Clients, Partners, Ventures

Hornet

In early 2017, Thought Merchants was contracted with Hornet to design and build out its newsfeed feature. The company recently acquired Unicorn Booty, an LGBTQ+ news feed, and wanted to add it’s content to their existing iOS, Android, and web application. The problem was, their current application was limited and didn’t support the desired feature.

Hornet’s acquisition of Unicorn Booty was a market differentiator for them. Other gay social networks such as Grindr and Scruff are primarily used for finding new friends, hookups, and relationships. Hornet’s goal was to become the place for LGBTQ+ users to discover cities, stay up to date on the news, and become immersed in the culture.

We successfully added Hornet stories into their application. Because of that engagement, we were contracted to do process coaching for future projects. Visibility and priority are crucial to owning any size project, and we wanted to make sure dev teams were aligned with the same values moving forward.

Thought Merchants was invited to Hornet’s Berlin retreat to conduct process workshops — an excellent experience. There we worked with teams to understand what projects were moving and which were stalled. Then, we captured what to do next.

The goal of these workshops was to codify their own process collaboratively. Teams were able to create stories, prioritize tasks, and make trade-offs together. The objective was to rethink the work needed to be done, how to break it down, and how to align leadership and teams.

In the following months, we advised Hornet through their iteration planning and process coaching. In Q4, we were invited to Cape Town for another round of process workshops. This time we’d retrospectively look at what projects got done, what worked (and what didn’t work), and where we could improve.

See the post Hornet for Inception for more on these workshops.

Alignment at scale with remote workers is difficult — this made our time in Cape Town even more valuable. The workshops were advantageous for Hornet’s team because they learned how to align (make trade-offs), redefine how they get things done, and better estimate when projects will be completed.

At close, we mentored Hornet’s product manager Kai and continued to stay in touch with the executive team to make sure they had everything they needed to move forward. Then, we rolled off into the sunset with our engagement with Hornet.

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