After exactly four years of development, we are extremely excited to shout out and say Contactissimo is here! What a ride. Our company, Shtrak, is 5 years old and Contactissimo is the second product that we ever conceived. The funny thing is that it’s been such a long time since we drew the concept on the white board that it turns out it is no longer our second baby… Nevertheless, it is our most precious offspring.
When I founded Shtrak in 2010, we created a product called Povikvane which was entirely aimed at the Bulgarian market (Bulgaria is a beautiful small country north of Greece). During the first year, we learned so much from Povikvane that we already knew we wanted to build something even better. Since the market in Bulgaria is quite small, and we like to think big, we started imagining how we could create something way cooler, but this time introduce it to a much more mature
and tech-savvy audience. We wanted to build a potent tool which revolutionizes the way businesses connect with their customers, and put it in the hands of the right people.
We’ve all felt the pressure that if we are late, we might miss our chance and be overtaken by someone with a head start. That got us thinking that we should base Contactissimo on Povikvane and tweak it based on what we’d learned. One year later, we ended up having a Frankenstein-like software product that really wanted to look and function better than Povikvane, but instead it seemed like a Chinese knock-off of Rolls Royce with a stick shift. At that time, there were only 3 of us on the team and we could barely get by. Things were not looking good at all.
The end of the world
Right before 21st of December 2012, we said goodbye to 33% of our staff (the main developer left). To be honest we were truly hoping that something might go down with the universe and will save us from our suffering. On the 22nd, we realized that humanity is safe as Fort Knox and it was time to rethink our strategy.
Back to basics
The beginning of 2013 was a good time for our project. I was lucky enough to stumble upon a great friend of mine whom I hadn’t seen in over ten years. It turned out that his life had completely changed course and he was now an excellent coder. Not only that, but he was looking for a new job opportunity. A few months down the road, we were back on the white board. This time we started from scratch and laid the foundations of the Contactissimo that you see today. It was going be a strong combination of functionality and user-friendliness, simple yet brilliant. By that time, we had a slightly bigger team, but we were also busy with other things in the works. Still, we were so motivated by the rebirth of Contactissimo that we visualized it up and running by the end of the year.
Running a business while expanding the team at the same time turned out to be quite a difficult job. In fact, it was so difficult that the distraction caused by Povikvane, the new outsourcing services that we were providing, and the thousand other mini cash-cow commitments drew us off course, and Contactissimo metamorphosed from a skeuomorphic-like software to a flat Apple-design-wanna- be. It was functioning okay, but it looked and felt funky. This was the time when we started asking ourselves whether we wanted to put out something that was sort of what we wanted, and would bring us some profit, or to keep working on it until we finally had what we truly imagined. It goes without saying which option we went with.
It might sound like a cliché, but my eyes are tearing up as I am writing this article, because this IS IT. There are no more excuses. We have worked our butts off and can finally present what we envisioned throughout the years. We are scared shitless, because it will either perfectly serve its purpose, or totally miss the mark. The tricky thing about this project has always been its wide scope and the limitless applications in all environments. To give you a better perspective, creating Contactissimo was like building the ultimate car for the masses. It’s supposed to be an economic, stylish, powerful, luxury off-roader, comfortably fitting seven passengers and taking no more space than a family hatch. Impossible, you might say? We don’t think so. We believe we have found the recipe and are convinced that Contactissimo will fit all communication needs. It is intuitive and easy to use and it combines the essential, most important functionalities of all mass communication channels – e-mail, SMS, and automated phone calls. Did we mention it’s a feast for the eyes? Our ugly duckling has grown into a swan and we couldn’t be more proud. We know we have a lot to learn, fix, and improve, but overall, we are confident that Contactissimo will prevail. It’s a pleasure for us to have you join us. Buckle up!