clients. With time, we have expanded our capabilities to work with our clients on the execution of their product vision from the start. One of the areas we have grown the most at is Product Design, not only UX and UI design but also User Research.
In collaboration with Arizona Bay, we are working with Good Money on an ongoing user research engagement. Good Money is a venture-backed online-bank that aims to redefine the bank’s relationship with its customers. Here is how they define themselves: “is the first banking platform that will be owned by customers, generates up to 8% in yield on deposits in Good Shares & protects 10 trees with every purchase you make.”
For their mission, their digital products must be well understood, communicate effectively, and provide the right experience to their customers. Every feature, every word, every color, and placement of a button is continuously being tested, analyzed, and feedback is sent back to the product team for improvements on their product. Our user research team defines, runs, analyzes, and reports results to Good Money multiple times per week.
Blockchain voting platform
Ballotted, is an easy to use blockchain-based voting platform that allows any group or organization to quickly set up and run special elections using a web-based management system and mobile apps (iOS and Android).
Ballotted has successfully run elections for university student governments, non-profit organizations boards, and others. Hello Iconic has been incubating Balloted and working non-stop over the last year, investing time and resources with a dedicated product team across design, development, QA, and Product Management.
Hello Iconic has taken advantage of this opportunity to play around with cutting edge technologies like Solidity, Web3, zk-Snarks, and research around smart contracts, zero-knowledge proof, and blind signatures for Blockchain-based applications. These technology concepts and skills are now part of our offering to clients.
Well, that is a lot!
Hello Iconic also kept skills fresh by building Proof of Concepts and smaller projects for founders with an idea or innovators in large organizations looking to experiment and reduce technology-risk for their ideas.
With this variety of projects, defining a precise positioning for Hello Iconic has always been a challenge. We work with a wide range of industries, client and budget sizes, skills, and technology stacks, but what they all have in common is that we help innovators execute their ideas through software that users interact with every day.
So what exactly do we do? Are we a dev-shop, a design studio, a consulting firm, a technology architecture team, a project management firm, an innovation lab? It doesn’t matter. If you want to create a digital product, Hello Iconic can help you get it done!