OneSignal CEO and Co-founder George Deglin discusses how they pivoted from a mobile games studio, Hiptic Games, to building the world’s most used push notification software. It is a classic build vs. buy product decision.
As a boot strapped, pre-seed stage business Hiptic faced a difficult decision. Mobile game success depended on strong user engagement, and push notifications were a central tool. However the available push notification solutions were rudimentary, inefficient, unreliable and/or too expensive. Knowing that building this would divert valuable development time to new titles but not seeing a viable solution, they felt forced to build their own push notification service.
The core consideration for all businesses are cost and time. Successful businesses focus on solving a core problem, spending resources building a feature or solution that isn’t core to their product is a difficult tradeoff. If notifications and messaging specifically are a core part of your business, e.g. a social network, then investing in building & maintaining makes sense. However utilizing a vendor for a solution such as push notifications for most is a far more cost efficient approach.
George finishes the podcast discussing the rapid evolution of the push notification and in-app messaging space, and how OneSignal is working to stay agile, to remain ahead of the trends to support the nearly one million users using its service. All these key changes have been documented in OneSignal’s blog, such as Android Q Notifications; iOS 13; Chrome & Firefox changes coming in ’20; Apple Deprecating Binary APN's among others. You can also read a more detailed overview of the Build vs. Buy decision making process.