It is perhaps no surprise that Tys Sweeney ’17, founder of the student-run Blair publication The Oracle and Oracle Radio, has gone on to create a new project management software called “StoryDesk” as an economics and political science major at Tufts University. The college senior developed the software to expedite the process from assignment to publication of a written piece, in newsrooms, communications offices and many other settings. The young entrepreneur believes that StoryDesk will not only save time but also create an easier process for writers everywhere.
Tys’s interest in creating a project management software came while he was working at The Tufts Daily, the university’s independent student newspaper. “We had used a simple software called Content Manager for years to keep track of articles for each section, but it's quite limited and isn't useful for individual editors when they're organizing their teams,” he explained. “Having to keep track of content in my own spreadsheet as the opinion editor this past fall, and coming to understand the informational disconnects managing content this spring in my role as associate editor at The Tufts Daily, I was inspired to create something more robust.” So he began working on software that would not only benefit him but his peers and the world outside of Tufts as well.
The shutdown of Tufts campus due to the coronavirus pandemic last spring provided Tys with the window of opportunity he needed to get started on his software. He believes that StoryDesk’s two most important benefits lie in its ability to automate and consolidate information. “StoryDesk consolidates the management process into an easy-to-use visual dashboard, keeps all your deadlines and data in an easy-to-access ‘project,’ and handles assignment notification and reminders,” he said.
After working on the software for some time, Tys was ready to try using it at The Tufts Daily. Although there were initial problems with the first version, several tweaks to the software have made StoryDesk a success. “StoryDesk 1.0 didn't have enough features, and it was difficult to use. So I worked for most of June on redesigning the user interface and implementing several new features such as integration with WordPress. It's nowhere near done, but it's a usable, reliable and feature-packed product now, and I’m proud of it,” said Tys.
Tys’s entrepreneurial spirit began while he was at Blair, and he attributes the founding of The Oracle and Oracle Radio to this drive to create. “My experiences at Blair empowered me as a leader, strengthened my entrepreneurial resolve, and have encouraged me ever since. Whenever I've faced a challenging problem, I always know to turn to allies and mentors, build support and be an entrepreneurial leader as I was taught at Blair.”
Tys is looking forward to his senior year at Tufts and the future of StoryDesk. While it is a one-person pursuit at the moment, he hopes to bring in additional team members in the fall. The road ahead for StoryDesk is certainly promising, as Tys hopes to add StoryDesk Agency, which he describes as “a marketplace for advertisers to buy placement in college newspapers, which will help college newspapers increase their revenue streams at a critical time of economic uncertainty.”
StoryDesk has already been purchased for use in Blair Academy’s English and communications departments, a sign of future success for Tys and StoryDesk, no doubt.