This is the story of GigaTools, a SaaS company built by me. Andre Ruello.
Born in the humblest of beginnings with one man and a MacBook, I was able to take a simple idea to solve an ongoing problem facing musicians and performers wanting to promote themselves online into a multi million € Euro business, with over 50, 000 paying customers from almost every country on earth to help them promote what to date (Jan 2022) has been over 1 Million Events, in 32,836 cities in 138 countries on planet Earth.
Growing an online business throughout the 2010’s, whilst making an actual profit, was no small achievement. In an environment already oversaturated with countless over funded & under planned online business ideas being launched, withering and dying with lifespans comparabale to insects, I was able to take my idea far beyond my most ambitious goals and sustain it for over decade.
By relying on the basic principle of delivering a well designed, easy to use software product that fulfilled a practical need in peoples lives, whilst establishing and maintaining the highest standard of customer service and support, I was able to capture and grow a loyal customer base, in the face of the previously mentioned competition whilst also adapting to the ever shifting sands of the online environment and the human behaviour within it, through the decade where Social Media changed the entire Human race.
Beyond these achievements I also positioned the business to be as open and collaborative as possible, employing all of the Open Source software movement’s principles, releasing our plugin code to the public and running a free API whilst connecting to as many other relevant APIs from networks including Facebook, Twitter and Soundcloud to name but a few.
The idea for GigaTools was born during my previous life as a creative developer, building numerous web products for Musicians and performers. I repeatedly came across the problem of how best to manage and promote an Artist’s ever changing schedule for their upcoming events. After building the technical infrastructure to solve this problem for any one given website or online ecosystem, the idea to build one single tool to handle this process across any website, online promo or other imaginable Internet content quickly emerged.
The demand for a solution to this problem was made more urgent with the emergence of MySpace, arguably the first the “Social Network” and with it’s focus on musicians, it essentially duplicated the work of every musician and performer who now had to manage both their own custom online presence, such as their own website as well as their freshly minted MySpace page, which had it’s own bespoke events listing and management tools.
This was a frustrating time for web developers everywhere as the already tedious task of routinely updating a anything ranging from a static HTML website to some custom content management system was now saddled with the extra burden of updating a MySpace profile with the exact same data.
I recognised this opportunity to create a software solution to this terrestrial problem and in a few weeks had built a functioning prototype using Ruby on Rails and Adobe Flash technology to share the one set of events data across multiple websites and MySpace profiles, essentially solving the problem.
Instantly realising the global utility of what i had made, the logical next step was to launch this into a business and so, with the most rudimentary website imaginable and a marketing budget of an impressive zero dollars, i launched www.GigaTools.com on the world wide web in mid 2009 and through the magic of the Internet, I had my first paying customer in 3 days.
As the business grew I was forced to discover, learn and solve an entirely new range of problems such as scaling issues, navigating the world of online payment systems and of course the ubiquitous realities of online customer service and support, All the while seeking new opportunities to adapt and grow the business in the now booming age of Social Media.
Seeking to fully exploit the potential of my burgeoning business, I hired a small team of designers and developers to take over the hands on work whilst I directed operations, so my role evolved from that of designer / developer to a pseudo CEO which encompassed everything from hiring and managing my small team, project managing their daily efforts and acting as chief morale officer whilst designing and prototyping new app features to maintaining both a microscopic and macroscopic view over the Internet as a whole and Social Media specifically, identifying and exploiting opportunities as they emerged whilst also acting as a business development manager, forging strategic partnerships with other organisations, obtaining celebrity endorsements and attending relevant industry events.
I was also involved with a large proportion of customer service and support, personally answering countless emails over the years, solving the few problems that our customers had whilst building tools, producing video tutorials and writing documentation to solve these problems for customers before they even occurred.
As previously mentioned, in the ethos of “Open Source” I was able to further maximise the utility of the GigaTools product by interfacing it with every emerging or established online music service, such as Soundcloud and MixCloud as well as plugging it into Facebook and Twitter and releasing a free API exposing all of our public data for everyone, thus making GigaTools an indispensable tool for musicians big and small who wanted to promote themselves online.
in 2014, Seeking to capitalise on the good will and branding success I had established in the music world, I launched GigaTools Pro, which was a Business to Business event management tool designed for booking agents, and a logical extension of the GigaTools ecosystem.
Having fully automated the GigaTools universe some years ago, I have since moved onto other projects. 👑
Twitter – @GGTLS