319 Days to Constructing a New Model


-By Matt Derrick, CEO

This put up is one in a sequence about our rebrand; learn all of them right here:

Introducing Kodeco — the New raywenderlich.com
Why Rebrand? The Backstory of raywenderlich.com
To Infinity and much, Far Past
319 Days to Constructing a New Model – (you’re right here)

47 minutes after sending an electronic mail to our 300-member raywenderlich.com content material contributors, the next message, succinct and brutally direct, was posted within the company-wide Discord channel:

“Simply obtained the e-mail in regards to the model identify shortlist. I’m fairly speechless at how dangerous these names are.”

Months of working with a branding company, mood-boarding model attributes, endlessly debating the deserves of literal vs. summary branding, lengthy conversations with committees of inside and contracting group members and conducting the legally required due diligence and area availability searches, had all led down to 5 remaining model identify candidates that we have been fairly enthusiastic about. Till the Discord message above… and those that adopted with related sentiments.

Change is tough, and whereas we’d get previous this small blip — and that’s finally what it turned out to be — the journey from begin to launch day was neither quick nor linear.

In truth, it goes again virtually a 12 months…

Dec 9, 2021 — The place It All Started

As we started the second day of our two-day Senior Management offsite, everybody knew the large matter on the agenda: rebranding. We had coated quite a lot of floor on the primary day, however all of us knew the selections made right this moment would doubtlessly be essentially the most far-reaching. The subject alone was exhausting to fathom — might we actually change the identify of an eponymous web site so broadly related to cell growth?

The explanations not to take action have been quite a few. During the last decade, Ray & Vicki Wenderlich had created a model that was beloved within the business. There have been 1000’s of items of content material and a whole bunch of group members that had, fairly actually, grown up with raywenderlich.com. And essentially the most elementary query: With an bold 12 months of development for 2022 already deliberate, would there be sufficient time to create a wholly new model with out burning everybody out? Shouldn’t we wait till we have been bigger and extra established?

However as we talked by way of the various concerns, all of us started to comprehend the identical factor — this was the time to lastly take it on. Ray had purchased different potential domains years earlier, when he realized that the positioning was quickly rising past a easy weblog, and there have been dozens, after which a whole bunch, of individuals contributing to the positioning. It bothered him that folks on the skin thought he was chargeable for all of it. But there have been at all times extra urgent issues to work on — extra books and movies, a rising enterprise mannequin.

Inevitably, the dialog paused whereas we waited for Sam Davies, our wry CTO from the UK, to clarify why he couldn’t merely click on “discover & exchange” with a brand new brand on the web site. Nevertheless, Sam stunned us when he identified that, as difficult as it will be to replace an internet site that has 1000’s of pages of content material, it will solely get more difficult the longer we waited. All of us knew this was the appropriate determination long-term, however we slowly got here to the conclusion that we couldn’t preserve placing it off for a future date.

The optics have been tough, after all. Human nature is that folks don’t like change, and this was a giant change. Ray emphasised that if we have been going to do that, the content material contributors particularly needed to perceive that this was his thought, and the fruits of years of Ray attempting to mirror the contribution of the broader group extra precisely. With out the content material contributors, we wouldn’t have an organization, and so they have been a key stakeholder group in our eyes. It could be a giant venture that we might rally everybody round within the coming 12 months, and that kindled our pleasure.

One remaining query remained — we would have liked somebody to quarterback the method. Chris Belanger, our CMO who hails from Canada, volunteered to guide the varied groups required.

With the normal firm winter break, it will be over a month till we’d inform the Razeware group, and one other month nonetheless till we had a plan collectively to share with the content material group, however the race to the rebranding end line started that December morning.

Besides we thought this race can be a five-miler. Little did we all know that we have been in for an ultramarathon occasion.

February 9, 2022 — The Public Reveal

Precisely two months later, to the day, we convened our first City Corridor assembly with our 300-person content material contributors. These persons are the soul of our firm — proficient cell builders who may need day jobs at Uber or Amazon, however on the aspect, create articles, movies and books for raywenderlich.com. As a result of group members are distributed all through the world, we held an early-morning assembly, one mid-day, and one within the night, ostensibly to unveil our organizational targets for 2022. As CEO, I unveiled the primary 4 targets, after which turned it over to Ray for the pièce de resistance.

Individuals have been understandably stunned as Ray laid out why he felt we would have liked to provide you with a brand new firm identify, why this was the time to do it, and went over a plan that will contain them within the rebranding. Reassuringly, the questions that got here throughout and after the decision confirmed that the group was extremely supportive and, in truth, excited in regards to the change. Some shared how they’d been ready for years for this. There was an extended strategy to go, however it appeared that possibly folks weren’t as change-averse as we had thought.

Or… so we had thought.

February 16, 2022 — The Seek for a Identify

Each month, I ship an ‘All-Fingers’ electronic mail out to your complete group, and this time, it was chock filled with rebranding information. In spite of everything, we had simply damaged the information in regards to the rebrand the earlier week, and we knew we would have liked to maneuver quick. The primary domino that will tip off this marathon dash can be a naming contest. We hoped it will be an effective way to get the group excited in regards to the course of, in addition to provide you with some identify prospects. With all attainable velocity and an Eighth-grade-level command of graphic design, “The Nice Renaming Contest” was born:

Whereas not taking ourselves too severely, this contest had a critical intent — to crowdsource some intriguing names, whereas beginning to acclimate the group to the idea that there would quickly be a brand new place for everybody to name ‘residence’. We gave folks a month to ship in concepts and put aside over $3,000 in prizes for entrants who got here up with the “greatest” and “funniest” names.

Issues have been going effectively. The group was on board, we had money prizes, and selecting a reputation couldn’t be that arduous. Might it?

February 24, 2022 – A Committee is Born

With over 300 folks on our content material contributor group, there was no straightforward strategy to get actionable suggestions from a gaggle that enormous. Nevertheless, 20 group members volunteered to take part on the marketing campaign and signify the broader group. Two weeks later, we held our first name. We might go on to have month-to-month calls with this committee, however step one was to manage the competition that will hopefully uncover some intriguing identify prospects so we might start to work by way of the lengthy means of coming to grips with a brand new model.

And slowly, February become March. Ah, the season of spring, the rebirth of nature, and… branding companies?

March 28, 2022 — Enter Vasava

Nearing the tip of March, we had an introductory name with our artistic company, concluding greater than a month’s search. We had evaluated practically a dozen companies in whole earlier than deciding on Vasava, based mostly out of Madrid. We supplied them a whole bunch of pages of analysis that we had carried out with Honan Technique Group, in addition to web site analytics and branding workouts our inside designers had carried out.

Right here’s one instance of an train we did to find out how we felt about our model attributes:

On the decision, it was clear to everybody that it was very bold to launch a brand new model within the fall. We knew that, if we didn’t launch by early November on the newest, when the crush of Thanksgiving/Black Friday hit, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to take action in 2022. But the timeline working again from a late October launch date necessitated beginning the web site growth by no later than August, which meant we would have liked to start out engaged on designs by mid-June, brand by mid-Could and a reputation by the tip of April.

The clock was ticking! Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Telltale Coronary heart’ had nothing on us.

March 31, 2022 — What’s in a Identify?

A little bit over a month had handed since we introduced the naming contest, and the outcomes have been spectacular. We acquired effectively over 100 totally different submissions, some with dozens of naming concepts. Our winners have been:

  • First Place Finest Identify: DevHaven
  • Second Place Finest Identify: TechTogether
  • First Place Funniest Identify: CompileandPray
  • Second Place Funniest Identify: worldclasseducationalplatformandcommunityfordevelopers.com

It was clear that the group favored literal/descriptive names. But we realized that the extra actually our new identify described what we do, the extra that would restrict us if we needed to develop in new instructions sooner or later. It was additionally an indication, but once more, that folks have been most snug with minor, iterative adjustments, versus extra substantive leaps.

But, rebranding was all about leaps — and we have been dealing with a giant one within the very close to future.

April 27, 2022 — The Nice Naming Showdown

Practically a month had handed since our preliminary name with Vasava, and in that point we had many conferences speaking about literal names, and extra summary names or phrase mixtures. We went by way of dozens of permutations that have been fascinating, however have been both not obtainable or out of scope from a price range standpoint. One such instance was Fearless.com, which whereas considerably summary, was straightforward to say and bear in mind. Sadly, it was on the market for $2 million USD.

On this present day, Vasava introduced their shortlist suggestions, together with execs & cons of every, to our inside group, plotted on a grid of literal vs summary, and complicated vs easy. Their general suggestions have been variations of Geckoder or Kodecko.

Oddly, the narrowing of our decisions made it tougher to decide on, in some methods: we have been coming to the purpose the place we had to decide on the proper identify.

Or what we thought can be the appropriate identify.

Could 11, 2022 — You Can’t Please ‘Em All

Time was operating out. We had hoped to have a remaining identify by the tip of April, and we have been now effectively previous that. Although we preferred the 2 names that Vasava advisable, there have been inside group members and people on the Branding Committee that enjoyed others. In truth, virtually everybody had a favourite. None of which helped to slim down the method.

We determined to take our high 5 names and ship out an electronic mail and survey to your complete group, within the hopes that if there was robust consensus round one identify, it might be an excellent robust information level.

  • CodeHaven
  • CodeVivo
  • Kodecko
  • Skillivo
  • WiseGecko

There have been apparent drawbacks to soliciting suggestions from a big group of individuals on the proverbial 5-yard line of selecting a reputation, particularly when you’ve got a Branding Committee whose job is to signify the bigger group. We knew that folks reflexively don’t like change, and so it was unlikely to generate an amazing quantity of sentiment alongside the traces of “I like all these names!” In truth, it was more likely to generate the other.

Nonetheless, we determined to forge forward and solicit enter from the group. I despatched out an electronic mail with a survey asking everybody to rank the names, together with why they selected their first selection. We didn’t have to attend even an hour earlier than a group member posted on the company-wide Discord channel.

There have been others echoing in fast succession. Solely 12 folks weighed in, which is a small fragment of our complete content material contributor group, however due to the echo chamber of chat, it was alarming. There was even some dialogue about whether or not we should always simply scrap the entire identify course of and begin over.

Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed — though it took a while for everybody concerned to search out these cooler heads. We reminded ourselves that, whatever the names, folks don’t like change. It’s in our DNA. It was inevitable that with none narrative across the names, those we selected wouldn’t resonate; with out the story behind the identify, they have been simply phrases. Nonetheless, as soon as the door had been opened to solicit enter, we couldn’t ignore it. Due to this fact, we determined to arrange a sequence of conferences with group members to get extra enter on the names. Nevertheless, with the timelines already getting compressed, we knew we couldn’t take lengthy. We gave ourselves one week — till Friday, Could twentieth — to make a willpower on the identify.

But, humorous issues occur while you assume you’ve nearly reached the end line.

Could 12, 2022 — Cue the Area Pirates

If that wasn’t sufficient drama, the very subsequent day, Ray & I acquired a cryptic message:

Since we have been solely on the thought stage, we hadn’t truly bought the domains we have been contemplating. That appeared like overkill, particularly with a few of them solely obtainable after-market. However it appeared that somebody had bought the Kodecko.com area three hours after our electronic mail was despatched out.

OK… first off, I’m certain it was a timing coincidence. <insert full eyeball roll right here>. There have been additionally fairly just a few issues happening, so we weren’t ready to drop every thing to struggle a troll or a website pirate. And since there have been a number of spellings of Kodecko that we have been wanting into, it was a minor blip. However it was simply one other reminder (as if we would have liked any extra) that this was not going to be a straightforward course of.

I used to be starting to surprise if, in truth, rebranding was well worth the aggravation.

Could 20, 2022 — We Have a Identify!

One week had handed, and there had been practically 30 conversations with varied group members and teams, attempting to solicit suggestions on the attainable names. However within the course of, we found two issues. First, when folks realized extra in regards to the narratives we might doubtlessly use for the names, they constantly warmed as much as them in a signifiant trend. Merely seeing a reputation in an electronic mail wouldn’t lower it. And second, by a big margin, folks preferred the identify Kodecko.

Internally, Kodecko was on the high of most lists as effectively. It had ‘code’ within the pronunciation with out being too on the nostril. It additionally had the sound ‘echo’, which resonated with many, as a result of a core part of our tutorials is basically echoing again an idea step-by-step. The ultimate layer was that lots of the group had began out in cell growth as readers of raywenderlich.com, and had progressed over time to educating, and in flip, making a neighborhood of educators that was on the core of every thing we did.

We met as a management group on Could twentieth to overview the suggestions and decide. The favourite was Kodecko, however due to the obvious unavailability of that spelling, it wasn’t a foregone conclusion. One other chance that had emerged was the identify Razeware, which was already the identify of the corporate behind raywenderlich.com. I imply, it was very ’90s, however every thing outdated is new once more, proper?

Finally although, we determined ‘Razeware’ was too limiting with its software program connotation, in addition to some destructive connotation to ‘raze’, i.e. destroy. We additionally discovered a spelling variant, Kodeco, that was shorter and labored simply as effectively.

Ultimately, on a Friday afternoon three weeks after our unique purpose, the unanimous selection for our subsequent firm identify was Kodeco.com!

So 5 months later, and we had a reputation. The remaining had to be straightforward, proper?

Could 30, 2022 — Six Months Into It

We have been now a month delayed. The unique plan by Vasava known as for six weeks of design to create temper boards: visible identities that will result in a brand and new design model. That may then lead into designing the online pages themselves.

On a name with Vasava, they felt that they may shave two weeks off of their finish, which might give them 4 weeks for design and put us solely two weeks behind general. The following large step can be the emblem, however with the tumultuous previous few weeks of back-and-forth suggestions, we knew that we couldn’t repeat the myriad suggestions rounds if we had any hopes of sticking to an October launch. We needed to discover some strategy to transfer quicker, however it appeared like with every step we took, we have been slowing down.

And that was not what we would have liked. Pace was of the essence. However how have been we going to recuperate our schedule, after we’d already taken 5 months simply to discover a identify?

On reflection, the inflection level was proper across the nook, and got here staggeringly quick.

June 10, 2022 — Was a Branding Company the Proper Transfer?

We have been a bit apprehensive as we logged on to a video name with Vasava Friday morning. We hadn’t heard a lot from them for the final week, and we weren’t certain whether or not we have been supposed to offer suggestions on the temper boards, or speak technique as a substitute. However time was ticking, and if we weren’t making progress in the direction of a brand on the minimal, the chance of launching on time would shrink.

Vasava began the assembly and proceeded to blow us away — it appeared like they’d packed a month of labor into every week. They walked us by way of a 53-slide presentation, beginning with a easy encapsulation of the model values.

Then they confirmed us this:

The colourful orange. The motion. The attention-catching ‘Okay’. We. Have been. Hooked!

Vasava didn’t cease there; they went on to point out us 3D renderings of the modular ‘Okay’ parts, which we’d study was a intelligent visible interpretation of the ‘echo’ idea. They confirmed us mock e book covers, social media, advert campaigns and extra.

When the decision wrapped up, the query for me wasn’t whether or not we had discovered our brand. I knew that we had. The query was, “what do we now have to do to get this into manufacturing?”

June 13, 2022 — Rubber Meets the Street of Actuality

After all, even when an esteemed branding company comes ahead with a tremendous piece of labor, it’s inevitable that persons are going to have a few feedback. As a result of not everybody’s a designer, proper?

Nothing, I’d come to study, is ever fairly that straightforward. The next Monday, after we shared the presentation at an organization All-Fingers assembly, there was a lot of excellent suggestions on typography, accessibility, design system extensibility and extra. After which our Branding Committee, from our content material contributors, additionally weighed in with different suggestions. However as soon as the mud settled, we realized that it was extraordinarily constructive and useful suggestions that allowed us to refine the fashions additional.

We now had the core parts of our new model. We additionally had suggestions from the group: the engine that makes every thing attainable at raywenderlich.com. However nonetheless, might we get all of this suggestions massaged into, you already know, an precise concrete web site design?

July 15, 2022 — Perhaps You *Can* Please ‘Em All

In my July All-Fingers electronic mail, we formally confirmed the broader group the emblem and the design parts that Vasava had created:

The suggestions — this time — was extremely optimistic! Luke Freeman, our Design Crew Lead, was already engaged on taking the elements Vasava had designed and starting to construct out the design system. We needed to take a break close to the tip of July, although, for a well-deserved group retreat within the Bahamas. The actually exhausting work of design was simply starting.

It was nearly this time within the course of after I realized {that a} good design and growth group is value its weight in gold. No, what’s extra beneficial than gold? Platinum? Uranium? Unobtanium? One thing like that.

August 26, 2022 – The Grand Reveal

The core inside rebrand group, consisting of Chris Belanger, CMO; Sam Davies, CTO; Luke Freeman, Lead Designer; Abby Nanquil, UX Designer; Katie Collins, Video Crew Lead; Sandra Grauschopf, E book Crew Lead; Lauren Pescarus, Member Expertise Supervisor; Doug Marcoux, Advertising and marketing Supervisor; and myself, met weekly all year long. At the present time was out of the bizarre although. And that’s as a result of Luke unveiled the very first design of our new Kodeco.com homepage.

[Ed: Chris here. I wish I had a video of this moment. I’ve never seen such broad smiles on everyone’s faces, including mine. It was one of those moments you remember forever.]

We had solely seen glimpses of Luke’s design parts beforehand, reminiscent of the brand new brand, so quite a lot of issues had left to our creativeness. Luke’s design, although, was a large departure from our outdated raywenderlich.com design, incorporating substantial white area, minimal colours, and lots of the parts that Vasava had constructed for us.

So we had a surprising design. However to take a model as commemorated as raywenderlich.com, and fully redesign the positioning that folks have cherished for years — would everybody else prefer it?

September 15, 2022 — Can You *Actually* Please ‘Em All?

I used to be so excited that I had bother sleeping the evening earlier than. We have been scheduled to have our Q3 City Halls, and the plan was to demo the brand new web site design to the content material contributor group. Everybody had already seen the emblem — however that was two months earlier. Now, they have been going to see the positioning coming collectively. I held my breath as Luke labored a masterful presentation, exhibiting not simply the homepage, however examples of the article pages, the video pages, the ‘triad’ iconography that will assist outline the content material for learners, and extra.

I allowed myself to exhale because the suggestions got here in as overwhelmingly optimistic — and this time it was reside suggestions, which made it much more satisfying. Individuals cherished the orange, the 3D visible results, and the way in which Luke had included the rounded parts of the ‘Okay’ all through the positioning.

As at all times, we had three city halls at totally different occasions, to accommodate as many time zones as we might, and Luke introduced reside at every one in every of them — even the one which began at 1 AM in his native time zone!

The group cherished the designs, and the exhausting work to date was paying off, however now the toughest work would shift to the engineering group. Might they really ship on these elaborate designs that Luke had created?

October 13, 2022 — Actuality, Half Deux

“We’re not as far alongside within the web site growth as I needed to be at this level,” Sam Davies, our CTO, remarked, as he gave his replace on the engineering group’s standing. “I needed to have two weeks of bug fixes, testing, and have written a effectively thought-out transition plan prematurely of the launch.”

“Okay,” I mentioned. “So the place are you with these plans?”

“Proper — we’re not going to have any of these issues,” Sam breathed, a little bit uncertainly. “I’m nonetheless, uh, fairly assured that we’ll get every thing accomplished.”

“Moderately assured” was yet one more instance of the understated management I’ve seen through the years that Sam dropped at the engineering group. Sam was a veteran of a number of large-scale launches over the span profession, so I used to be very assured – effectively, not less than principally assured — that his group would handle to get every thing accomplished.

Nonetheless, with lower than two weeks to launch, there was treasured little margin for error.

[Ed: Hi, Chris here again. Sam and I have been working together for many, many years now. And the fact that we haven’t strangled each other is a testament to the fact that Sam and his team are experts at spinning-straw-into-gold engineering miracles. I’ve learned that the best way to get results out of Sam is to let him moan about how much work there is to do, commiserate with him, and then let him rally his team to perform said miracles.]

October 17, 2022 — Advertising and marketing Insanity

I smiled as Chris Belanger, our CMO and electronic mail advertising and marketing guru, confirmed me the drafts of emails and social media he had ready to tease the launch out to subscribers and followers — it was guerrilla advertising and marketing at it best. He had embedded Easter eggs within the teaser emails that led to free swag giveaways, even teasing our new identify, Kodeco, in clear print for anybody intelligent sufficient to note and decode it. Whether or not anybody truly would discover it was an unanswerable query, however the artistic thought behind it was one other instance of the thought that went into each step of this marathon venture.

[Ed: Yeah, hi, Chris again. I was actually worried that no one would solve the puzzle, but y’all came through and I had a lot of people who wrote in with the solution. Kudos.]

Past the promotional teases to our broader neighborhood, although, the advertising and marketing group had taken care of a ton of different issues, from remodeling social media accounts, to updating all of our advertising and marketing supplies, to brokering new Kodeco swag on a shoestring price range, scrambling to search out movement designers to carry our new model to life, and on high of that, a social media activation equipment for the 300+ robust group of content material contributors in order that our complete neighborhood might participate in selling the launch subsequent week.

Whereas the engineering group was nonetheless pulling all-nighters, on the advertising and marketing aspect, issues have been lastly prepared to start out the fanfare that will lead as much as launch on the next Monday.

However as the times ticked down, the query was nonetheless there — would the engineering group pull by way of? Would we be capable to truly make Kodeco.com reside on our goal date?

October 23, 2022 — Ignoring Builders Is a Legitimate Motivational Approach

When you’ve ever labored with a group of builders main as much as launch, you already know that the very best method is to mainly depart them alone and simply depart a stack of pizzas and a 24-pack of Jolt Cola on the door. Now, being a 100% distant firm meant we couldn’t adjust to the pizza and soda necessities, however we do know sufficient to go away the engineering group alone whereas they’re working miracles.

At 1:15 PM Greenwich Imply Time, Sam Davies muttered the traditional incantations that took Kodeco.com reside, and started the method to redirect raywenderlich.com to Kodeco.com. We selected a Sunday deployment, as this allowed the engineering group to proceed to search out and resolve any bugs a day prematurely of the official launch, whereas guaranteeing that most individuals wouldn’t discover till it was introduced the subsequent morning. Moreover, the group was threatened with varied unspeakable punishments in the event that they tried a Friday afternoon deploy ever once more, so it labored out for the very best.

The core rebranding group spent many of the afternoon and night wanting by way of the positioning, logging Jiras, fixing bugs and logging extra Jiras to repair what they broke whereas fixing different bugs. Whereas there have been some inside pages that also wanted some refining (as per our pragmatic improve plan recognized informally as “Who Would Ever Discover This?”), the positioning was lastly prepared for its large unveiling the subsequent day!

October 24, 2022 — The End Line

At 11 AM EDT, Kodeco Inc introduced its presence to the world: we had rebranded to Kodeco.com from raywenderlich.com!

It had been precisely 319 days for the reason that determination was made – not that I used to be counting or something. :] What an unbelievable journey, however moreso, what an unbelievable finish outcome from our complete group!


As I mirror upon this 319-day journey (my phrase, that’s practically an entire 12 months), I can determine many, many issues that would have presumably derailed our rebranding method. I haven’t even spoken of the patent or trademark tussles we went by way of, the emotional realities of attempting to pivot a whole model with a small group, and the various concepts or initiatives that we jettisoned alongside the way in which — however I wouldn’t change a factor. The Kodeco model that all of us proudly stand behind is the results of an enormous effort from everybody concerned.

In a method, this rebranding effort has been a mirrored image of who we’re as an organization — a whole bunch of individuals, with totally different backgrounds and totally different opinions, however all united as one neighborhood with the purpose of rising the subsequent technology of cell builders.

Welcome to Kodeco.

— Matt Derrick


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