Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

I built Jollyturns (https://jollyturns.com), a ski and snowboarding oriented business. I currently have a fairly extensive web site, and two mobile apps, on iOS and Android. I started with the iOS mobile app, I wanted something to show me on a ski resort's map where my friends are, and keep track of my skiing statistics.

I tried finding a partner to work with, but that's pretty much impossible in Silicon Valley where I live. Most good engineers want to work for one of the glamorous companies in the Valley. Oh well...

I've been working on Jollyturns for the past 5 years. It's been a lot of work, but I do it at my own pace since I still want to enjoy myself. The experience is unique. I write all the software myself, and hired few people to help map the ski resorts. I built a bunch of custom tools for the mapping work, so people can map the location of lifts, ski runs, restaurants inside a ski resort. I ended up having mapped all the ski resorts in the world, about 2700 of them.

Being by yourself, you need to be prepared to be a full-stack engineer. I built my own Supermicro servers, and host them in a colocation facility. I found that if you're in it for a long time it's cheaper this way. I run Kubernetes for cluster management, Postgres with PostGIS for database, Redis for caching, nginx for web proxy. Server side is written in a mixture of Python and C++. Web frontend is AngularJS (JavaScript). For iOS I write C, C++ and Objective-C. On Android I use Java.

Writing the code is the easy part. I found marketing to be the hardest. You need to find a way to make the world know what you built, and that's hard!

"Writing the code is the easy part. I found marketing to be the hardest" - This part is the hardest, absolute hardest :-/

It also eats time like crazy and I find switching between development and marketing mindsets frustrating.

Glad to hear this exists. Ive had a few whims to build something similar myself over the years but cellular data was missing or spotty in most resorts so i tabled the idea. How do you get around this problem? Or perhaps coverage at resorts is much better than it was now.

Depending on where you are, cell phone coverage could be between great to totally nonexistent. The mobile apps are built to be able to handle intermittent cell phone coverage. You can see yourself on a ski resort's map at all times, as well as see your own statistics. When you get in a cell phone coverage area the app sends the latest information to my servers, and receives information about your friends. You might get some stale information, but that's still better than nothing. And of course, if you're in a ski resort with great cell phone coverage, your friends location is fresh most of the time.

Very cool. I'll be trying this out this season. Thanks for building it :)

Marketing: interesting. I'm a skier, and I've found most resort workers to be absolutely awesome (chill).

Have you tried to reach out to any of your local resorts with a marketing plan? I'm sure they'd love some integration into your app for trade: you promote them, they promote you.

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact