Real news, Real people, Civil conversations
Noam Bardin, former CEO of Waze and VP at Google, came up with an idea for his new startup - Post News, a place where social media natives can discover, read, watch, discuss, and share news content and publishers can distribute and monetize their paywalled content. The Post's business model offers to pay only for what you read (per article) and helps preserve independent journalism.
“I believe the future newspaper is the feed and want to make it more civil for users, profitable for publishers and better for society”wrote Post News founder Noam Bardin.
On Nov 18, 2022, Post launched its beta version for selected users and it lasted over 2 months. The interface and the news feed were visible only to those who opted to be participants in the beta testing. The Post team onboarded 403,000 users during this period.
The Master of Code Global team was involved in the Post project development from the very beginning when the founders requested to build a demo version of the Post web application. The hard parameter was time, so we stepped into the dynamic phase of building the core functionality needed for the basic validation of the idea.
We started the development based on the open-source software for running self-hosted social networking services for the Backend, as it allowed us to build the demo version really quickly and drastically decreased the total time needed for the development.
What We Created
During the demo phase of the project, we built a fully-functioning Web app on Next.js + useSWR with the main features in place:
- Feed with the free/paid articles, ability to expand them to the full article view;
- Interactions for the posts: like, comment, repost, share;
- Basic editor for posting 280+ characters posts with images;
- User Profile page and ability to edit it, show list of following/followers;
- Publisher profile with the ingested news content;
- Settings page.
Next.js + useSWR proved to be quite an interesting toolkit to use, however, due to its stateless nature it had some issues with user session management. The open-source solution that was chosen for the BE had a number of limitations and couldn’t cover all the functionality planned for the next scope, it became harder to configure and scale it for further needs. With all that said, the Post team decided to move in the direction of building their own Backend for the app and eliminate the open-source solution.
Closed Beta Phase
Our team operated in a fast-paced environment where innovation and quick decision-making are critical to success. Post started expanding its team to have the in-house team work on separate parts of the projects in parallel, enhancing the app that was built. From that point in time, the MOC Global team became part of the joined team and proceeded with their work in cooperation with the Post team.
There was a change in the technology stack and we started using React.js + xState for building the new Post web application.
MOCG team was involved in the development of the specific parts of the Post web application (Payments, Settings), as well as building the moderation and operational tool.
Stripe was selected for Payments as a payment processor. This is the main tool used for the monetization and includes these main flows:
- Unlocking paywalled content in the feed;
- Ability to update users’ balances;
- Managing the added payment methods;
- One-click tipping on any piece of content or a user’s profile.
We implemented a complete transaction logic for a payments service. It has a full and detailed log of all transactions. The support team can see all necessary data to control and validate historical data. It’s possible to analyze it later with some automation to get insight and possible fraud operations.
Our team was focused on development of moderation and operational tools, that was needed for letting more people in faster to the closed beta, and further for User and Posts management.
We were involved in the development of Ops tools from the design phase to delivering of the working solution. Now Post admins can easily find the user and posts associated with them, manage account levels, types, review the stats, verify users, see the transactions info, and much more.
Operational tool was developed in the same monorepo as the Pulitzer app (a refined codebase built on SolidJs, designed to streamline how the engineering team works together to expedite new features), that later replaced the current demo site. While working on the Ops tools, we were able to work with Solid.js and Tailwind. Tailwind CSS proved to be quite an easy and nice CSS toolkit to work with.
Our QA team was involved in the process of creating and updating the auto tests for different parts of the project, including Pulitzer app and Ops tools.
Closed Beta Results
Post team managed to involve a big number of beta users which allowed them to gather feedback on the early stages and plan further steps. In the first month of closed beta, there were over 608K users on the waitlist, and 300K of them have been invited and activated their accounts
Work with the Publishers: Post stayed ahead of the competition by continuously updating the project by ingesting new publishers’ content to the News feed. Such popular news publishes are already added to the feed: Reuters, MIT Technology Review, Fortune Magazine, USA Today, Propublica, The Independent, and more to come
Technologies We Leveraged
Backend Tech Stack
Frontend Tech StackDemo
- Next JS
Frontend Tech StackClosed Beta App
- Next JS
Frontend Tech StackOPS Tools
- Solid JS
- Tailwind CSS
We had a great experience with MOC - the speed in which they built up a multidisciplinary team including eng, design, QA, TPM allowed us to quickly roll out our product while hiring an internal team. We could not have done it without MOC and will continue to collaborate on different projects as they come up
Master of Code Global was working on the Post project for about 10 months. This journey from a demo project to a public beta was challenging and required a lot of hard work, dedication, and a willingness to adapt and pivot as needed. However, with the right mindset and approach, it becomes a rewarding and exciting experience that helps to build a successful product and business. Moving forward, the Post team will proceed with the project development with their in-house team.
70KUsers per week
30KUsers daily acivities
430KSignups (all-time) as of Feb 1