How to Build Your Startup Technology Stack Real Fast Without Investing Any Money.

Unfortunately Parse is closing down in 2017, but we have found a great and actually local (to us) service: AppStax.

We built our first shippable product #lillygram in six weeks. This was possible in part because we made some smart choices about our technology stack. Here are some of them.

Parse dressed i white.

Do you want to save lots of money and hundreds of hours of coding while building your product?

Continue reading How to Build Your Startup Technology Stack Real Fast Without Investing Any Money. How to Build Your Startup Technology Stack Real Fast Without Investing Any Money.

Unfortunately Parse is closing down in 2017, but we have found a great and actually local (to us) service: AppStax.

Our First #lillygram Hurdle: Getting Paid

This weekend we were all set for a soft invitation-only launch. Until we realized we couldn’t get paid. That’s bad for business.

dollar

It’s all my fault. I was charged with the task of enabling users to leave us with their sweet bundles of cash. Easy enough, I thought.

lillyDrawing-refrigirator-alt 1.2 expo-01

Since we are hosting our backend with Parse.com (an excellent «Backend as a Service»), we would ideally use Stripe.com for payments, since they are nicely integrated with Parse.com. Only problem is, you need a US or UK registered business and bank account to use Stripe.com.

We have neither. Yet.

We decided to go for PayPal’s new REST API instead. It has a beautiful little SDK for Node.js. I had to build a little payment proxy outside of Parse.com, since Parse.com doesn’t allow using just any package, only ones they have pre-approved.

A few hundred lines of code later it all works in sandbox mode, and we are good to go.

Until we test it in our production environment. Nothing works as expected. After some intense debugging, I finally go to PayPal’s developer portal to triple-check the settings. That’s when I see the fine print:

«PayPal’s new REST API is not available outside of the US.»

Actually, the print isn’t all that fine. It’s staring at my face – and I wonder why I didn’t see this before.

Let this be a reminder to all of you, to make absolutely sure that a service will work for you before you spend your precious hours implementing it.

In the meantime, we will have to do PayPal’s standard payment and manually update users’ credit balances on a regular basis.

My First #lillygram User Interview

I went to the offices of the father of a friend to make a user interview. I will call him Arnold for the sake of anonymity. Before the user interview we made some small talk. Arnold told me a little about how he started out working with technology back in the day.

Arnold asked me what I wanted to talk to him about. I said #lillygram. Then I put a #lillygram with colorful pictures of a smiling baby holding a a baby shovel on the glass table. Arnold picked it up and said:

“If these were photos of my granddaughter I would want to be able to answer this #lillygram.”

He contiuned speaking very rapidly. «I either want to:»

  • say, «Thank you»,
  • send back a picture of my own,
  • tell a story about something fun I have done,
  • or tell a story about the great experience of looking at the #lillygram photos.

Arnold went on to tell me how he and his wife got out of the house a lot doing stuff and taking photos of it. He could send those photos back to his grandchildren. I was writing furiously, almost unreadable words.

User Interview, Who-is-your-grand-daddy-2

Lessons Learned From This User Interview

  • Next User Interview I will bring Benedicte´s iZettle credit card reader and try to close the sale.
  • The baby boomer generation want to get photos of their grand kids. Maybe they are the most important customer group? Not the parents of the children as we now believe

Question:

  • What technology do YOU prefered when «talking» with YOUR parents?

Answer the question or read the 14 comments on my blog where this User Interview was originally posted.

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