2017: The year in review

, a 8-minute piece by Dev Mukherjee Dev Mukherjee

Our focus for 2017 was a sustainable transition into a product business. Earlier in the year we announced Twine our mouldable productivity platform. Our team that developed our processes and technologies were hell bound on pushing our most ambitious effort to date. A few unexpected departures forced us to re-evaluate our position.

Standing by a product is a large part of user experience. Building something well always takes a lot longer than you anticipate and what makes for a truly great experience is when the vendor stands by you.

Anomaly is built on solid engineering principles. We take pride in shipping great products. As each year rolls away we document what we promised, delivered and failed to deliver. It’s our cross check and balance so we do better in the forthcoming twelve months.

Twine beta; and delays

Product is hard.

It’s a mix of keeping the right people, working towards a common goal. Twine is what we wanted to get done in 2017. The unexpected departure of team members left us in a position where we found it difficult to service our current customer base and take Twine to market.

We had to make the tough call around the second round of beta invites, to pause it’s roll out. Our decision was based on the fact that we were simply short of hands and it would seriously affect service delivery.

We intend to refocus our efforts in 2018 and will announce an updated schedule.

Vishnu; now available for all WSGI servers

Google’s AppEngine standard edition Python runtime doesn’t have a standard session library. There’s a project that developed a solution in the early days and hasn’t been updated in a little while. We decided to roll our own authentication layer for Twine and weren’t quite sure if the third party session library was up to scratch.

To ensure we understood what was under the hood we decided to roll our own last year. This year we decided to extend Vishnu to support other backends, making it available for use under any WSGI server.

Contributions to the Jekyll ecosystem

We worked closely with open source developer Jordon Bedwell who maintains the very popular Jekyll-Assets to bring Jekyll-Faker and Jekyll-Reload enhancing our prototyping pipeline that’s based on Jekyll.

Anomaly subsequently also agreed to commission Jordon to fix a number of outstanding requests in Jekyll-Assets.

Advisory and collaborations

Most business have made the move from bare metal to virtualised infrastructure. However software platforms are yet to truly transform into cloud applications and scale with the infrastructure. Infrastructure software are now available as services, e.g where once you needed to understand how to scale a database is now available as a service.

During the year a number of businesses approached us to help think through their transition into the cloud. Anomaly now has significant experience in rolling out true cloud applications. We were pleased to share our experience with other business.

As a happy consequence of these collaborations we’ve decided to officially launch Anomaly Advisory, aimed towards democratising the wealth of knowledge that will assist others to design software for scale.

Details to be published early in the new year.

F45 LionHeart analytics iOS app

Earlier this year an F45 franchise opened up near Anomaly HQ. A few of us, wanting to get back into fitness joined the franchise. Each studio is fitted with the LionHeart system which displays statistics while you workout and provides a touch of competition by displaying a leaderboard.

I decided to commission a fan app for iOS that would analyse the data and provide statistics across workout sessions. We put it out on the AppStore and it was a roaring success. We received great feedback from members and franchisee owners, there were thousands of downloads a week. It made the F45 workout data come alive.

A number of weeks after launch we were approached by F45 to take the app off the store, under legal consideration. We heard from a number people wanting to understand what had happened. Anomaly appreciates the overwhelming support for the app. It clearly demonstrated a gap and hope F45 will deliver an official app into the future.

Wattle Cloud Platform

A decade ago we developed CouncilShop, a platform that allowed Temora and Coolamon(http://coolamon.nsw.gov.au) shire councils to conduct business online. Developed with aid from AusInstry funding, the platform was largely neglected for the last ten years. Towards the end of last year we had to make a judgement call to either decommission the platform or enter the market with a brand new product to replace it.

When the announcement of decommissioning a product has your customers hold a candle lit vigil, you know you have to reconsider the decision. So we did and are proud to announce the Wattle Cloud Platform.

Wattle is purpose built cloud platform that will assist councils to provide services online. It’s first feature is a one for one replacement of CouncilShop allowing councils to sell certificates online. Payments are backed by Stripe. The system queries a copy of ratings data to ensure orders are lodged for actual land parcels.

Currently being used by Temora and Coolamon, we will launch Wattle at full scale under an annual subscription to every council in Australia.

Our mission is to bring as many as council services into the digital space as we can. We aim to work closely with councils and their customers and bring delightful online services to ease business.

Further details will be shared on our blog into the new year.

Headed to the silver screen

We don’t do much marketing, people have always found us through the work we do. Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is an Australian favourite and she’s headed to the silver screen and we wouldn’t miss the opportunity to be a part of it. We joined the Kickstarter campaign and Anomaly’s logo or name will be featured in the movie.

Releasing May 2019, Anomaly is mysteriously headed to the silver screen.

Documenting business experiences

We’ve learnt many lessons through the turmoil of not being able to deliver what we promised. Life is a forwards experiment, which only makes sense looking backwards. We’ve decided to document and publish the lessons we’ve learnt in business, so others walking down the same path may benefit from our experiences.

Look out for a series of blog posts in 2018.

Looking ahead

Though 2017 didn’t quite turn out to be the way we wanted it to, we are ever more determined to diversify and turn into a product business. Anomaly is boastful of an extremely talented and dedicated team and is focused towards being a place where people can do great work, creating products that power human endeavour.

We thank all our customers who have trusted us over the years and our suppliers who have allowed us to conduct business smoothly.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.

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