When makelog Founder and CEO JJ Nguyen, working in positions of product management and customer success at companies such as Segment, Scale AI and Warby Parker, saw a constant stream of product updates. Yet communication between engineering and product teams could not always keep up with the rapid changes of the modern development team.
She spent a lot of time trying to tell the engineering team what was changing, so as a product lead, she could communicate the changes to other parts of the company as well as customers who needed to know about the changes. I should know. Also, of course.
The problem was so acute, she decided to start a company to help solve it, and today she is announcing the launch of MakeLog, which she marks as a ‘release communications platform. The company also announced a seed investment of $3 million.
“So I started MakeLog to help fast shipping software teams, which essentially match their rate of release communication with their shipping velocity, which we call continuous communication. But the technical and business teams need to be on the same page.” We’ve always had that kind of overarching mission, to help us move in direction and unite in a common language,” Nguyen told me.
Before there were products like Makelog, she found that communication was more ad hoc, where she was constantly asking engineers about upcoming changes, a task that wasn’t always easy as they were focused on making those changes. To get what he wanted, he had to buy and sell all kinds of information.
“For me to get references in everything in shipping so that I could do my job well and be this product expert, I often had to bug the engineers and we would trade like this, this swap of references , where I eventually learned how to talk with more information about the product, and they learned what customers liked about the things they were making,” she said.
The product, as the name suggests, is a log that various components inside and outside the company can filter to get information that is important to them. Engineering teams, including management, can use logs to track developers’ progress on completing elements of the product roadmap. Internal teams can see what’s coming and customers can understand what’s changed.
She said she wants to completely replace the traditional change log and make it more useful for everyone involved. Too much information is as bad as too little. “We are trying to take a giant hammer to the traditional release notes, where we are encouraging people to communicate at this minimally marketable entity level, making it easier for them to route individual updates to the right people at the right time. Gets really easy,” she said.
This includes in-depth integration with source tools like GitHub and Jira. She says the goal is to “create a new workflow where you can see what’s shipped, you can figure out what needs to be communicated to and to whom and get these updates really, really fast.” Get by using the context you’ve already captured.”
Nguyen started the company in late 2020 and currently has 6 employees, five engineers, and uses Makelog internally for a two-way communication flow between herself and the team. Early clients include Monte Carlo, Armory and PopSQL.
The company is offering the product publicly for the first time today. The $3 million seed round that closed late last year was led by Accel with participation from Basecamp Fund, Formula Ventures, Bluewatch Ventures and several industry angels.