A Company retro

6 min read

Dom Aits

18 Apr 2019

The last 6 weeks have been a blast for Company. We’ve grown as a team, released our maiden product, and our launch event at Newspeak House was a fantastic success.

But as with any startup, we face challenges and saviour successes. So we thought, hey, transparency is our bread and butter - let’s write about it. Maybe we’ll help someone out there who’s on a similar journey. Let’s chat openly about what we thought went well, what we’ve learnt, and what we know we need to do next

So time to take a hard look at ourselves, and do a Company retro…

Because every retro needs to start with a thousand-yard stare

What to celebrate about

  1. We launched! - this was a critical milestone for us, more psychologically than anything else. There is something extremely satisfying seeing the product you’ve been working on night and day, come to fruition, and actually solve a pain point. So now you can have a consent manager that protects your users’ data without sabotaging your website with a cookie banner that looks like it was designed in 1996
  2. People really really care - we were pleasantly surprised by how many people turned up to our first event at Newspeak House last week, and by the level of engagement from the audience. The privacy scares over the last few years have really riled people up. So its heartening to see that users are demanding more from the websites they visit and the products they use to safeguard the data they hand over. It tells us that there really needs to be more focus on privacy in the years to come
  3. We’ve got the most beautiful product out there - beautiful design is a fundamental part of what Company is about. There is no excuse to use poor design or dark patterns to force users to yield consent for them to be tracked. We want to show that by taking care and attention to the user experience, and a healthy dose of transparency, users will trust companies more with their data. Even one of our competitors the other day told us that we have the best looking consent manager out of them all 😉
  4. We’ve crystallised what we’re about - we took a day last week to do an off-site brainstorm, to really solidify what we all believe in, and collectively what we want Company to achieve. And yes we also had avocado on toast, and freshly ground exotic coffee, because that’s what millennials do. It’s amazing to see how we’ve centred around Company’s mission to ‘build the trust infrastructure of the Internet’. Nailing the mission and collectively working to achieve that very much helps to drive a consistent product vision and roadmap

What we’ve learnt

  1. Never stop listening - it’s never the case where you launch a product, and you then go on holiday. As soon as you launch, you will get an avalanche of feedback and suggestions for how to improve. And a lot of the feedback will be on things you did not even consider because you have been so deep in the weeds of your product for so long. Getting user feedback is not something you do, its a habit, and one we are keen to develop and foster as a central tenet at Company
  2. Be prepared to iterate fast - the pressure on the accelerator only increases post-product launch. Because with a product launch comes the responsibility to keep incrementally improving the product. So we’ve learned that its extremely important to have a tight build-and-feedback loop so we can shape our products in a way that makes our customers’ lives as easy as possible. This goes hand-in-hand with knowing what to prioritise. After all, there’s no point iterating on a feature that doesn’t give your users the most value for their time
  3. Roundtables are great for ideation - we’ve always emphasised teamwork and collaborative thinking, but over the last two weeks, we started doing a lot more roundtable thinking. Where everyone, no matter their area of expertise, is able to pitch into discussions on the product roadmap, design, content marketing and much more. Its highly effective to do this given the small size we are now (and it’ll be an exciting challenge to work out how to do this as we grow in size), and it really helps us feel like a cohesive unit
  4. Content is really important - we exist in a nascent industry where concerns about data privacy, and data ethics more broadly, are emerging into the mainstream. So its our responsibility to help nurture the discussion around these topics so that the everyday person is better aware of how their data is collected and used. And that means taking the time to digest what can be often difficult and technical material, to show it in a light that anyone can understand. Accessibility and a clear message, with a dash of good humour, is what we think makes compelling content

What we’re cracking on with

  1. Gotta keep smoothing the product - product development never ends, and we’re aware that we need to keep focusing on our products to give our customers the best experience out there. In particular, we’re going to spend a lot of time on improving onboarding flows, and to try and automate as much of it as possible, to give our customers all the support they would expect to get Company’s products up-and-running on their websites
  2. Power to the people - we want people to explore how their data is used on the Internet, and this is a natural complement to our focus on content. To that end, we’re building a public, free tool - that any company or person can use - so that they can see which tracking technologies websites are using, and whether they are using them appropriately
  3. Keeping an eye on what’s next (and you can help with that!) - we’ve so far focused on consent. In other words, on the act of asking users permission before collecting their personal data, or using tracking technologies. But we’re acutely aware that consent is one part of a grander story about data privacy, and so we’re keen to build more products to help companies reach the gold standard.

And that’s the retro complete. As we said before, it’s been an exciting journey over the last 6 weeks and we can’t wait to see what happens in the next few months.

Until next time,


(with fab contribution from the Company Team)

the author

Dom Aits

ex Strategy