This month our friends over at Contegix launched both their newsletter and client spotlight series, and we were very excited to be featured in both!
The client spotlight and newsletter spot featured our Co-Founder and CTO Giles Goodwin in a Q&A. Giles spoke about our use of Contegix as our managed hosting provider, how they enable us to deliver awesome widgets and mobile sites to our customers, and how the fit with our future product strategy.
To find out about our work with Contegix, read a copy of the interview below, or read the original interview post on the Contegix site
Each month, Contegix will spotlight one of the many, unique clients that call Contegix home for their internet infrastructure. They range across industries – from innovative tech start-ups, to software giants and Fortune 500 companies. You’ll learn what challenges they faced while growing, and just how technology plays a crucial role in their daily operations. We’ve also opened the floor to our clients to ask us a question of choice – from the serious to the somewhat silly, but all informative. Enjoy!
FIRST UP: Widgetbox –
Co-founder and CTO, Giles Goodwin
Contegix: Why was Widgetbox started?
In 2006, content was highly available through feeds like RSS, Atom and JSON, but we believed content syndication should be the building blocks of websites, blogs, and profiles–not just consumed in feed readers. So we built Widgetbox to provide a gallery of Widgets – tools for developers to build widgets, and a platform for anyone to wrap that feed content up in attractive and interactive mini-applications called widgets. Our widgets can be used as building block components to add content to sites and applications ranging from interactive content rich ads to mobile sites optimized for iPhone and Android devices.
Contegix: What are some of the challenges that Widgetbox faced while growing?
The two biggest challenges we’ve faced are keeping up with the fast pace changes in the internet -like the shift users made from MySpace to Facebook, and the emergence of the iPhone-and keeping up with the growth of our user base. We grew from a few thousand widget impressions a day, to nearly a billion a month over the last three years. Both of these challenges mean scaling up our technology to work with multiple other systems to be reliable for all our users.
Contegix: How has technology played a role in the success of Widgetbox?
The natural re-usability of widgets has been key for us. We use the same underlying widget components and infrastructure to serve ads to the world’s largest online websites as we do to provide small businesses their html5 iPhone sites. This means we can develop new products and features quickly and they scale well without any extra work. We also have a very productive product organization. Our process for building software works well, and we release new code to users each week. Finally, we take advantage of lots of open source projects such as MySQL, Memcached, and Spring, like many other internet companies, bringing big advantages to development and operations.
Contegix: What made Widgetbox decide to go with us?
We needed a managed hosting provider who could provide us with very good reliability and work with us to understand the specifics of our software. I asked around and Contegix was recommended by 3 different CTOs or Ops Leads at various other companies we worked with. My initial meetings with Matthew and Craig were great, and they actually helped us out with some issues we were having with our previous provider.
Contegix: How do you see us fitting into your technology strategy now and in the future?
Contegix has proved to be great at both supporting us day-to-day and managing our growth. We recently doubled capacity of one of our services over a weekend. They handled that very well, and came up with creative solutions to specific issues that would have blocked other hosting providers. We’ll use them more as we grow because we know we can count on the service they provide and they’ll own the problems with us, not provide us with new ones along the way.
Contegix: What other companies in the tech field (and beyond) do you admire, and why?
The obvious ones are Apple for design, and Google for scale; also Amazon for turning a book selling business into a revolutionary technology company. There is also a slide deck floating around the web about Netflix’s values, which is pretty impressive and full of things I hope we can claim when we’re as big as they are.
Contegix: Fair Game: Ask us a question. Serious or silly. And we’ll answer. What would you like to know about us? (Question will go to a tech person or management member for answer.)
What are your long-term goals for Contegix? How do you plan to reach them?
Answered by Matthew Porter, Co-Founder and CEO of Contegix:
“Long-term goals are often difficult to reach in any business, especially in technology. Therefore, we believe the goals must always be based around our core value. For us, that is pushing technology and our delivery of technology to meet the customer’s needs. We make steps on a daily basis to achieve these goals. This is what caused us to deliver on the promise of an enterprise-grade cloud in 2009. In the next few months, our customers will hear of a few exciting announcements that will allow us to better serve them in a big way.”