ANDi is blogging
ANDi is blogging! Since we started working on ANDi, we get a lot of questions about our day to day activities. Although we base ourselves in London, we have staff working from the surrounding areas of London, as well as Essex and Bournemouth, Dorset. Our business partners and connections as well as friends and family, regularly ask us how we manage this. What tools do we use? How do we make important business decisions? How do we keep in contact (hint: we are heavy Slack users), and surprising quite common are questions about what we eat and what we listen too. In a series of ANDi blogs we aim to open the door and shed some light on how ANDi Games Ltd operates as startup, provide an insight to our daily work patterns and provide an opportunity for you to get to know the team.
In first of these blogs, we are speaking to Samuel Koch, ANDi’s Chief Technology Officer. We find out what tools Sam uses to keep in touch with his founding partner, Ben Woolf. What Sam and Babak, our Lead Back End Developer, are working on and what we can expect from the next big update to our Android BETA app.
How hard has it been as a startup working remotely, and what has helped collaboration from the outset?
Sam Koch: From the very start my business partner Ben has lived and worked in Essex and I live in the very north of London which meant we either arranged to meet up in central London and working from a public space, which takes up time traveling when we could be working, and when you’re setting up a startup alongside your current job, is very difficult. So often we would end up working remotely, but on the same stuff. We had to create a business plan, email decks, pitch decks, financial forecasts and other legal documents. The way to do that was by creating a company domain on Google and using Google Drive, then we can really collaborate over these very important documents and view and edit each other’s work. The only problem which others we’ve spoken to seem to agree on is the lack of consistently fast internet connection across the whole of London, which makes things difficult when you have to be online the whole time.
Are there any specific tools you’ve discovered that have helped running a startup?
We already use quite a few tools to get things done. LivePlan handles our Business Plan and Financials, CharlieHR handles all our basic HR needs, Trello for all task management and Github for safely developing code into our platform simultaneously. We even have FounderSuite for tracking the hundreds of investors we are in constant communication with and posting updates to the investors we already have on board. There is pretty much a tool for everything. I haven’t even mentioned our design tool (which is constantly changing), WordPress for our website and plenty of other tech tools we use to build features into our platform. I actually don’t think there is anything else we need right now unless someone can develop a tool to get us in front of more investors without all the hassle or paying a company like Seedrs 8% of the money we raise?
Have there been any moments of miscommunication which could have ended in catastrophe?
One big issue we’ve had from the beginning has actually been with our decks. We have reached out to investors all over the world meaning we’ve had to keep multiple versions of both the email and pitch decks for all the different currencies (USD/GBP/EUR). There’s actually no tool to help with this yet – (please prove me wrong if you know of one)! This created some consistency issues. When we updated one slide, we had to make sure to update all the different versions which didn’t always happen. So we’ve almost sent incomplete/incorrect decks to potential investors, and when you only get one chance to make a good impression with people who see tens of decks every day, we could have lost out big time.
V13 of the ANDi BETA app – What’s been changed and fixed?
V13 of the app fixed a big bug with offline capabilities. Initially, Google’s Firebase platform (which we use as our core setup) kept on crashing when initialising. We hope that bug has been fixed now and we’re monitoring it closely in case it happens again.
What’s coming up in the next big update?
V14 is going to have a big design revamp. There’s going to be an easily accessible game search bar, which will slowly learn from our customers about which games people actually want when searching and which not-so-good games to leave out. The swiping to discover page is going to have screenshots of the game to provide a better idea of what the game consists of, but also make the experience more media rich.
Our Featured Games section will grow and expand. We’ve got people talking about their favourite games from the smallest to biggest Game Developers, bloggers and vloggers and people working in the ANDi team too. We’ll also be featuring new projects from Indie Developers we support and follow. Indie Developers can also reach out to us to be considered here.
We all love listening to music whilst we work, what’s your favourite background music for working?
I used to listen to Radio1 all day every day so I didn’t have to decide what music to listen to because they play all of the music I enjoy. However, they have such great interviews and games which easily distract me so I have recently switched to Spotify playlists depending on what mood I’m in. This month I’ve probably listened to a lot of mellow pop and rock to keep my calm and helping me focus on all the work we have to do.