A case study on grit and resilience. We did some good work amidst a tough moment at the end, and online archives don’t get talked about enough. Shout out to the team that helped land that plane.
Archive & Camera
Figure out how to rightfully sunset the company within 3 months on a tight budget with a skeleton crew team.
Design, product, leadership, operations, comms, budget
We needed to let people download all their vines. We needed to figure out how to archive all those S3 buckets full of video at low cost, we hypothesized it would be cool to ship a tool-only app so that creators who relied on the camera could still use it, for both iOS and Android.
I did the math to figure out we could maintain a static archive at a nominal cost, pitched the project and got sign off. Then, we had to figure out how to disentangle all the dynamic parts of the platform from the static media. The database migration will be a chapter in the book I write one day.
While we did this, stripping down the site to just hosting the content (but still the ability to log in and delete your data should you want), and the app to a tool, we built a downloader for users to be able to save their media, with comms and reminder messaging. We later killed the downloader work when we flipped the static archive live. I worked with the Internet Archive to ensure they could archive as much media as possible too.
It was like trying to taking apart a puzzle that had been glued together. The silver lining was that a great way to learn how to build something is to take a model apart first.
We did the project completely on budget to the dollar. The downloader worked, and the archive stayed live until Twitter later shut that down (likely due to GDPR regulations). The Vine Camera stayed in the App / Play Store until OS updates made it too brittle. Everyone survived, and this story is part of history.