by Ian Smith of Captricity
This is not about running a startup badly, it’s about not doing the things that are not core to your business. The world has changed a lot lately and just about every aspect of a technology company – and especially a web-based company – can be “moved out” to a web-based application provider at a lower cost than doing it yourself.
I came on board on Captricity at the beginning of September and I got to learn about a lot of these first hand. I decided that making a list of these might help other people not run their own company.
Captricity isn’t endorsing these products in any way, nor am I. These are just examples of various easily-available products that now can take away some bit of the pain that you used to feel when running a businesses or trying to improve an existing product; all of these companies have competitors that offer different features, pricing, etc. Your mileage may vary.
P.S. Three types of external providers are not mentioned because they are well known: open-source software stacks, domain name (DNS) providers, and marketing/social networking sites.
Real-time Communication (internal and external)
Hipchat – Intra-company chat with history (+mobile)
Skype – Inter-company chat and call
Free Conference Call – What else? Conference calling (we use this every day for ur 0945 meeting)
Join.me – Screen sharing and conference calling
Collaborative working and file sharing
Google Apps – Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Word Processing, Spreadsheet, intra-company document sharing (Captricity doesn’t use the presentation tool although it’s available)
Dropbox – Inter-company file sharing
Expensify – Expense processing (+mobile)
Algentis – HR (payroll, benefits, taxes, etc)
Quickbooks Online – Accounting
Recurly – Recurring billing from within our application
Workflow & Project Management
Trello – Planning for business development, design, some strategy work
Pivotal Tracker – Engineering planning, tracking, task assignments (+mobile)
Pager Duty – Rotating list of people “on duty: to get alerts on software failures, escalation policies
Rescue Time – Recording time spent on various activities (not used by Captricity for billing, just recording)
Analytics, Reporting and Research
Google Analytics – General reporting on web site usage, traffic, origin, etc
Scout – Monitoring of server clusters’ health (load usage, memory usage, etc)
Mixpanel – Reporting on fine-grain, “in-app” events such as “user clicked on this button”
Pingdom – External monitoring of our applications, “Can folks on the Internet see our applications correctly right now?”
Airbrake – Reporting errors/crashed on server cluster (This is Python-specific but there are other tools for other stacks).
Lead Generation and Contact Management
LinkedIn – Leveraging each person in the company’s network
WriteThat.Name – Automatic contact updating and management
Salesforce.com – Sales lead and sales pipeline management
Captricity – We use our own service to capture leads off paper sign-up forms set out at conferences
Marketing and Communications
Mailchimp – Mailing list management, especially for externally-visible lists
WordPress – Corporate website, blogging
Zendesk – User-facing discussions and first-level support about features of (and bugs in) our software
Unbounce – A/B testing of landing pages
Twitter – Share new blogposts and exciting news quickly, search who else is talking about us and respond to interested users.
Facebook – Create a page to share news and new features and engage with users
Mobile Application Management
Test Flight – Managing deployments and beta testers of iPhone apps in development
Hockeyapp – For collecting crash reports from mobile devices and distributing apps for some platforms
Amazon EC2 – Computing, server management, hosting
Amazon S3 – Long term, reliable storage
Github – Source code control, code change discussion (+mobile)
Paper Trail – Log acquisition, merging from multiple servers, and analysis
Ian Smith is Chief of Technical Staff at Captricity.