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Engineering for the unique social media problems of corporate/local

After many sleepless nights and cases upon cases of Diet Coke, we launched Hearsay Social last Thursday. I’m really proud of our Hearsay Social product, and I thought it made sense to take a few minutes to explain why it’s unique.

Back when Clara and I started the company almost two years ago, we sat down to think about our customers and what they needed. We realized that while we sell to unified organizations, we actually have two distinct types of customers: corporations (the ones who have to watch for branding and compliance issues), and local representatives (the ones who use it to communicate with their customers). In order to make our customers successful (and honestly, in order to make Hearsay successful), we need to make sure Hearsay Social works well for both audiences.

We know the local reps are busy people. They don’t have time to learn a whole new product with a lot of fancy features or obscure configuration switches. So we created an interface that was simple, elegant, and similar to the interfaces they already knew; we didn’t go for reinventing the wheel here. We don’t aim to look exactly like any other consumer website, but where a concept is useful, we aim to reuse it as much as possible. The result is an interface we hope is intuitive and easily maneuvered, and feels more like a polished consumer product than your typical confusing enterprise software.

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At the same time, we realize that corporations need a highly scalable, configurable product that fits into their existing investments in enterprise IT systems. Running in the background is a solid infrastructure that takes into account how businesses actually work. We invested heavily in a flexible data architecture because we know our clients have complex organizations in place, and it’s not their job to fit into our model—it’s our job to fit into theirs. Likewise, we’re investing across the board in enterprise tools integration to make sure we work with—not against—technologies that are already in place.

Another thing that makes Hearsay Social different is our approach to compliance. I’ll get into the details in a separate blog post, but basically, rather than trying to intercept traffic as it travels across “the wire,” we talk directly to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to access and archive data. This means it works at home, at the office, or on mobile devices, instead of just your corporate network. And because these APIs are officially supported by the social networks, they always work—as opposed to “on the wire” traffic that can change formats on a daily basis. And when it changes, it breaks. Not cool if you’re relying on this to keep you safe!

Don’t think that just because we’ve launched our engineers are resting, or even sleeping! We’re continuously working on the product to make it more capable, while striving to keep it simple. Check us out on Facebook and let us know what you think of Hearsay Social, and how we can improve it. We’ll be here guzzling our Diet Cokes.

And if you’re reading this and can’t wait to get your hands on the code, email me–we’re hiring!

Email: steve@hearsaysocial.com

Twitter: @stgarrity
Facebook: stgarrity