Zemanta was originally an engineering focused company. It was founded by the hackers that surrounded themselves with even more hackers and that naturally implanted engineering way of thinking into the company. While we have talked (and quarreled) about customer needs a lot, this talk came from the mind, not from the heart. When the decisions had to be made, the engineering focus always won. Perhaps the best thing about Zemanta is that we have some of the best advisers in the world. They had seen that after initial success, we have been kind of stalling, and they have recommended to us to hire someone to help us solve our problems. I have never seen a company so thoroughly changed as was Zemanta after three-day workshop by Marty Cagan in June 2011. Marty is an engineer-turned-to-product-guy himself, so he was able to present us the perils of engineering focused organization in such a way that even hackers could understand. After 10 months of practicing the Marty's way, I think he'd be proud of how customer and product focused we have become since.
I'll finish with the quote that "Great products come from great companies." We are far a way from being a great company (we have lots of fun, though), but I hope we are at least moving in the right direction. The quote is from the following article that is well worth reading:
A treasure trove of unearthed interviews, conducted by the writer who knew him best, reveals how Jobs's ultimate success at Apple can be traced directly to his so-called wilderness years. All illustrations drawn on iPad by Jorge Colombo If Steve Jobs's life were staged as an opera, it would be a tragedy in three acts.