When Privacy & PageSpeed Go Hand-in-Hand: Why NMT Only Loads One External Script

When you have a fresh start, you can rethink everything. With Notify My Team, I was excited to be able to make decisions that aligned with our vision of the future of the web. One big decision along those lines was to only load a single external script, the privacy-focused analytics platform Matomo. When I updated this blog a few years ago, I tried out the self-hosted version of Matomo and found it to be a perfectly acceptable Google Analytics alternative. When it came to… Continue reading

3/10/21

How Twitter, WordPress, and Google Contacts Influenced Notify My Team’s UI

Projects always sound simpler and more straight forward than they really are when you’re in the planning phase. When we came up with the idea for Notify My Team, the programming sounded so simple to me. Sign up, add employees, post a notification via SMS or email. How hard could it be? One of the most unexpectedly difficult aspects was getting the key user interfaces right (or, at least right enough for a version 1.0). Especially when you want the site to be fully functional… Continue reading

3/1/21

Notify My Team is Live!

Today we finally launched Notify My Team! I say “finally” because after my last post about the finishing touches we were only a few weeks away from being ready. Just as I was about to pull the trigger at the end of January, our daycare shut down because of a COVID scare and I was back doing childcare for 50% of my work day. I caught up last week with everything else that had piled up in the interim, so this morning I was able… Continue reading

2/22/21

Finishing Touches

I was recently listening to a Rework Podcast episode about the launching of the HEY.com email service for business customers, called HEY For Work, which launched several months after the individual service. CEO Jason Fried said something that I immediately related to (bolding is mine): Part of it, too, is that HEY for Work was essentially done for a while. But there’s a difference between done for you and done for others. And this is the same thing that was true for Basecamp when we… Continue reading

1/8/21

We Used Notify My Team for Our Snow Day Today!

There’s a big storm in the Northeast that dropped at least a foot of snow on us here in Albany. Early this morning we decided to close. Mike sent out the notification to everyone using Notify My Team. Here’s what the stats page looked like a few minutes later: There are also individual stats below. If needed, we can reach out to anyone who hasn’t viewed the message. Eventually I plan to add an auto-reminder feature so that you can set it up to automatically… Continue reading

12/17/20

Why I’ve Changed My Mind About CSS Frameworks (but Not Javascript)

Last year, when I was brushing up on some of my web development skills, I wrote: But, a lot has changed with both CSS and Javascript that I missed out on. CSS flexbox and grid are now vastly improved layout techniques. New versions of Javascript starting with ES6 were huge leaps forward. And most importantly, browser support isn’t such a big challenge anymore. Consolidation in the browser market along with auto-updating browsers and more advanced mobile browsers have led to more or less every browser… Continue reading

11/30/20

Turning a Corner

About 10 days ago seemed to be a low-point in the development and launch of Notify My Team. I was stuck in subscription testing hell, essentially working through the various lifecycles of a subscription using a bunch of fake companies and our test Stripe credentials. If you want to get a feel for what I’m talking about, check out Stripe’s subscription lifecycle page. Subscriptions are endlessly complex compared to collecting a single payment for an e-commerce store. I had 20 test companies at various stages… Continue reading

11/13/20

The Point of No Return

At some point every project becomes a business. For us, LockerPulse in 2010 was the last time this happened. In the interim we’ve sold LockerPulse, shut down SportsLizard, and Detailed Image has grown a ton. We’ve came close a few times – once with a physical product in the detailing industry, and once with a software project I was working on – but for various reasons those didn’t pan out. So here I am, piecing together all of the components that you need to start… Continue reading

11/2/20

Notify My Team Started as a “Pandemic Project”

In my last post announcing Notify My Team I mentioned that this was something we had previously considered building when we started using our Twitter-based notification system back in 2018. Well, what changed that made us decide to tackle this project now? In short, the COVID-19 pandemic. In early March, as it was becoming obvious that shut downs were imminent, I had a discussion with a friend who is the head of HR at a staffing firm about emergency closures. She was concerned about the… Continue reading

10/20/20

Say Hello to Notify My Team – Our First New Venture in a Decade!

When you build a product or service, you make the call on hundreds of tiny decisions each day. If you’re solving someone else’s problem, you’re constantly stabbing in the dark. When you solve your own problem, the light comes on. You know exactly what the right answer is. That quote is from Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. It’s a favorite of mine because of how true it is. I’m excited to announce that we’re launching a new business that very much solves… Continue reading

10/9/20