Wunderkit and the 6Wunderkinder – 8 months later

As you can see on my Linkedin profile, I used to work as consultant for 6Wunderkinder, a Berlin based start-up company, last year. My job was to provide training for the developers and help building the initial Web frontend for Wunderkit, their next product after the popular Wunderlist app. Even though I could say a lot about what I liked and didn’t like about any company I worked with, I’m never disclosing internal details. The reason they hired me clearly was my experience with large Web applications and JavaScriptMVC. One of the reasons they stopped working with me obviously was that they decided to use BackboneJS as framework for the Web frontend instead (while I was on vacation in Chicago…). There are some public tweets about that, so I’m just repeating it here – basically, they complained that the head revision of JavaScriptMVC was not stable enough. Of course it would have been nice to find a solution, but at the end of the day it’s their responsibility, right? It’s their company and they must do whatever they feel is required to succeed!

From that perspective, I’m very much interested in how the move payed out. After they released the Wunderkit beta, it also came to my attention that they not only replaced the frontend framework but also switched from PHP to Ruby on Rails in the backend. That explains the delay and makes the comparison to my preferred technology stack even more exciting. Not sure how this last sentence sounds, it’s not ironic: I really like to see their efforts result in another hugely popular (and mature) application like Wunderlist. So far, it can be said that they managed to release a Wunderkit beta to the public and that the site is up and running. That’s good. On the other hand there are reports from users that lost all their data (see iPhone app store). I’m sure PHP developers can make their own sarcastic comments now. To be fair, it’s still “beta”, so anyone who stores important information on Wunderkit without a backup should not complain – in theory… The performance of the Web frontend did not convince me at first, but seems to get better. I’m sure they’re still working on it. Therefore, I will wait with any in depth analysis, until they declare the application stable. Good luck guys! :)

Another question is, if the feature set of Wunderkit is a fit for the users. Sometimes, it’s not easy to differentiate between technical issues and usability issues (“It’s not a bug, it’s a feature!”). My impression is, that the public reception of Wunderkit is mixed. Not everyone is as impressed, as the (often criticized) hype suggested. There are many blogs discussing the features and usefulness of Wunderkit (you know how to use Google).

What makes me wonder is, that some employes left the company, which is generally not a good sign. For example Jessica Erickson, Michael Henriksen and Ricardo Sousa. Ricardo wrote an interesting blog post about his Wunderkinder experience. He mentions that some employes are more passionate than talented, which is something I probably wouldn’t publicly say about my customers. He used to work there after I already left, so I have no clue what exactly he is talking about. Of course there are not only senior developers working in a start-up company – that’s clear. From my perspective, everyone is more passionate than I am. Hope that means I am at least talented. IMO producing quality code and working efficiently is my professional duty – otherwise I would rather spend my time hanging around at the beach and drinking cocktails, seriously.