Thursday, February 21, 2013

"Spokes" - A Playground for Partners

You may have wondered where the CloudSpokes logo originated from, or what the initial thinking was that led to the multi-colored multi-clouds. It’s definitely a tricky logo to work with at times. Vinyl stickers? Yeah, not so easy unless they’re huge. T-shirts? Right, get ready for every single color in the rainbow to be set to print. Defined color schemes? That’s a luxury we don’t currently have.

The CloudSpokes logo came from a vision for what the CloudSpokes marketplace would eventually be. At the time of launch, the trend for organizations looking to build momentum in their developer and fan communities was to create and curate those communities themselves in segregated areas. This always felt strange and alien to us. At the time when Cloud adoption was approaching the peak of its hype cycle, and people were just beginning to see the value in shared resources with regards to their technology, businesses were looking the exact opposite way with regards to their communities. 

The power of the cloud is closely tied to multi-tenancy. CloudSpokes provides multi-tenancy for developers building things and ISVs that are trying to reach them. By bringing together developers with multiple cloud platforms / products onto the CloudSpokes community both benefit from the shared experience and the innovation that comes from seeing, extending and tying together multiple cloud solutions. A few of our early partners understood this quickly, and capitalized swiftly in our first months.

As CloudSpokes has matured we’re now formalizing this process for our customers and partners that want to have their own tenant of CloudSpokes or “Spoke”:

What is a “Spoke”? A CloudSpokes Spoke is ultimately a way for us to provide partners with all the resources they would need to engage with a community of experts. By providing our partners with a Spoke we hope to realize that vision of CloudSpokes as a true marketplace for cloud development. 

Perhaps the best way to think about what a Spoke would entail is to think about it as a view or portal to and from the CloudSpokes community. This portal would be a hub for information, innovation, and creative work driven from our partners’ APIs and communities. Firms could still have their own developer experiences / sites / content - but the Spoke provides a window where an individual developer can put concepts into code. 

To highlight what’s possible, here are some of the ways our current partners are partnering with CloudSpokes to drive innovation and customer success:

  • Augmenting Services - Let product companies focus on product:
    Our most recent Spokes partner, Smartsheet, is tapping into the expertise of the community in order to augment services work around the core Smartsheet product. The first few challenges have been focused on better product integration with CRM, with many more feature-focused challenges coming in the near future. Stay tuned to to be part of the services team with this very cool partner.
    "Tapping directly into the best cloud experts and developers in the world accelerates our ability to prototype and deliver creative integration solutions that extend our online collaboration platform while also building awareness of our API. We're proud to be a Spokes partner and look forward to continue leveraging support and energy of the CloudSpokes Platform."
    - Eric Browne, VP of Product Management at Smartsheet.

  • Product Development, R&D - Scalable cloud dev capacity in every skill:
    Mesh01 is leveraging the depth of expertise in the CloudSpokes community to provide core development on the Mesh01 platform through their own partner Spoke. In the first series of challenges the CloudSpokes community is helping Mesh01 build a custom application that will allow athletic footwear and apparel brands to systematically select from a pool of registered athletes and enthusiasts to evaluate their product.  The range of development technologies being used include Heroku, Node, Angular, Bootstrap, Express, and Mongo. Visit to be part of the product team with this innovative partner.

  • Engage Evangelists - Provide fans a way to engage and contribute:
    The Academy of Art University is working with CloudSpokes to redesign their mobile experience app - a guide for students used for getting around campus and navigating daily life. Working with CloudSpokes has also allowed AAU to crowdsource ideas and creativity and also source talent within their own Spoke, to their own unique community - AAU students themselves. Many organizations, enterprises, and software vendors have a very enthusiastic fan base, but no method to engage and challenge them. CloudSpokes provides that vehicle to customers like AAU.

  • Community Growth - Exposure to 70,000+ of the best cloud experts:
    As one of our very first partners, Box has run multiple challenges and even their Mobile Dev Hackathon through CloudSpokes. The highlight of what Box is accomplishing here is that by tapping into the CloudSpokes marketplace they’ve found a way to instantly add 70,000+ developers to their fan base.
    "We're excited to be working with CloudSpokes - we believe that their contest platform and community of developers will be immensely helpful in spurring innovation in the cloud."
    - Alex Willen, Box Platform Marketing

Back to the Cloud analogy, it’s important to remember that “shared resources” are not simply a step-change improvement from the alternative. Cloud technology, and the CloudSpokes community, are ways of exponentially improving a formerly archaic process.

As we’ve seen with our pioneering partners, and even some of our new Spokes partners like Smartsheet, CloudSpokes provides a way in which a powerful community of thousands of experts can help companies do things that were previously unfeasible. By being a marketplace for API providers, customer organizations, and cloud experts, we hope to bring to fruition all the promises of the cloud, making it easier for businesses and people to work together on the right Spoke.


  1. It's great to see CloudSpokes building a complete ecosystem of leading 3rd party platforms. This will definitely increase the length and breadth of challenges as well as step up the competition by several notches. A win-win situation for all stakeholders. Great move - I hope more and more partners join in :)