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 in the process on accelerated subscriptions (the monthly plan billed out daily, the yearly plan every 3 days). An example would be: what happens if someone subscribes, upgrades to a higher tier during their trial period, makes a payment, switches credit cards, downgrades, cancels, and then decided to un-cancel prior to their period ending. Does everything work? Is the user experience good?

This is really important. Nothing can turn off a customer more than a bad subscription experience. If someone wants to upgrade/downgrade, cancel, change their payment method, etc, it’s critical that it works well and that it works with as little friction as possible. Especially for a B2B tool. And if scenarios like that seem far fetched, they’re not. I recall seeing everything I tested and more when the SportsLizard Price Guide was at its peak. I’m hoping to head off a lot of customer service and angry customers by building a much better experience this time around.

It’s also some of the more stressful testing I’ve done. Inevitably, each day for about a week I’d find a bug that I’d chase down for a few hours and couldn’t completely be sure I’d fixed until I set up the same scenario again and waited until the next day for it to bill. I’d be behind for the rest of the day. The difference between now and a decade ago when we launched LockerPulse (and more new things in general) is that I could make up the time at night or on the weekends. Now, with a family and the rest of the business requiring my attention, that’s just not possible.

The good news is that by early this week I had seemingly squashed most of the serious bugs. And yesterday we rolled out the service internally to our team, which felt like “launch day 1.0” because this was a product that we built first and foremost for ourselves. When our first snow storm hits, we’ll be ready!

There’s still a lot of work left to launch to the public, but this week felt like the project turned a corner. The ups and downs reminded me of a drawing I created a decade ago leading up to the launch of LockerPulse called The Web App Launch Emotional Rollercoaster. As true today as it was back then!

If you’re interested in being an early tester (I’ll give you a free account!), or if you have any other feedback or questions, get in touch on Twitter, LinkedIn, or by emailing me at adam@ this domain.