Martin Anderson and I have been working on Brief for a few months now, interviewing potential customers, prototyping, and experimenting. Throughout the process, we’ve explored several ideas around the themes of augmented intelligence and aggregating and organizing information from disparate services. It has all coalesced into one vision:
Brief is a platform for your business relationships: all your communications automatically organized around companies and people, contextually relevant, and delivered when and where you want it.
We’re one week into our private alpha, so I thought this would be a good time to explain why we’re building what we’re building.
Martin and I are both creative makers who have had the good fortune of strong business relationships throughout our careers. Martin has designed and coded software from age 11. I made theater as an actor, director, producer and writer until the allure of giant audiences on the internet drew me to become a Product Manager. We’re happiest when making things and working with teams. We avoid administrative work whenever possible.
From our first investors to our first users, our relationships have been the difference between Brief the company and Brief the idea. As co-founders, we wear two hats–making and selling. As makers, we can get caught up in building products and neglect the outside world. Every time this happens, the end of our financial runway and user sign-up list come all too close. While we both understand this, we experience it slightly differently: I’m a natural networker and Martin would naturally avoid his network, if he didn’t know better. Brief is designed to prevent my countless relationships from falling through the cracks and to enable Martin to cultivate more in a way that feels sincere. But, it’s not just for us.
Ron Ranere, my father, is an architect and has had his own firm, Ranere Associates, for 25 years. His primary job is to design buildings, but if he doesn’t bring in work, there’s nothing to design. Most new business comes from earning the personal trust of a client, so delegating sales and marketing has never worked. A job can come from a relationship just forged or one that has been simmering for months or years. A natural networker (like father, like son), Ron is constantly meeting people, but he also always has a project deadline on his head. Those simmering relationships are the last thing he gets to or doesn’t get to, every day. Ranere Associates has had its ups and downs with employees being hired, laid off, and hired again. Ron can’t take advantage of forecasting tech and disciplined sales processes to smooth out his revenue because he’s too busy designing buildings to track relationship data and pipelines in a CRM. Brief is for Ron, but not only for him.
Cory Forsyth is our friend and a software developer who recently went freelance. It has gone really well; so well that he ended up partnering with another developer and bringing on an employee. Growth! It’s now a business called 201 Created. Cory’s primary job is to write code, but if he doesn’t bring in more gigs, his new employee won’t have a paycheck. Just like when he was freelancing, new business comes from people who know Cory’s work, have a relationship with him, and trust him. To continue growing, he has to push the limits of his natural disinclination to sell. Balancing time and desire between developing software and developing prospects is getting overwhelming. Cory has never and will never track relationship data and pipelines in a CRM; he’s too busy writing code. We want to see 201 Created continue its growth. Brief is for Cory, but not only for him.
Brief is for all the entrepreneurs, small business owners, and freelancers whose primary job is to make useful, beautiful work and provide critical, beloved services, but who have to build relationships to make a living. It’s for our family, friends and us. We want us all to foster powerful relationships without spending time on tedious organizational tasks. Relationship management can be much simpler and more fruitful. With Brief, it is.