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

Regaining Control of Technology-Related “Emergencies”

About two months ago I reached a breaking point. Since the pandemic had begun, the frequency of technology-related problems that required my immediate attention had increased from the “occasional issue” to a near-daily occurrence. Being on call, more or less, for the past 12 years (since we migrated to Liquid Web) was only sustainable because I had set up good notification systems and because the issues were rare. I’d get a wave related to a particular problem, and then have several months with nothing. This… Continue reading

10/1/20

The Most Productive Change I’ve Made to My Schedule in Years

When the pandemic and subsequent lockdown began, finding long stretches of uninterrupted time for programming was the biggest challenge I faced in trying to schedule my day around having a 3-year old at home and both of us parents needing to also work from home. Other tasks, such as answering emails, taking phone calls, reviewing reports, and analyzing data, are possible to get done in those random pockets of time that pop up throughout the day when my daughter just happens to be entertaining herself…. Continue reading

9/18/20