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Launching a Product

This is the third post in a series I’m writing about a company I’m starting up (or have started, depending on when you’re reading this). You can read other posts in the series here.

My last post - Building a Product - covered the technical details that have formed MailSnail. In this post, I want to talk about how we’ve actually gone about bringing the product to market.

Ship Early. Ship Often. This has become a very popular mantra in the world of software development (also known as “Release Early. Release Often.”). If you Google that phrase, you’ll be presented with enough reading material to keep you busy for the foreseeable future. For somebody like myself - a perfectionist at heart - this is something incredibly difficult to adhere to but it has worked very well for us so far and I’m convinced that it’ll be a cornerstone of the success (hopefully) of MailSnail.

There’s a quote I shared in my last post but I’m going to share it again because it’s even more relevant here:
If you are n…
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MailSnail Series

Starting in August of 2015, I began building a company called MailSnail with my friend and co-founder, Matt Bertino. To follow along with my personal thoughts on the ins and outs of the company, experiences, lessons learned, technical details, etc., please check out the posts below. I’ll continue to add new posts here as I publish them.

Post 1: Starting a Company
Post 2: Building a Product
Post 3: Launching a Product

Building a Product

This is the second post in a series I’m writing about a company I’m starting up (or have started, depending on when you’re reading this). You can read other posts in the series here.
As I’ve talked about here, I’m starting a company called MailSnail. In this post, I want to share the ins and outs of how we’ve built the product (i.e. the actual web application).

The Buzzwords I’ve tried my hardest to make this post as approachable as I possibly can for anybody and everybody. I don’t want this to be something that is only interesting to folks who know what HTTP stands for or can rattle off it’s associated status codes. So for my non-tech readers, please bare with me for this one section and keep on reading.

For my fellow tech-nerds, I figured you might not care so much about the minute implementation details but rather are just more interested in a list of all of the pieces of our tech-stack (because you already know the implications of each in their use). So here’s the quick and dirty …

Starting a Company

I’m starting a company and I’ve been wanting to write about it for months now. But, as it turns out, starting a company is very time-consuming (who knew?!) and most days haven’t left me with enough brain-juice to feel up to the task of writing about it while also building it. But, fortunately, our workload is becoming a little more manageable and I’ve now been able to settle into enough of a rhythm that I finally feel capable of transferring some of the content in my head to the screen.

What I’m really excited about doing is deep-diving some of the biggest things I’ve learned so far, sharing details about how we work, etc. But first, I’ll simply introduce the company.

Laying my cards on the table
First off, starting a company is truly something that I never thought I’d be doing. It’s just something that I never had much interest in. Actually, it was something that not only disinterested me but acutely repelled me. The idea of having the livelihoods of employees depending on me and th…

Out of Control

Human beings are creatures of habit. By default, we seek comfort, order and familiarity. This should come as news to nobody. It’s just our nature — no doubt, an evolutionary tactic whereby order is deemed as a necessary means to survival.
And perhaps order and control truly are necessary to survival. It seems to jive with the idea of governing bodies (when they’re working properly), agricultural practices, peaceful co-existence, and certainly with our physical bodies (again, when they’re working properly). However, on a daily basis, these ideas seem to become more and more diametrically opposed to the principles of surviving businesses and also to surviving careers.
I’m currently reading a book called How Google Works by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg (both Google alums of significant note). The book as a whole is fascinating and extremely informative but one quote in particular caught my attention today because it contrasts sharply with human nature:
“If everything seems under cont…

Faster Horses

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” - Henry Ford

Henry Ford has so many memorable quotes but this one is definitely my favorite. I was reminded of it earlier today by Eric Dodds posing an oft-wondered question - “is the customer always right?”

It’s an important thing to consider for any company, as the answer to this question will greatly influence how products, ideas, marketing strategies, etc, are imagined and developed. How much stock should you put into input from your user base? How much should you trust your own instincts and experience in your respective field? What happens when these two approaches conflict?

To many people, the answer would seem obvious and likely something along the lines of:

Of course the customer is always right! If the customer isn’t happy, then you don’t have a business!

While I would completely agree with the obviousness of needing customers to support a business, I don’t believe that a users happiness is depend…

Review of the New Macbook

I finally got a chance to give the new MacBook a whirl and decided to share my thoughts about it. I very rarely feel compelled to review products or services. Like the average consumer, I typically only review things when they’re so fantastic that I think they’re a real game-changer or, conversely, when they’re so terrible that I think it’s very likely they’ll be a game-ender. Unfortunately, this review will be the latter - let’s begin:

The Big Question Admittedly, I was skeptical about the new MacBook from the get-go. Despite my skepticism, I really do like to give everything a fair chance, so I tried to keep as open of a mind as possible. Rather than focusing on any specific feature of the MacBook and making an uninformed decision about whether or not I would like it, I instead simply pondered the question “who is this designed for?” Unfortunately, after spending some time with it in person, I’m no closer to answering that question.

And that really is the big question - the only on…