For more than a decade, Brightspot has been the go-to solution for some of the biggest names in digital publishing and brand storytelling. As the digital landscape evolves and more and more publishers seek high-quality tools that will allow them to quickly, effectively and affordably run their businesses, Perfect Sense has embraced these changes.
We sat down with David Gang, our company’s co-founder and CEO to learn more about Brightspot Readymade, an out-of-the box platform that empowers companies to launch enterprise-quality sites faster than they ever thought possible.
In the Q&A that follows, Gang shares his thoughts on how publishing is changing, the industry trends he predicts will dominate 2019, and why Readymade has, in essence, been part of the company’s robust product portfolio since day one.
You’ve had a long career in digital. When you founded Perfect Sense in 2008 and decided to create Brightspot, how did your past experience and knowledge inform your initial decisions about the company and its products?
Back then I realized something that still holds true today. When you’re building out infrastructure, it takes a fair amount of time. It’s a complicated process and, invariably, months into it, once you’ve finished, the market has already changed. Business conditions have changed. Revenue models have changed.
With Brightspot, I knew we were creating something different. The goal was to build something that would change as fast as business did—and that’s precisely what we did.
'With Brightspot, I knew we were creating something different. The goal was to build something that would change as fast as business did—and that’s precisely what we did."
Tell us about the relationship between Perfect Sense and Brightspot.
When we started the company, we set out to disrupt the norm. We have always been focused on delivering value that delights our customers and making sure they were always happy. It has never been about the paperwork, it has always been about their business. With each of our customers, we were there every step of the way, overdelivering to ensure they were happy. We were—and continue to be—committed to doing all the work to make sure we understand every aspect of your business.
It’s all about connection. Listening to the consumers and owning the responsibility of making them happy was the core driving force behind both the company and the product.
How has publishing changed over the last 10 years?
I’ll focus on the media industry because a lot of the innovation around Brightspot has come out of the work we do in media. Compared to many other markets, media is forced to respond and react quicker to changes in technology and shifts in the consumption of online content.
As the industry becomes more complex, it’s complicated even further by the fact that ad revenue and subscription revenue have become more difficult to capture. Essentially in media, you’re now in a world where you need to do more work than ever before—and at the same time, you need to account for the fact that it’s more difficult to capture traditional sources of digital revenue.
I’ve noticed another shift over just the past three or four years. There was a point when people in media had the mindset of, “I want to build a system that is completely tailored to our unique approach to business, and I’m willing to spend the money to set myself apart.” Fast-forward to today, and that cost to be different ends up being in conflict with the ability to drive profitability. Now, instead of looking for custom solutions to differentiate themselves, many publishers are looking for something that simply works. Remember, content is what truly differentiates the publisher.
One of the latest products to come out of Perfect Sense is Brightspot Readymade. Tell us about this out-of-the-box platform and how it’s enabling companies to launch sites in as little as 90 days.
Readymade is precisely what its name implies: it’s ready-made. We set out to develop an enterprise CMS that you can essentially turn on with simple configurations and settings. You don’t have to customize it (though you certainly can). With Readymade, you can just stand it up and go.
Readymade delivers most of the content types and modules you need to run a robust web experience. Every content type, every workflow, every core decision is available to publishers, simply through tuning and configuration. We’ve taken all the complexity and decisions required to build a custom CMS, but we’re letting you start from a ready-made position where you can simply launch the product as-is.
How did the idea of Readymade come about?
In a way, Readymade has been around from the beginning. Looking back to the initial concept behind Brightspot, we aimed to eliminate the tedious steps that a developer is required to take. What’s different now is that we’ve redefined—and continue to redefine—what constitutes as tedious.
The more you look at what people are building, the more you realize that so much of it is the same. Frequently, it is just expressed differently with unique front-end experiences and integrations.
If Readymade can deliver to clients a completely well-thought-out set of business rules and content templates and modules, then the most important thing they need to think about is the visual presentation. That should be a game-changer for publishers.
Readymade not only saves time and money, but it also allows the customers to focus on exactly what’s different about their business instead of worrying about the things that are the same as everyone else.
Typically, the checklist required to build a custom CMS is long and complex. But with Readymade, we’ve completely turned that on its head—and that’s refreshing for people.
Who is the ideal consumer of Readymade?
It’s a perfect fit for a business that wants the robustness of an enterprise-quality publishing infrastructure, but lacks the time and budget typically associated with building a custom solution.
This could be a multi-billion-dollar company. But perhaps they have just 90 days to launch a new venture.
Another example is a smaller company that needs to launch or rebrand in a hurry, delivering content in a different and unique way. They recognize the market is changing and know they have one opportunity to make a difference—and it’s got to be done quickly, and it needs to fit into their budget.
Across the board, our customers benefit from scalable technology that’s been time-tested with large digital experiences. With Readymade, we can deliver something fast with less resources, which by extension means we can deliver it for less money.
Do you have any Readymade success stories to share?
Readymade has been transformative for many of our clients. Sotheby’s Museum Network, Amazon’s Day One experience, Bluprint, GolfPass, CoStar—they all benefited from Readymade. If you look at the development timeline on all of those sites, roughly speaking, they took 50% less time to launch than similar experiences.
Our Readymade toolkit moves you closer to the finish line, and that closeness is defined by how much customization you require to execute your business. Whether you need no customization, a little or a lot, the technology that propels Readymade moves you that much closer to the finish line.
Looking ahead, what are the industry trends that you think will shape our company and impact our customers in 2019?
Cost and complexity need to come out of the market. If you think back 20 years, the mantra was “content is king.” Then there was a period of time when experience trumped content. I think we’ve come full circle and are now back to content being the most important part of any digital experience.
"It’s critical to the success of our industry that we still enable people to have first-rate experiences, but we need to do it with less complexity and less time."
To truly make content king once again, you need to get out of the way of the content developers. You need to help them get their content to the end user, on the platforms that user wants to access that content, and deliver the content faster than ever. It’s critical to the success of our industry that we still enable people to have first-rate experiences, but we need to do it with less complexity and less time.
Today, our company couldn’t be better positioned to capitalize on this trend. For 11 years, we’ve been committed to offering our clients high-quality care and powerful, innovative solutions. With Readymade, we’re harnessing all of that power and capability and getting it to you fast so that you can run your business quicker and more affordably than ever before.
as Little as 90 days