It’s hard to believe that it’s already been two years since I started working full-time for Toura. Man, have we come a long way in a short period of time. It seems like 10 years smashed into the space of two, but what a fun and incredible experience it has been. I’ve always wanted to work for a start-up and I’m finally living that dream.
When I first started working for the company it was as a consultant to the museum space. I worked 20 hours a month, although it ended up being a lot more since I was enjoying it so much.
My first big experience with the company was flying to Vancouver with the CEO Aaron Radin and future Creative Director, Eric Yang. The mission of the trip - to make the dream of a cross-mobile-platform, app producing CMS a reality. The objective was to talk with a group of developers who were making an impact in the world of cross-platform apps to see how we could work together.
That trip resulted in the planning and development of Mobile App Producer (MAP) 1.0. The groundwork was set and every week there were meetings to discuss the iterations that were taking place - constantly adding, subtracting and refining. We were making cool software and it was fun! The end result was “a quick, cost effective way to create cross-platform mobile applications” - that was the 5 second elevator pitch.
I don’t recall the first client that we gave access to. Possibly Art Institute of Chicago, Pace Gallery? - so much has happened, it’s hard to remember. I do remember however the first iPhone apps to launch - Pace Gallery and the Hirshhorn. I remember the thrill of being able to officially say that Toura had apps in the App Store. That was in May of 2010 only about 5-6 months after the initial development began.
A month prior to those apps launching, the iPad was officially released. The result? - a full on shift in focus with the company. Clients, left and right, were asking if we were going to support the iPad. Since the iPhone and iPad shared the same operating system, making a compatible version from MAP was not a huge challenge and we were fortunate enough to have our first iPad, iPhone AND Android app simultaneous launch with the Art Institute of Chicago’s French Impressionism app in September of the same year.
We had by this point brought all of our software development in-house. Our customer base was starting to grow and many requests were starting to pour in for enhancements to Mobile App Producer. We realized that the 1.0 iteration of the system was proving to have some limitations so we undertook the enormous task of rebuilding the whole system from scratch and making if more flexible and better optimized. The result was MAP 2.0. The version came with many requested enhancements, including layouts, bulk uploading, an asset repository, and much more.
Since then, business has started to grow and Toura has branched out from the museum space, signing on publishers, newspapers, and legal firms. We’ve also started creating affiliate relationships with companies selling our services to their clients. Most exciting of all is the open-sourcing of the underlying code of MAP which has been called Mulberry. The company is actively engaging the developer community through meet-ups, hack-a-thons and conferences.
Over the course of all this, I’ve been able to forge some amazing relationships with clients all over America and beyond to the UK and Australia. The start-up experience is definitely exciting and entirely unpredictable. It’s a mobile experience in more than one way - while the company is obviously mobile-centric, the job has me working from home, traveling, looking for WiFi constantly while I’m out and about, uploading, downloading - you name it.
(Uploading in an SF Parking Gararge) ———————>
Most of all, it’s rewarding working with the truly inspiring, smart, creative team that CEO Aaron Radin and CMO Sayoko Teitelbaum have assembled. Seeing the dedication and problem solving that goes on everyday leaves me awestruck.