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OwnLocal Case Study featured image
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Media & Communications

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Company Size

11 - 50 employees

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Austin, Texas

The partner

Since its founding in 2010, OwnLocal has been driven by the same mission: To help local media companies survive and thrive in the digital age. In the beginning, OwnLocal fought for local news, swooping into small towns and equipping newspapers and radio and TV stations with tools to boost their online revenue.

Always adapting, OwnLocal pivoted away from ad tech and introduced new products over the years. Today, the OwnLocal platform leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to automatically transform print ads into interactive digital marketing campaigns. This helps local media companies turn legacy clients into digital users, positioning OwnLocal as a one-stop shop for their advertisers' marketing needs. The platform is trusted by over 4,000 publishers across North America, Europe, and Australia.

The problem: A need for fresh talent

In its early days, OwnLocal had an engineer problem.

"Our engineering team didn't seem to value their jobs," recalled Jorge González Medina, Product Leader at OwnLocal. "There was a lot of slacking off."

A toxic team culture is never ideal, but the engineering team's entitled attitudes were particularly problematic because OwnLocal was facing a major overhaul. The team was moving a large product with over a billion impressions per month from Amazon's cloud to Google's cloud while also making significant changes to its software.

"We were basically rebuilding a boat in the middle of the ocean," Medina said.

To juggle multiple, high-impact projects at once, OwnLocal would need resourceful, skilled engineers comfortable with DevOps. The engineers had to be quick and eager to learn since OwnLocal uses an uncommon programming language, Ruby on Rails.

The Howdy solution: Results-driven LatAm devs

After a round of difficult layoffs, OwnLocal was down to two domestic engineers. Its head of engineering had experience working with developers in South America and suggested they try hiring internationally.

At first, the OwnLocal team was hesitant to hire nearshore devs.

"We were skeptical because it was such a big shift," Medina said. "I had experience working with offshore developers in different parts of Asia, and communication was always tough."

Nevertheless, OwnLocal decided to give LatAm devs a shot.

That's where Howdy came in. The company handled everything — from multi-national logistics to contracts to sourcing talented candidates. Soon, OwnLocal had a brand new team of seven developers from Uruguay.

The results: Soaring productivity

With the help of Howdy hires, OwnLocal tackled its cloud migration project and major software changes.

"The team handled multiple projects without missing a beat," Medina said. "At the same time, we had a great cadence in developing new features."

Within six months, OwnLocal saw a spike in productivity.

"The number of tickets our engineering team finished per week was much higher than before," Medina said.

Like most present-day devs, the Howdy engineers didn't have much experience with Own Local's main development language, Ruby on Rails — but that didn't matter, according to Medina.

"The devs from Howdy might not have written code in this language before, but they have the attitude of wanting to learn," Medina said. "They want to do anything needed to help the company even though we don't have the trendiest framework."

Everybody has a great attitude when facing challenging situations — that's the biggest benefit of working with Howdy," he added.

Today, OwnLocal works with four Howdy engineers who have been with OwnLocal for multiple years.

"Many complex projects are handled by Howdy engineers exclusively without any need to micromanage," said Medina. "They are very independent and get a lot of voice in how we execute projects."

Importantly, Howdy engineers are a fantastic match for OwnLocal culture, according to Medina.

"Even though I've never met most of my team in person, I feel a connection with them," he said. "In part, it's because Howdy does such a great job recruiting the right people — finding people who are not only smart and hard-working, but who are also the right fit for our team."

Want to design your own team of results-driven, highly skilled LatAm engineers? Book a free demo with Howdy now.

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The Why of Howdy

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