Mixpanel is mostly good. It’s easy to integrate; they give you lots of charts and graphs, and a lot of ability to look at different time ranges and see things rolled up by day, month, week, etc. But I do have a few complaints. There have been a couple of times where we have logged metrics the wrong way or had a bug. When you figure out that something is set up wrong in Mixpanel, it’s hard to go back and correct things. For example, if you need to do a backfill once you figure out what you did wrong, you can’t delete the wrong information! You can add metrics and backdate them, but you can’t edit or delete things. We realized once that we were logging sign up metrics wrong, and the only way to fix the issue was to re-log the metrics all the way back to the beginning, and then stop using the old event name. There was no way to just edit what we had done incorrectly. When we get a bit bigger, we will probably move metrics in-house. But we’re a technical team, so doing this in-house is not hard for us, but I do realize that it could be hard for other non-technical teams.
We used to use HipChat, and we switched to Slack for no other reason than because everyone was talking about it, so we wanted to try it. We didn’t immediately see how it was much better than HipChat, but it works nicely, and it does look better than HipChat. The emoji reactions is a brilliant little feature, and on the Mac client, there are subtle things that set it apart, like being able to switch between teams easily. Slack also gives you the ability to have single-channel guests, which is nice. We created a channel for a design project and invited one of our angel investors to the channel to get advice on design, and we were able to add him to the channel without having to add him as a user on our account. In the beginning, we didn’t feel like we needed lots of channels, so we just used the #general and #random channels that they start you off with. But I spoke with a friend who works at Slack and he said they use product-specific channels. We realized that channels can be lightweight and short-lived. When we just had one #general channel, it was really hard to have multiple conversations at once, since there are no threaded conversations. But we learned that if you open a separate channel for a project or feature, you can post the spec in there, discuss it, and any questions can go in that specific channel. This has helped us keeps things organized, and once we started doing that, it helped our communications.
We have a paid tier, and we use Stripe for that. For full disclosure, one of the founders of Stripe is one of our angel investors, but we chose Stripe because it was the best option, and has been good. It’s really easy to integrate with Stripe, and they have lots of nice options, like recurring plans and subscriptions. They also have a decent dashboard that allows you to see everything like customers, payments, and invoices. One thing that hasn’t worked well is when a customer add or removes a user from their plan. We tell Stripe to update the subscription “quantity”, or number of users, but the invoices generated by Stripe when you do this can be confusing. If you have 3 people and add 1, you’ll get line items on your invoice that say “Unused time on 3x credit” and “Remaining time on 4x credit”. The dashboard can also be a bit clinical. There are lots of add-ons and 3rd party apps that sit on top, like Baremetrics, that can provide helpful metrics, but it would be nice if that were built in. I’m confident we can get what we need from 3rd parties, if not Stripe itself, though. I have never had a need to go to their customer service, which is a plus, but on the rare times when I’ve seen people complain publicly, Stripe always gives a good response, so I expect their customer support to be good.
Intercom is great! We use them mainly for the in-app chat feature. It makes it really easy for our users to contact us, and equally simple for us to respond. I installed the iPhone app and set up notifications, so I can respond to users instantly.
MailChimp works pretty well; their templates are nice, and they have the overall features we need. But recently, we had a horrible customer support experience with them. They had set up some new filter to block spammers, and for whatever reason, the filter was blocking us because of recycled IP addresses. The error messages from the API were confusing, and when we opened a support ticket with them, they said there was nothing they could do about it, and said we had to switch IP addresses (which we couldn’t easily do, since we’re on Heroku). They took no responsibility, and just kept telling us it was our problem. We only started experiencing the issues when they enabled the filters 2-3 weeks prior, and they wouldn’t just turn off the filters, even though that was clearly causing the problem. Another downside of using them is that it gets tricky to do more complex things, and you want to set something up to match filters like, “if anyone’s been on the waitlist longer than a week, send them an invite. But if they’ve been waiting longer than 2 days, but not more than a week, send them something else.” We ended up doing the complex automations in Intercom instead. Overall, though, MailChimp is good.
Intercom is great. We started using them for the in-app chat support feature, which makes it super easy for our users to message us with any comment, question, problem, or for any other type of support. It’s easy for them to reach out to us, and easy for us to respond. But we also use them for emails. What’s good is they know about your users, so it’s really easy to trigger emails based on certain conditions. So we can set up an automated email to go up that matches filters like, “3 days after sign up, send a user our ‘How’s it going?’ email”. And we can also set up filters for something like, “If they haven’t been back in 2 weeks, send them a different email.” Intercom makes it super easy to trigger on certain conditions, because they know about your users.
The most common case of using Google Drive is when I write a document that needs to be shared with external people. For example, writing a strategy document in Google Drive makes it very easy to get comments back from investors. We’ve also use Google Drive to share designs.
I keep company files and legal documents in Dropbox. We use it to store files, not necessarily to share them.
For internal specs, we use GitHub. We have a repository of product specs.
We use Moss Adams to do our taxes on an annual basis.
We use QuickBooks Online, and it’s fine. For a product that you associate with a last-generation company, it’s actually pretty nice. It feels like a modern web app, something you’d like to use. I’ve had a couple of issues with how it syncs to our bank account, where it has trouble recognizing a transfer from checking to savings. It should recognize that, but it doesn’t. And the last time we did our taxes, it was moderately annoying to get the reports we needed. But for most part, we’re happy with it, and it’s not expensive, which is a huge plus. I’ve also heard from accountants that they prefer it, so we’re sticking with them.
We use a service called Algentis for all of our HR and payroll needs. I used them at my last startup and we liked them, so we used them again. They handle everything, and everything goes really smoothly with them. When I ask them a question, they are happy to answer it, rather than sending me to read a long help document on their site. And, if I have a question about a form, they’ll usually just say I can send the form to them, and they take care of it for me. They really take care of everything for me, and there’s nothing I have to do. I recommend them.
We’re not recruiting now, but we hire mostly from referrals. For full disclosure, one of our investors is from AngelList, but it really has been the best source for finding talent.
We hired someone from a Hacker News post. They have a monthly “Who is hiring?” and “Who wants to be hired?” feature, and we hired someone through that.
We use Fieldbook as our applicant tracking system. We are able to track candidates, who has reached out to them, what stage they’re at, and who on our team is the main contact for them.
Userbrain recruits people, and you put in a task and they have a certain number of people do that task. You can have up to 3 people a week do the task, if you pay for the top tier. Then, once a week, you get videos of people trying your app. It’s pretty bare bones, but their customer support is great. Anytime I’ve had an issue, they’ve been great. The biggest downside using them is that you can’t filter by demographic, like “only college grads”, or “only people with spreadsheet experience”, so you just get random people. The people they find might not line up with your target audience, but it is still helpful to see how people use your app. We’ve put them on pause for now, but we will go back to use them when we start doing more testing.
We use Fieldbook for user testing. It’s very useful for keeping a list of who wanted to try our product, as well as who we’re scheduling demos with. We’ve also used it for tracking investor and fundraising conversations. You can easily keep a list of investors, who you’ve contacted, who you have met with, etc.
We use our own tool, Fieldbook! Project management is the biggest use case for dogfooding our own product. Fieldbook is a cross between a spreadsheet and a database, and a huge advantage is that it’s really easy to change your mind, add and remove columns, etc. You can have nice grouped views, which are a bit like a cross between Trello and a spreadsheet. But unlike Trello, you can easily switch what you’re grouping on. And unlike a spreadsheet, you can add a paragraph of detail easily. We have one workbook to track development tasks, another for backlog prioritization, and another for high-level roadmap planning.