Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Ask HN: What are your go-to blogs and books on building business applications?
204 points by PirxThePilot on Aug 6, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 20 comments

Probably not the reply you are expecting, but as someone who built a b2b SaaS and failed on the bizdev side, I'd suggest you to build the business before building the application. In other words, get your first clients before coding anything. It will save you time and money.

And to answer your question: https://www.enterpriseready.io

Basically, b2b app = classic app + deep users management with Gmail SSO and/or CSV import and/or windows UAC integration (depends a lot of your target) + deep roles/permissions management + integrations with existing apps/saas + reports and alerting + automatic billing with Stripe or whatever.

Note that you can do most of those manually at the beginning. Send the reports and the bills by email, add the new companies/users manually…

Are there API services that you can integrate with to accelerate the path to having all of the below? For example: Auth0 takes care of SSO.

Team Management Deployment Options Support/SLA Security Role-based Access Control Single Sign-On Integrations Reporting Audit Logging Product Assortment Change Management

This is great advice. I run a B2B SaaS and we were lucky enough to run bizdev and product dev paths in parallel, so we weren't stuck with the wrong product and no customers, instead, we had the customers to iterate on the wrong product to get to a better fit.

Curious, as someone who is in the early stages of planning a B2B SaaS company -- can you talk any more to that? How do you get the clients without a product to show them?

At Gingr (a B2B SaaS), we approached potential customers before writing a line of code. The conversation focused on their pain and how software can alleviate it. After talking about them, we asked if they’d be willing to beta test what we built as a result of our conversations. About 80% said yes. We beta tested and iterated for several months without asking for money. Once everyone loved the product we asked them to pay- everyone was happy to. After that we hired salespeople and opened up to the world.

Had almost the same experience. Someone came to us asking if we could build an app, but wasn’t willing to pay full price. We decided to do it for a minimal fee, but under the condition that they’d keep paying a monthly fee per user, and now here we are with a b2b SaaS product and a few more paying customers (it’s been passive income next to my day job for the last few years, revenue allows us to buy new laptops every year, not new cars :)

On doing things manually: i send invoices once per year by hand (few hours of work), do accounting in ledger for 1h once a quarter, and handle uncommon requests directly in the DB (rails console is amazing for that, this happens about once a month), but have automated password resets as we were getting too many emails on those.

I've found this on HN, super useful indeed.

Technical concepts for writing code:


Clean Code (Robert Cecil Martin)

The Art of Unit Testing (Roy Osherove)

Head First Design Patterns (Elisabeth Freeman, Kathy Sierra)

Martin Fowler's blog: https://martinfowler.com/


How to gather requirements and write business-readable code:


Domain-driven design (Eric J. Evans)

Implementing Domain-Driven Design (Vaughn Vernon)

Patterns, Principles, and Practices of Domain-Driven Design (Scott Millett)


Remaining agile and managing your work according to your clients' needs:


The art of doing twice the work in half the time (Jeff Sutherland)

The Mythical Man Month (Fred Brooks)

Implementing Domain-Driven Design by Vernon is fantastic. Extremely practical application of the Evans book, which gets pretty abstract in places. It's great for people who actually want to see where the rubber meets the road.

I don't know if you are asking for how to actually develop the applications or how to build the business that includes an application but my go to for startup advice is Steve Blank (https://steveblank.com/). His stuff is easy to understand and helps me work through some of the difficult problems of creating a company from scratch.

- how to start a startup podcast(Altman and co)

- The lean startup

- the twenty two immutable laws of marketing.

- getting to yes

After a couple of books though I would say it really comes down to just digging in and fighting it out. It is really easy to lose yourself in the world of business self help literature.

Meta-answer, but indiehackers has a great podcast series with smaller-scale, bootstrapped businesses.

The takeaways reflect much of the comments here. #1 is probably sell before you build. Various refinements are:

- Do consulting, and build a product once you see a pattern.

- Do the service manually, and automate away the biggest bottleneck, one at a time.

- Do a landing page with signups, do content marketing while building the stuff, so you have audience by the time you launch.

- Do get on phone with prospective customers, don't just mail.

It is very very hard not to violate these, since of course our product is the best.

Also, it's easy to spend more time reading about than actually doing.

Although it isn't a blog in the traditional sense - so forgive me if this doesn't hit your brief - the Software Engineering Daily Podcast (https://softwareengineeringdaily.com/category/podcast/) is a fantastic resource that offers an immense amount of information for a lot of different people, including those setting out to build business applications.

Each episode is accompanied by super detailed show-notes that summarize the episode nicely, so you can see if the episode has what you think you may be looking for.

Cheers and good luck.

https://medium.com/@fairpixelsco has been very useful in gaining some insights in the design of business to business UX and UI.

https://startupsfortherestofus.com is a no brainer as well. Some of those podcasts are gems.

It might help if you could provide a bit more context. Is there an example project you're working on? Is there a particular sector / type of business you're interested in learning more about? Are you interested in the "process" of business (finance/strategy/etc.)?

Mostly engineering and product management

If you're building SaaS, I recommend the following for largely non-technical content:

1. SaaStr.com (blog) 2. Behind the Cloud (book) 3. Rework (book)

- The goal

- Running lean

Business Intelligence Roadmap by Moss and Atre

At MyDataOrganizer we provide Low-Code platform to build business applications as per your workflow requirements. Our blog at http://blog.MyDataOrganizer.com has useful info. on building business applications.

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