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Instant Company (nat.org)
255 points by jstedfast on June 16, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 34 comments

I think these 'what products and services does your startup use' type articles are more interesting than the usesthis series about what tools developers use.

Somebody should setup a blog where they interview a startup founder each week and just ask them to list services they use along with a mini single-paragraph review of each.

Edit: after thinking about it, I might just do this as a weekend project. A quick search and I couldn't find anything similar, the closest I remember is the Ajaxian blog startup interviews which they stopped doing. If you would like your startup featured email me, ill be reaching out to a few people so if there is interest I will likely get it going

These pop up quite often and personally I find them quite boring.

A lot of it is personal choice, e.g. IRC & campfire being 'laggy', for me Google apps is meh apart from mail/calendar, you better pony up for MS office if you're dealing with a lot of other businesses, themeforest I find extremely hard to find a decent looking, well written html template, most of them are div crazy, extremely heavy CSS/js payloads or use cufon, kerrschpitt.

And assistly looks like a total rip off at $69 p/m per user (to me anyway).

I mean swipe might make an interesting submission in itself, but the homepage is light on details, looks like it's in a closed beta, which probably means US only, no good for me.

Anyway tl;dr is that the tools your business uses are very personal choices of services many of us already know about, I find them dull.

What's more interesting is what's missing, no accounting system, no bug tracking, no server uptime monitor, no analytics, no A/B testing.

You're right; Swipe is in closed beta at the moment. An email never hurts though

I'd be really interested in this if you do it! I was thinking about doing this myself for security/infrastructure questions (blog + video interviews) as a research and sales tool (I'm building a security product company), but I guess business infrastructure questions might be popular too.

Are you a bay area person?

Appsumo does it already with their tools of the trade series - http://blog.appsumo.com/

Great idead! Call it usesthese.com.

Great list, but to me the last two items aren't like the others. Everything about starting tech companies has gotten easier and cheaper, but accountants and lawyers haven't really changed all that much.

He didn't specify exactly how much they are paying for those two, but it still sounds like it will be a fairly beefy hourly rate or a retainer + equity. I think for a boostrapped company these are still your two really big overhang costs where people end up weighing going without or dyi versus committing to legal or accounting as your biggest up front operating expense.

Of the two, I'd say accounting has probably changed the most, there are plenty of workable software solutions for keeping books that aren't too bad and it seems like there are plenty of people trying to build startups around that particular problem. Can't say the same on the legal item though.

Great list! Using a few of those myself

If i can be cheeky I'd love an intro to the guys at Stripe, think it was a fair few months ago I registered my email for their Beta and would love to implement it for my startup.

Hey (Saikat from Stripe) -- not cheeky at all, but certainly flattering.

Sorry we've been kind of quiet (we do read Hacker News, though). We're just working hard to implement the feedback we've been getting from our existing users, and we want to make sure our product scales well and gets better as new people use it.

Here's a question: any chance you would be interested in having us watch you integrate Stripe? We've been doing this lately to try to make sure our first-run experience is really good. Send me an e-mail (saikat@stripe.com) either way.

Stripe was something on the article I hadn't heard of before. It just seems so logical for cardholder information to go directly from the customer to the payment processor using javascript that I wonder why it hasn't been done before and what you're doing differently. Can you explain?

Well, hosted payment is not a new thing at all - so you iframe or link to a page you don't host which the customer uses - thus ensuring that card details don't hit your servers and don't give you a PCI surface.

This is a fairly logical extension, I would guess that the reason it hasn't caught on more is because a JS requirement has typically been a red flag in e-commerce - 3% of users not being able to pay you once they got to that point of a funnel could be seen as disaster. Interesting, because we're looking at mandating JS in our new developments (background: company I work for does a lot of high end e-commerce - we're specialists).

In theory it's a good idea (that side of it at least) but I don't know how security perception and customer acceptance rates will go.

Oh, of course. I completely forgot that there are some crazy people out there who browse without javascript. I was just jumping at the idea of reducing PCI compliance issues - I've had to deal with them and it's a huge project.

I just wanted to take a moment to say that Stripe has been a joy to use thus far. I haven't switched billing live yet but integration has been smooth and your documentation has answered answered all of my questions.

I'm looking forward to flipping the switch in the next week or two (just gotta get the bank account paperwork squared away) and seeing how things go.

Hey Saikat,

Absolutely, could do it over some screen sharing or something, email on the way.

sigh I wish I had anything good to say to accompany this, but I came here to be as cheeky. If it's as good as I hear, then I could use it ... yesterday. Implementing payment systems as we speak!

hahah...About 23 hours to late for me too, would have loved to known about stripe yesterday before I started fighting with paypal and IPN (thanks relix)

i'd also be inrerested in more information on Stripe

now someone needs to make something to use the APIs of all these sites to be able to control users across all of them from a single location.

bringing on new employees or terminating existing ones and having to do it across half a dozen different sites sounds kind of tedious and error-prone.

Great point. I noticed the same thing. First you get your Google Apps account, and then the passwords for the other accounts are mailed to there, then two weeks later you find that one of the systems has been replaced in favour of another one.

Indeed tedious and error-prone.

And that's just from the employee's point of view, the administrator having to create all these different accounts is probably even less happy about it.

eFAX !?!?? eFAX is evil when you try to close your service - you have to go through their horrid 'chat' system and even then I had to cancel my credit card to get them to stop charging.

And no... it's not just me: http://daviddahl.blogspot.com/2006/05/efax-sucks.html

Launched http://phaxio.com into beta a couple of weeks ago...shoot me an email if you'd like an invite (email in profile)

Any way to upload or email a PDF?

Absolutely! We have an API that allows you to POST files to fax.

Agree, I had to call my bank and make them label eFax' transactions as fraud to make it stop. Please don't recommend eFax!

I've been pretty satisfied ringcentral. 800 number for voice and fax.

For a web-based company, I would add Amazon Web Services(AWS) at the top of the list.

AWS is relatively expensive but if you are a startup with a limited amount of capital and need to scale quickly, it allows you to utilize a corporate grade web/computing/server/database infrastructure without having to build one yourself.

Interesting list, I'd be interested to see what other "stacks" companies are running on.

We don't list out all the business services, though we should add them now, but we do have our technology and services stack for production:


It's an interesting contrast how cheap the technical tools are compared to the financial and legal skills retained. I'm not sure if Ropes & Gray does something special for early stage companies, but they are a top and expensive firm.

What advantage do these group chat apps have over something like Skype?

No spammers, for one. Skype’s iOS app is absolutely terrible for chat, too; HipChat’s is passable, and of course with IRC you will have a few options.

Amazing list. I am wondering how do you handle signatures

Their committment to free/open source software is astounding! </sarcasm>

I didn't really find the article that interesting, however looking at this http://xamarin.com/ company I'm extremely intrigued by the product.

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