Vuid was created out of lessons learned while creating and running Reddog Technology and Reddog Infrastructure. From their launch days, both companies grew approximately 200% per annum and we quickly realised that if we didn’t start working smarter, that growth rate couldn’t continue or worse, our quality could fall. To increase productivity we created custom software that integrated every part of the business and put the information our employees needed to do their jobs, right at their finger tips. To aid in finding and solving bottlenecks, the software analysed everything going on in the business in real time and provided reports on where our productivity bottlenecks were. Without the software, we would never have been able to grow as fast as we did, maintain our services levels, while staying profitable and keeping our awesome culture.
By implementing this software, Reddog Technology](https://www.nathanaherne.com/portfolio/reddog-technology/) became significantly automated and Reddog Infrastructure became almost completely automated.
We wanted other organisations to experience the productivity gains and increased staff moral provided by completely integrated but easy to use software, Vuid the idea was born. Making the idea a reality wasn’t as simple.
When we first started developing Vuid, we were not sure if we could provide the user experience needed to make it something people wanted to use, instead of having to use. We developed a proof of concept to make sure the experience was as good as software installed locally. The proof of concept was developed in PHP on the back-end and AJAX for the UI and MySQL for the database. It took a few months of development and the results looked promising. We continued to develop the proof of concept into the bigger vision of Vuid for approximately 6 more months.
When we created the software for our businesses, we could cut corners but when creating the software for other companies, we needed it to be flexible. As the complexity of Vuid ballooned, we realised that the software stack we had chosen wouldn’t work at scale and we had big visions. We had customers who wanted to use Vuid and we didn’t want Vuid crumbling under load. This was enterprise software, downtime costs money, we needed something that could scale. We had a plan to build the below customer facing Apps, so scale and automation were very important.
For a software system this large, I needed someone to bounce ideas off and get feedback from. We hired Allen Chang in December 2013 to bring enterprise expertise to Vuid and he did just that. Within months, we had developed a very detailed plan on how to complete Vuid, which required us to rebuild Vuid using NodeJS, Angular, PostgreSQL, FreeBSD, PHP and a number of other languages and technology. Some technology we had to develop ourselves, like Tredly (Containers for Unix). We continued to develop Vuid for 4 years after Allen joined, continually expanding its features, responsiveness and user interface. At this point, Vuid had become what you see below:
When it reached the size of the above, we had 24 separate Apps which required 42 separate containers to communicate with each other and our customers in real time. We had achieved exactly what we set out to create and it scaled.
We were invited to present Vuid at Websummit (in Ireland) in December 2015 with Allen Chang and Tristan Matthias which was a fantastic achievement. We had many people and organisations visit our booth and we made a number of new friends in the industry. Vuid looked to becoming quite successful and we were very excited.
Over the next several months, we were hit with a number of setbacks. One of our foundation customers went into administration and a few others were beset with financial issues (the GFC started to bite). As is often the case when organisations hit financial issues, they focus on their core strengths instead of looking for ways to become more efficient. We lost these very important customers and Vuid struggled to expand.
By 2017, we hadn’t received the customer numbers or investment we needed to make Vuid the success we had planned for. As a group we decided that while we could continue to build Vuid, we would diversify our time and focus on other projects as well. Several months later with other successes under our belts, we made the decision that we would no longer develop Vuid. We notified all customers and a several months later shutdown the Vuid software for new registrations. We continue to collaborate with some customers on developing software for them and potentially bringing Vuid back online when the opportunity arises.
Vuid was a unforgettable experience and a massive challenge to complete. We had built enterprise software before but never on the scale or complexity of Vuid. To have the opportunity to create such a massive, complex, integrated piece of software with extremely smart people was a huge privilege for me. By the time we shutdown Vuid, we had achieved everything we set out to do except one thing, enough customers to support the idea. This oversight in customer demand prompted me to spend the next two years learning about psychology, human behavioral science and marketing in an effort to make sure I learned everything I could from this failure and create something positive from it.
The people I was privileged to work with to build Vuid are: