COLOGNE-Being a big ship that cannot turn quickly is not a ship you want to be piloting when it comes to technology platforms, according to Diane Yu, CTO and one of three co-founders of premium video solutions provider FreeWheel. Unless you are agile enough to grow while anticipating all customers’ demands, “You then fall behind your competitors,” Yu says.
On the eve of FreeWheel’s annual client summit in Europe, Beet.TV interviewed Yu about the company’s plans involving the QA side of the tech business. “The problem we’re dealing with, especially on the technology front, is it’s no longer making a platform to satisfy one or two customers. It’s satisfying a lot of customers and also at the same time making the platform extendable in the future,” says Yu, who first connected with co-founders Jon Heller and Doug Knopper when all three worked for DoubleClick.
In line with its founding intent to practice Agile development, FreeWheel is adopting a trend in engineering that has developers doing more testing work while delivering working software on every iteration.
“A big change we just made at freewheel is that for the next three years, we’re going to gradually remove the QA function as a function group,” Yu explains. “Everybody will turn into a developer not only just implementing code for the future but also coding for testing as well.”
That’s a major shift in the sense that “nobody has tried that with a large-scale BtoB technology platform yet. But are making that movement and it’s going to keep me very excited for the next couple of years,” says Yu.
FreeWheel’s customers include the largest media and entertainment companies in the world, including AOL, DIRECTV, NBC Universal, and Turner in the U.S., and Sky and Channel 4 in Europe. Anticipating the needs of these companies as they try to unify their audiences and monetize content across desktop, mobile, OTT and traditional STB devices means always being one step of those needs.
“To me, it’s not as critical to actually know every single customer’s demand because you need to anticipate their demand will always change,” Yu says. “You need to be able to have a platform that can adapt to any demand the customer wants.”
Which is where the nautical analogy surfaces. “If you build a platform and you’re not flexible, you cannot not meet the demand and it’s going to become a bigger and bigger ship you cannot turn around,” Yu says.
We spoke with Yu at the recent FreeWheel European summit in Cologne presented along with StickyAds.tv. Please visit this page for additional videos from Beet’s coverage.