Why is technology so central to Pixelogic?
Lucas Carboni: Technology has always been at the forefront of media, ever since humans began creating and then processing images: first in black and white, then in color, then adding and synchronizing sound. Technology is fundamental to our industry. It’s also fundamental to our work at Pixelogic and so we employ a broad range of technologies.
Craig Seidel: We use best-in-class for everything. And Quickbase is part of that. We have full stack development for much of our work. But we also have a massive amount of work that is best done with low-code, no-code software so that we can rapidly whip out a project and get people working on it right away.
How was pre-Quickbase life at Pixelogic? What about now?
LC: Lots of spreadsheets and isolated data islands. Multiple operational teams used their own independent business intelligence tools and often spent days or even weeks trying to join data, especially around quarter- and year-end. With Quickbase, we’ve connected the operational activities and are managing the status and assignment of job functions. We’re also connecting entire project life cycles so that teams can easily close out financial months and years.
CS: Pixelogic has about 1,800 people on staff, and about 6,000 freelancers. Pretty much everybody in the company touches Quickbase at one time or another. Some people use it every day. Some people use it once a year. But it’s integral to almost everything we do.
Where is Quickbase most helpful?
LC: We use Quickbase for so many things. A big one is understanding where jobs are in the production process. Another is organizing and interacting with data to then create meaningful reports and insights.
Quickbase allows us to work very flexibly. We can try things on an ad hoc basis without going deep into development to see if something will be worth the effort. We’re able to try things and then decide if we want to build them out into full-scale production on a wider use basis, or to change course. Quickbase lets us ideate and quickly deploy, test some of our theories, and move forward from there.
CS: Quickbase is part of our mission-critical applications, but also mundane applications that are very useful. Like an application for ordering supplies, tracking HR, hiring. The combination of mission-critical and mundane is powerful.
With our offices around the world, our work follows the sun. That means we’ll be working on a project in Burbank, London, Cairo, Tokyo, and back to Burbank. Our ability to manage all the data and communicate it, and pass the handoff from place to place is crucial. Quickbase is a big part of that.
What’s an example of something you tried not knowing if it would work?
LC: Something that was slightly unproven but became rewarding was the development of planning systems for client orders. These don’t always contain all the details necessary to take immediate action, and need to go through enrichment and clarifying processes. By leveraging Quickbase, we can now take in these client orders as data, run processes across operational teams to enhance the data that’s there, and then push that data off into deeper systems within our supply chain. From that point forward, we can bring the best of automation throughout our workflow mechanisms that sit underneath Quickbase — while leveraging Quickbase to work on what’s sometimes unstructured and unclear data to get it cleared up, refined, and ultimately publishable.
CS: We have projects with very quick turnarounds at very high volume. If we tried to manage those on spreadsheets, we’d be sunk. If we tried to develop a full stack application specifically for those projects, the project would be over before we finished development. Instead, we fire up a Quickbase app. When the project is done, we’re also done with the app. It’s served its purpose and allowed us to meet our customers’ needs.
Have you ever tried something that didn’t work?
LC: On a regular basis. Trying things that don’t work is part of finding the right path. Like any platform, Quickbase has its constraints. Those sometimes force us — in a good way — to confront some uncomfortable realities. Maybe we’re hoarding too much data, or holding onto things for too long. Working within Quickbase, we can ideate, work up a proof of concept, deploy it to a good degree of success. If it proves not to meet the needs of the current business, or we discover another problem along the way, we can change course fairly quickly. Quickbase serves well as a sort of playground to get things off the ground, started, and vetted in a way that we can refine for future permanence.
CS: One of the things we learned the hard way is to manage Quickbase like software. In other words, don't just sit down and start creating things and hope it all comes together. You have to look at requirements. You have to track features. You need a release process. And once we started putting these processes in place, the quality of our Quickbase applications went up, the predictability of delivering features went up, and it just became an overall much better process.
How does Quickbase help you in today’s ever-changing markets?
LC: The media and entertainment industry is always dynamic. Conditions and deadlines can change daily. Just when you think you’ve got something figured out, it changes. The comedy becomes a drama. The drama becomes a horror film. And the next thing you know, the deadline is in three weeks. Quickbase allows us to turn all that information into data so that it’s not just anecdotal. We can move quickly within the platform without relying on emails, spreadsheets, or long meetings. And we can record everything that’s happening throughout our supply chain — and visualize it — through our Quickbase platform.