We’re using our own custom tool, and it’s a combination of MailTrack.io and custom backend coded by us. It lets us know if people have read the emails, and it stores the meta-information like sender, receiver, date of all conversations. It serves as a facility for the tutors to check their approval status, for example. We definitely will need to move to a more established tool such as Zendesk or Salesforce.
We are running a self-hosted version on Amazon Cloud to save on hosting prices. We chose WordPress because the co-founder, who is in charge of content, was most familiar with WordPress. They have an ecosystem for blogging and their SEO is great. Our blog has been up for 7 weeks and it is already listed on Google search.
We started with MailChimp, then switched to SendGrid The main reason we switched to SendGrid is the API, and their trial format, which gives startups 12,000 emails to test the service.
We use Dropbox to share files externally with the tutors. We like Dropbox because you can customize folders. We use it for tutors to upload, convert and then email videos. We can readily request video files and Dropbox sends alerts and notifications. Dropbox is working on integration so that files can go to a specific host. We want to automate the video, convert it through vimeo, then make it live on the website.
Internally, we use Google Drive.
We used LinkedIn to recruit tutors, but we are not using it anymore. The downside is, LinkedIn never closes the in-mail we send and the people who use LinkedIn take a long time to get back to you. If someone isn’t your connection, the in-mail waits in their inbox. We tested messaging each other and it works because of our second connections to each other, but we assume tutors don’t get the notification if there isn’t at least a third degree connection. Also, LinkedIn doesn’t have a way to filter out the people who want to be contacted.
We mainly use Google Hangouts for video chat.
We mainly use Slack and Google Hangouts for video chat. Slack has great integrations. We have it integrated with GitHub. Integration with GitHub is simple and it tells you which project, what type of alerts, and if somebody is pushing anything. We have a commit log within Slack, so even when we do remote work, we just push notifications in Slack. The main downside is that we have other organization groups and I would like if there was one single login instead of separate ones for each group. It’s annoying to login every time for the different groups.
The most important tool we use is Amazon Web Services. Cloud computing was the first important tech decision we took. We are tech oriented first, and then educational. Having a cloud with customization options and reliability was very important to us.
We had Basecamp but now we’re using Pivotal. It has better features and it’s easier to use. Everything is software oriented. Once we have projects that are not software oriented, we will move away from it. Pivotal doesn’t have visualization for task prerequisites and it can’t help plan parallel tasks.