Togetherall when success leads to break up
Nearly a month has passed since we said goodbye. It’s never a good look to come off as clingy – so you stoically sign off, wishing good luck and great success. Internally, it’s a wrench to let go. After all, our relationship had lasted for three years. The affair was intense, passionate, turbulent at times – but never toxic. We learned from each other, grew together, but then it was time to part. *sniff*
Our job at Neverbland is to design and build digital products that provide ambitious startup and scaling companies with the platforms they need for growth. The satisfying part for a digital product studio is launching a new website or app, continuing to iterate and enhance it based on user feedback then watching it have a meaningful impact on someone’s business and if at all possible the wider community too. The other side of the coin is that if it all goes well, there comes a point when your client takes everything in-house. In most cases the tech platform is primary IP and too important to place solely in the hands of a third party in perpetuity. There comes a time when they don’t need you anymore. Sure it provides some challenges for us around business growth and team reassignment, but this is a good thing – it is the right thing.
In 2019 Togetherall knocked on our door for the first time. The big idea? A digital platform where people get peer support for anxiety, depression and any other mental health concern. Users are anonymous and moderated by clinical professionals who keep things safe and identify those who are in immediate danger. Perhaps the smartest thing about this is its potential to scale mental health support. Traditionally, talking therapy is done one-to-one. This proposes a one-to-many model, Henry Jones, the CEO explained.
Then they showed us the website. It was reams and reams of messaging chat. Millions of words that had to be logged and recorded and migrated to a new digital property. Ten years’ worth of people talking to one another. Given the vulnerability of the user base, it might have been the most sensitive project we’ve ever taken on.
And take it on we did. After eighteen months we had a version one. It launched, we learned and iterated. Today Togetherall is a platform that thousands of people visit every month to help take control of how they are feeling. But as we worked with the fine folk running the company, we knew that every success brought us closer to the time when our clients would reach a size where all the developers, designers and coders would be in house. As their team scaled up, ours scaled down.
Why did we forge such a close attachment to this project in particular? Besides a fierce belief in their mission, a lot of it has to do with the divisions you perceive between agency and client. Neverbland works in a way where this line is barely perceivable. There is no ‘us and them’ when we work with a company. There’s just the objective – a superlative digital product that provides a pathway to growth.
Like any relationship, closeness comes from trust – the macho writer Ernest Hemmingway said that the “best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” The team at Togetherall had faith in our process even as the project faced its more challenging moments. You can’t pay lip service to collaboration, either you do it, or you don’t. More than anything it’s this commitment to shared goals that made working with Togetherall such a rewarding experience.
Now Togetherall is growing faster than ever – and getting more vital help to people who need it. If Neverbland succeeded in speeding it along in this work, I’m happy that we reached this fork in the road.
Besides, as one door closes another opens and we’re looking forward to new challenges and opportunities for making a difference.
Follow the link to see what we got up to with Togetherall.