What we have learned thus far in 2017

The end of June is upon us, which means we are already halfway through 2017. Can you believe it? We set high goals for ourselves this year, many of which we detailed in a length post that ran on this very blog back at the beginning of January. We promised we would be better, smarter company. We promised changes both big and small. We told everyone we knew that we would not let the setbacks of 2016 continue to make us afraid of change moving forward.

We are happy to report that we have stuck to our commitments and as a result have seen some growth in 2017. This growth falls in line with the growth our industry as a whole has experienced lately, but it is not something we ever take for granted. We have also – and perhaps far more importantly – succeeded in pleasing new and longtime clients through our development efforts. We have made good on promises that we may have let slip in the past, and through doing so improved our relationship with users.

If you told us we would be here back in December we might of told you it was all wishful thinking. We were never truly in dire straits, but after a platform relaunch failed spectacularly in the middle of August 2016 we tucked our tails between our legs and laid low. We did not talk about developing things further as much as we did better marketing what we had, what we knew worked and what we knew people wanted. “Why change?” We thought. “People like us just the way we are.”

Around the end of the year we had a change of heart. People may have liked us as we were, but we were not happy. We wanted a better platform, and we knew what needed to be done to get there. We could not afford to hire more development. We also could not afford to wait to pay the bills hanging over our heads of before making changes. If we wanted something done we had to do what we had always done, which meant doing it on our own.

Beginning in January we made lists of every update we felt our services needed. These items were pulled from conversations and emails with customers from the last five years, and we used the frequency they were requested to make a list of our top priorities. From there, we discussed the logistics of each update and tried to arrange them on a timeline that allowed us to make frequent updates throughout 2017 and beyond. We were no longer thinking about a single overhaul, but rather dozens of tiny updates spread out over time so that no one could ever feel as if the system they loved changed overnight.

We started small. The first few updates we made were not even noticeable to the average consumer, but the upgraded critical elements of our backend that we had been meaning to attend to for some time. Then we turned our vision to our site, our presentation, and even the layout of our help pages. We revisited every single page on our platform and made note of everything we knew could be better. We don’t have a final tally as to changes desired, but we know it to be in the dozens.

Most recently, our team began taking aim at the MyPromos and Profile pages. These elements of Haulix are some of the most important in our system. We don’t know when various elements of our planned changes will go into effect so we won’t detail too much right now, but do know changes will begin to appear in this section of our platform in early July.

It’s unclear if we have learned something new this year or if we just remembered what lead us to success in the first place. Haulix was never the result of hired gun developers coding a system they would never use or need. Haulix was built by members of the music industry for members of the music industry with security, ease of use, and customization in mind. Before last year we had done everything ourselves because we knew we could fulfill our dreams better than anyone could interpret them for us, but for some reason we lost our way. We tried to do something different that removed an element of authenticity from what we do. That might not be the sole cause of our relaunch failure, but it certainly contributed to it.

This year we have learned that we can – and should – do things ourselves. We have always promoted those who take it upon themselves to make a positive change in their lives because we know deep down that is the only true way to succeed. Maybe we forgot that at one point, or perhaps we thought we knew a better, more efficient way. Whatever the case, we know now we were wrong, and thankfully we are able to look back on this past year as a learning experience instead of something that nearly broke us.

Moving forward, every change and update made to Haulix will come through the work and input of the Haulix community. We are going to continue to serve our audience as we always have, making changes that fall in line with their needs, and we hope they continue to growth with us. For the first time in a year we can say the future truly looks bright, and we thank you for joining us on this journey.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.