Rebuilding and scaling Neil Patel's Subscribers.

Neil Patel

Neil Patel is a New York Times Bestselling author. The Wall Street Journal calls him a top influencer on the web, Forbes says he is one of the top 10 marketers, and Entrepreneur Magazine says he created one of the 100 most brilliant companies. He was recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama and a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 35 by the United Nations.

My team at Table XI rebuilt his new product, Subscribers, to support multiple browsers and scale to handle over 500,000 notifications per subscriber.

"Judith Sol-Dyess is fantastic."

- Independent client review from Clutch

Project Highlights

  • We allow publishers to send customized push notifications to their subscribers
  • Collaborated with their dedicated product owner to iterate through new features
  • Developede a highly flexible pricing model integrated with Stripe
  • Integrated notifications with drip campaigns API
  • Scaled infrastructure to support a rapidly growing subscriber base
  • Allowed custom scheduling by time zone, campaign, and product
  • Separation of WordPress marketing site from the application

Rescuing a serial entrepreneur's new startup


When Table XI first worked with Neil Patel's new product, Subscribers, it started as a code audit. We quickly proved our technical chops, and transitioned into one of our biggest projects to date, with me as the project manager. We quickly realized this product would need a dedicated product manager as well, which Neil Patel Digital hired to work with us. It was a great partnership from the start, and Neil Patel was free to spread this time across his other business lines. His product manager said this an independent review in Clutch:

"They run everything with a very Agile, lean approach, which we really appreciate because it allows them to be both flexible and adaptable, no matter what big changes we throw at them at the last second. Their team members are always happy to accommodate our preferences and schedules, and they do everything they can to make the collaboration as easy as possible on us. They have never balked at anything we have asked of us; instead, they just figure out how to complete what we have requested."

Optimizing teams for performance and feature development

When you work with a superstar like Neil Patel, he has the ability to grow a customer base quite rapidly! We really practiced Agile principles on this project, and incrementally scaled the architecture when we got close to outgrowing it. However, Neil wanted to continue evolving the product, so refocusing our efforts was not an option. Therefore, feature development would happen in parallel with architecture work, which meant the team would often scale up and down as needed, with different skill sets coming in. This was a project management challenge, but it allowed us to continue developing features that were important to Neil while supporting a growing customer base. 

Successuflly onboarding new team members onto a fast paced project is crucial. While rituals like Iteration Planning Meetings and Retrospectives are hugely beneficial, each time we added a new team member I would run a Team Agreement meeting. That gives people the opportunity to get to know each other's styles and preferences, and also sets up ground rules for working on the same team. No assumptions are made, so we aren't surprised by little things later (and we're ready to handle the big surprises that happen on projects!)

 

Subscribers Home Page

Transitioning to an internal team

One of the best things that can happen to a project manager is that they are no longer needed. Odd, right? Not so in consulting. I've worked with many clients who hire teams to get them through an MVP (Minimum Viable Product). Sometimes there are new, fast-follower phases that keep a team working. Often times, however, an in-house team is developed to take over the day to day product management and support. That's what happened with Subscribers, gradually. 

We began by separating the marketing site from the application, so that Neil's WordPress group could manage that property along with his many other sites, That gave them a great amount of flexibility to rebrand and style the home page, and our team would make some CSS changes when this happened, to keep a consistent look and feel. 

As the product stabilized and all the core features were completed, Subscribers also hired their first in-house developer and we began transitioning the work to them. Because of our close working relationship with their product owner, this was an almost ridiculously smooth transition (did we really do that in just three meetings?)

We must have documented things really well :)

 

Interested in learning more?

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Judith Sol Dyess
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