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For this month's Marketplace Partner Spotlight, we caught up with Chris Cooke from Old Street Solutions, a partner whose apps have grown rapidly in popularity this past year. Fun fact - Chris shared his answers with us via their app, External Share for Confluence 😄
How was Old Street Solutions started?
We met while working at a couple of different Atlassian Partners (Clearvision and Adaptavist) and shared a vision of building tools with a simple UX for ease of use. Atlassian was expanding beyond the technical niche of its earliest adopters, so we saw an opportunity that wasn’t being well catered for.
What's your role at Old Street Solutions?
I’m CEO, and I’m also responsible for the marketing team, and SEO.
What's your favorite thing about working there? What’s your favorite team ritual?
I’m blessed to work with the best people. Everyone is an absolute subject matter expert, so we’re always trying new things and learning. I’ve really enjoyed working on virtual events together. We’re very distributed, so preparing for a webinar gets everyone from all the teams aligned and working together on the same project. That being said, we’re very much looking forward to getting back to travelling, and going on a world tour to meet our partners, customers, and team mates!
Tell us about your most popular app. Why do companies love it?
Custom Charts for Jira and Confluence is the fastest growing cloud app on the Atlassian Marketplace. Reporting used to be done by business analysts, Big Data engineers, or outsourced to a bunch of Excel admins. So reporting ended up something senior managers ordered once a month. If a report is difficult to make, out of date or has to be ordered externally, it’s never going to provide valuable insights.
So, we made reporting inside of Jira or Confluence easy for everyone with a few clicks. Intuitive to use, quick to customize, and exactly where everyone is already working. It doesn’t have all of the complicated features of eazyBI, but most users don’t need all those features. They just want it to work easily for their weekly reports.
How does your team come up with ideas for new apps?
I don’t believe that’s how apps should be made. Our customers know exactly what they want Jira and Confluence to do, and it’s our job to listen. I don’t care how creative or smart someone is; if an idea doesn’t come from the Atlassian Community, it would be very risky to assume it had any merit. Sometimes we find a bedroom developer that’s made something in their spare time that shows potential. If we can see it’s being requested as a feature in the community, and searched for on Google, that shows promise. We’d then offer them a partnership, and the opportunity to build their app with the support of our full team.
Think back to when you were developing your flagship app - did you see yourself here now? What do you think has been the secret to your success so far?
Haha, no! Our first app was meant to just be a quick learning experience. We made Pie Chart Color Picker for Jira (which has since expanded to a full data visualization reporting suite called Custom Charts for Jira) and it accidentally made us the fastest growing Platinum Marketplace Partner.
I’m a big believer in mastering the fundamentals; people always look for a flashy silver bullet, before they’ve nailed the basics. Product and Growth should be completely aligned around the customer. Customer-centric development means getting the best feedback, prioritizing the most important features, and writing the most useful blogs. From there, it becomes easy to excel in an app category and the first page of Google. A team that’s counting pennies, analytics, and KPIs will never beat a team that is focused solely on making users happy.
Do you have any new apps or projects you want us to know about?
Yes, we’re very excited by Agile Planning for Jira. Geoff Bullen has made a deceptively powerful yet simple-to-use automation for Jira board that lets users drag and drop anything from handwritten notes to Jira tickets and assign them to projects and sprints using whatever automation rules project managers can think of. True to our philosophy, we’re inviting the community to test it and provide feedback, and we’ll happily pay them for their feedback with free apps, t-shirts, and beers!