I love Slack! The only problem I have with Slack is that conversations get lost in translation. We have real conversations in Slack, but they’re mixed with the random conversations that occur concurrently, and people are constantly coming in and out of the channels. We’ve found that for some people, especially upper management, Slack can get too chatty to hold people accountable. Our solution to making sure people are not missing important conversations is to say that anything that is urgent or high priority must be emailed. And general chatting stays in Slack.
The only formal marketing for now has been through Facebook Ads. We have had a high success rate, and they’re pretty cheap. The students want to market themselves, and we rely on them to be our marketing army.
We are using Stripe primarily because it is extremely developer-friendly. It allows us to iterate our service quickly because the integrations are so simple to implement. We also appreciate that it absolves us from having to manage the complexities of PCI compliance.
We recently switched to One Drive because we have a great partnership with Microsoft and are using the O365 suite of tools. It’s decent, and close to being just like Google Drive, which is how we like to use it. However, the way that Microsoft separates OneDrive for personal use and OneDrive for Work is extremely clunky and the user experience is not at all seamless. While the web interface looks pretty good, we’ve had issues uploading large files and have had to fall back to “OneDrive Classic” (which is really just SharePoint underneath the covers), to reliably upload large files.
We generate and track all of our invoices in Wave. It’s free, and has been great so far. It organizes all of our profit and loss information, as well as all of our inventory, which is extremely important. We have lots of hardware that costs thousands of dollars, and we’re shipping it all over the world. We’ve been tracking all of that in Wave, and while we do need a better inventory tracking system eventually, for now, Wave has done a good job.
I’ve been using PayPal for out of country payments, but it’s getting expensive.
Square Cash is awesome! You can easily transfer any amount of money to anyone in the world. I’m hesitant to keep using it long-term because I’m not sure how it will integrate with other accounting services, but it has made transferring money so easy for me.
We use Toptal, and those people are rock stars. They operate all over the world, and are very strict. They interviewed us and checked our code before sending anyone to us. And during the first week with any new developer, if you don’t like them, you don’t pay for that week. Their process is extremely strict, and the outcome has been outstanding.
Wowza is a streaming site we use. What we’re doing is pretty new so there’s no price tag on things. When we request pricing on a new feature, they just tell us to call them so they can understand exactly what we need, so they can build it, and price it, for us.
DigitalOcean is great for hosting.
We use Microsoft Azure streaming services, and they’re wonderful! They have the ability to scale quickly, and support a huge capacity of streamers. They’re great to work with, and have awesome customer service. They even call and check in on us.
We use Confluence to document all of our big picture ideas. When we hire new people, they can read the company vision statement on Confluence and really familiarize themselves with what we’re building, timelines, etc. And we use it for keeping all of our meticulous board meeting notes. When we go for venture capital, we know this will be extremely important. It’s also a space where we discuss future technology, and any time we find sites with similarities to ours, we document it in there. We were sending a lot of this information to each other in Slack previously, but it was getting lost.
LastPass is a big one for us. We generate unique passwords all the time. And if anyone gets fired or leaves the company, we can quickly and easily generate all new passwords.
We use all of the Microsoft Office products, including Microsoft O365 / Outlook for email, because we use Azure for streaming services, and the partnership has been amazing. We wanted to use Google initially, but we’re already building great relationships with Microsoft, and it’s all worked out well.
We used Livestream for streaming in the past, but it had longer latency and didn’t have multidirectional streaming.
Trello is used by everyone on our team that is not a developer. It’s good to have a record of everything for every week, but it can get frustrating to use since some people are more diligent than others. My biggest frustration with Trello is that I have certain jobs that are ongoing, and I want to keep them in Trello as a reminder, but it ends up just looking like clutter. I wish they had a solution for ongoing and recurring tasks.
The developers use Visual Studio Online. They use it for assigning tasks, following user stories, and having a back log of all development. I really like VSO because it allows us to document everything the developers are doing, which is great, because we are moving very fast. While it’s not a functionality that comes out of the box, we’ve configured VSO to allow all of our engineers to track their hours in the tool. This has been extremely helpful, especially for seeing if someone oversold us on their skills. If it’s taking someone much longer to do something than what they estimated originally, we have a solid record of that, and can proceed with letting that person go.