• Daniel Bagbey

Why "Rudder?" The Story Behind The Name.

My name is Daniel Bagbey, and I am a co-founder of Rudder. I named the company after a very important lesson I learned on the water when I was younger.

I grew up spending my summers sailing on the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia. I learned the ins and outs of sailboats, how to capture the wind, and how different forces come together to propel a sailboat forward across the water.

One particularly rough and windy day I was sailing with a sailing instructor on a small boat with a crew of four or five people when the instructor went to the back of the boat, removed the Rudder, and jumped overboard with it. A Rudder is the steering mechanism of a boat or ship similar to the steering wheel of a car.

I was now faced with a man overboard, in very rough seas and heavy wind, with a crew no more experienced than myself, without a Rudder.

Fortunately, I had learned about the different forces that act on a sailboat. I knew that the sail on the front of the boat was forward of the center point of the boat, and the large sail toward the back of the boat was behind the center point. I knew that capturing more or less wind in those two sails would essentially push the front or back of the boat, which would then cause us to turn. I also knew that we could throw our weight to one side or another which would also help us turn.

We had practiced man overboard situations in the past, and we knew what we had to do to safely pick up our instructor. I took hold of the lines that controlled the two sails, and I instructed my crew to balance their weight and be ready to jump to a side at my command.

A procedure that normally takes about 2 minutes, took us about 20. The wind was ripping, and the waves were intense, making it very difficult to get the boat turned around and headed back to our instructor. We managed to pull it off, but it is safe to say that we were exhausted by the time we hauled our instructor into the boat. All he could say was, "what took you so long?!"

Years later I would become a freelancer, running my own small video production business. I would be in charge of landing clients, invoicing, paying bills, managing subcontractors, keeping track of email threads and project details, calendars and shoot dates, media organization and equipment, as well as the creative direction and editing for all my projects. At times I felt like I was sailing a boat without a Rudder in heavy wind, heaving my weight around and doing everything in my power just to turn the boat or keep it on a straight course.

And that's when it hit me. I need a Rudder for my business. I need a simple tool that will help

keep these projects straight, and take some of the "work" out of "getting paid for my work."

The Rudder vision is to automate the steps of the freelance workflow that freelancers currently manage manually. We want to make independent freelancing easier, by automating the workflows that freelancers already follow.

For example: many freelancers prefer getting paid in full before they deliver their final product to the client. They will invoice the client, then email them the work after the client pays. However, this is a manual process that is prone to human error. What if the client doesn't pay right away? Then the freelancer has to spend time and energy following up. What if the client pays when the freelancer is busy or traveling? Then there will be a delay before the final product is delivered. Rudder version 1.0 automates this scenario.

With Rudder, the freelancer can upload their files, add the invoice amount and send it to their client. At this point, the client is notified that their files are ready for them as soon as they pay the freelancer. When the payment is made, the client is immediately delivered the work. This helps both the client and the freelancer wrap up the project quickly and professionally, without additional manual input.

There are many opportunities for automation in the freelance workflow, and we are excited to expand Rudder's capabilities as we move forward. If you would like to suggest next features for Rudder, or have a question, or if Rudder has helped you in some way, please email us at, we look forward to hearing from you, and can't wait to help other freelancers as we move forward.


Daniel Bagbey