Maybe I'm overly cautious, but this feels like this is a feature waiting to be abused.
What I would worry about though, is tracking. If you can see calendar status via a link you received (or even guessed), you can follow that person forever. That’d be fine for public use-cases, like therapists, but I would never share my calendar publicly, even if the details are masked.
A great compromise, imo, is to generate temporary links, that are hard-enough to guess. That let’s you avoid rolling your own permission system, while providing excellent privacy by default.
This is a premium username, get yours for $29/mo
I tried using https://cal.com for a bit but ended up just switching over to https://zcal.co and it has been great so far. All these other scheduling tools end up trying to do too much and always seem to end up a bit clunky and charge absurd amounts for it
There HAS to be a name for this phenomenon.
These are great products. But then they start adding feature over feature that add no or just little value while making the entire experience worse.
What is this? VC money feature creep?
I needed a scheduling solution that let me tweak a bunch of knobs regarding when I was available, for what, how much that cost, how that payment could be processed, my team, different locations, how full to book me, which notifications to send to whom and when, which data I needed to gather for each type of appointment or package of appointments, and, and, and, and before you know it I've given the developer 5 years worth of feature requests, and I'm just one of their customers.
I totally get the point that’s being made, but to be able to have a product which is good enough to sell, we have to be able to cater to the hundreds of features that customers tell us we need.
Everything we build is entirely community and customer demand driven, so effectively all of these features are in place to support every different use case that customers require as part of their scheduling needs.
We are looking at ways to make the app simpler, with the advanced options still readily available for those who need it. For example, some of our advanced features are hidden as apps which you install to be able to see their options. However if anyone here has further ideas, feel free to create a ticket on GitHub. We’d love your input!
Where and how do you manage your community?
Though I'm not sure that calling it the DMTADTM phenomenon would quite catch on.
also see: https://pluralistic.net/2023/01/21/potemkin-ai/#hey-guys
Not fan of the name though.
Like how if an ER was run the way software is maintained, then, on a slow day, the doctor would order all the nurses to go in to the waiting room and bust everyone's knee caps.
Imagine if you did one thing really well (like booking meetings). It would take Microsoft or google a year to copy the functionality into their own apps.
No one cares when money is cheap, but in a recession the first thing cut is going to be some single use SaaS app. For software that was sold with a license key it obviously isn’t as much of an issue, but the recurring revenue makes you beholden to continuously adding new features.
Fact: Project owners decide features and project managers assign them to developers.
They can’t even code!
Wait wait wait. It can sync my Google and Outlook calendars into a single scheduling service, and they're not charging me anything?
What's the catch here?
“… permanently delete all the calendars you can access using Google Calendar”
Granting that takes a lot of trust in Zcal.
take your hourly rate, plus the other person's hourly rate, let's say $100 each, multiplied by 10 minutes spent on emailing back and forth that were avoided, and out pops $33.33.
Calendly is only $12/month for their professional plan which saves you money if you even schedule only one meeting a month with it.
I'm against any and all per-user fees because it's death by a thousand cuts and I refuse to allow that to happen. I will take the time to setup an open-source thing that does the same thing, even if the hourly rate of my setup ends up costing like five years of service JUST BECAUSE I'm that against per-user fees.
But you're not paying for storage costs, you're paying for the salaries of everyone involved with making the product, as well as the hosting costs, and some amount of profit to do with as they please.
Which is fairly pretty central to how capitalism works!
My earlier point is that they have enterprise plans, for those that don't want to pay per-user fees, but, uh, they're enterprise priced.
* This hour rate is absurdly high for huge part of the world. Try $20.
* This argument is used by every SaaS ever. If you want to use everything in that model, you would need 20 of them. At least.
* Slack is $7 a month. Office package starts at $6. Github starts at $4. These are huge tools that make work possible. Small random tool priced at the same level is expensive.
2) Yes? I don't know about 20, but
1 project mgmt: Trello/Monday/Clickup/etc
2 if programming, github/gitlab/etc
3 an Office suite (MS or Google Docs),
4 Email (gmail/office365)
5 comms (Slack)
6 web hosting (squarespace/wix/godaddy/roll-your-own on AWS/GCP/Azure)
7 scheduling cal.com/calendly
9 payroll (gusto)
10 bookkeeping (pilot.com or quickbooks)
Those are just the ones off the top of my head. I'm genuinely curious to hear what I've missed!
That's besides the point though. Tools do a relatively specific thing. You can't use Slack to pay employees instead of Gusto, Slack doesn't even have a way to transfer money! So you need a tool that does the job that you need done. If it takes 20, it takes 20.
Just because a particular SaaS company uses that argument doesn't mean you have to buy their service. If you can do without it, then don't buy it!
3) Yes but that small random tool does a very specific job. I don't care if hammers are free and screwdrivers are expensive, if I need a screwdriver, I need a screwdriver and I'll pay whatever it costs. (fine, sure there's some point at which point you can reengineer something to use a hammer if a screwdriver's that expensive, but if you're smart enough to make that point you're smart enough to get my point)
Anyway, my real question is what is it about making tools that makes people so cheap? And not just software either, Harbor Freight has been making everything out of Chinesium which is ludicrously cheap, to Craftsman's detriment. If you go and see a movie you really like in a good theater, you're happy you paid for a ticket and ate the overpriced popcorn, when you could have torrented it for free at home and watched it on your phone. There's something about tools that brings out the cheapness in, at least me, and I'm trying to figure out what it is. Is it simply because we need so many of them?
https://xkcd.com/2347/ is all too true, but then Dwarf Fortress and they became millionaires overnight! Not that I begrudge them that money, but just that like, human psychology is so interesting!
2) IDE (Jetbrains), knowledge repository (wiki,confluence, notion), on-call management (pager duty, jira SD), error monitoring (sentry) - just a few from the top of my head. AWS pricing and size of the offering is topic on its own.
3) it's not being cheap. At least not only that. Take a look at this summary  I stumbled upon recently. According to this calculation tools may account for almost 20% of recurring expenses in Sweden. Sweden is far from being poor. What's more important - you must pay, because otherwise you lose it (hope it never happens to my screwdrivers or popcorn). This is huge liability, that may stop your company from operating. Often really unnecessary.
If you have to view things that way, that summary is bloated. stop paying for slack, use google starter for $6/mo instead of microsoft or google standard, don't pay for tailscale, host your own go link system for $0, host your own gitlab so you're not paying for jira or gitlab, wtf is bonusly; VSCode is free...
I'm not against paid tools in general. My company pays for many - lots of IntelliJ licenses (at least XXk eur/year), jira server (hard to summarize over the years, but probably at least couple of cars worth) and many others, but we prefer "pay once and own it" model, because we updated when we needed. Sometimes we pushed this for later and spent cash for raises and/or additional people, which were more important than minor software updates. That's why I really dislike subscription model - you don't have this choice - either you pay now or you're out. Don't like new prices? Feel free to migrate for couple of months (while still paying).
> don't pay for tailscale, host your own go link system for $0, host your own gitlab so you're not paying for jira or gitlab, wtf is bonusly; VSCode is free...
We actually host ton of stuff on-prem. Isn't nearly as bad as people like to frame it. Of course we have some subscribtions, because it's business not crusade, but in general keeping mandatory recurring costs low, proved to be good strategy.
We're ending this day adding the new "badge of honor" of hackernews #1 to our README:
One thing that's made me twitchy with everything in this class of services that's kept me from considering using them - are they working only with shared free/busy or am I correct in believing that you basically have to give them "keys to the kingdom" for them to work with most of the vendors?
Maybe I just haven't paid attention (OK, definitely true), but I don't recall seeing a lot of discussion about most providers having good permissions granularity that would let me say "grant access to my M365 free/busy data but not appointment contents, email, Sharepoint, Onedrive, etc" or "grant access to my Google Workspace calendars X Y and Z but not to email or storage."
Am I missing something and limited access has always been there, or am I correct in believing that granting the calendar access that these need also includes a ton of other access that people may not recognize?
That’s a great question. When you connect your calendar with most scheduling apps, there’s really nothing stopping most of them from doing malicious things behind the scenes with your data. You don’t really know if they’re just querying your availability, or actually pulling specific event data.
With Cal.com, that’s different. Since day one, I built it to only check free/busy times and that hasn’t changed. Also, as it’s open source, you can literally go on GitHub and verify what I’m saying, as well as comb through every line of code that touches your calendar.
It’s the same principle that keeps something like the Linux kernel free of malicious software. There’s enough contributors from around the world that audit and review the code, that you can ultimately trust that there’s nothing malicious going on behind the scenes.
Also just to clarify, with how most major providers’ permission systems work, it’s scoped that we can only access your calendar data, and not contents of your email and such.
So, if you're getting the minimum viable amount of access to someone's calendar, what's the worst that could be done by an attacker with persistent access to your backend systems, and how does it vary between different services you connect to (e.g. Google, M365, Outlook.com, Zoom, etc.)? This isn't even really about your software, more about "how restricted do the underlying services allow my access to be?"
Both platforms move glacially and poorly communicate, but solutions like this are ultimately tick boxes for the platform products. So they live in that niche market of products that are actually complicated Excel formulae.
That’s not a terrible thing!
coincidentally, we did an interview with one of the co-founders a few days ago. dropping the links below in case anyone wants to learn more about their philosophy & how they navigate the oss/startup waters
highlights (7min): https://youtu.be/gymNEH-skAY
full interview (45min): https://youtu.be/BKCuNhyQlGE
If someone is familiar with both cal.com and that feature, I would really appreciate a view of pros and cons.
Nice thing is it being open source and Prisma based means you can just scroll thru the source and roll your own solution in a couple hours of dev work
// It's disconcerting how cloned some cal.com screens look compared to SavvyCal.
A bit too much info maybe.
We’re experiencing our biggest spike in signups yet (see cal.com/open for the data), so our database got overwhelmed for a second. Rest assured, we’re on it :)
Is it sales channel, with the hope of converting those self-hosters to paid customers?
Big fan of Cal.com and other open source businesses like it.
There’s a lot of reasons why we’re open core.
First is longevity. Especially considering we’re a startup, if a huge company is evaluating using our product, they’re going to wonder if we’re going to disappear in a few years. Open source doesn’t disappear: https://cal.com/blog/longevity
Secondly is that we’re a developer focused product, and so making it open source for hobbyists to play around with is a great way to introduce people to our product with the hopes that one day they’ll build their next company using our scheduling (so it does help as a sales channel, although definitely not the primary reason)
Also transparency and privacy. Users know how their data is being handled, which for me personally is a huge plus. I want to know what the software is doing if I’m giving it access to my calendar.
There are a few other reasons too, maybe I’ll write something on the Cal.com blog
If it’s going to be utilized almost exclusively by those who wouldn’t pay anyway, then as a business there is no loss of revenue by providing an open-source version.
And although this company may not want to or be able to afford to spend much making it easy, I’ve used one piece of software that the business goes to great lengths to make easy to self-host.
Maybe "pain-in-the-ass free tier" was unclear, I mean from the perspective of a customer: it's such a pain in the ass to get the product for free that it makes sense to pay for it for almost everyone.
I also tend to self-host my personal stuff but pay for hosted for the business, knowing that if the product changed in unsavory ways (pricing, closed-nature, etc) the business could self-host and escape a hostage situation. It's far from perfect as usually there's a bunch of data in their DB that you can't easily export, but with proprietary/closed solutions that's nearly guaranteed to be the case.
Works well for anything that Amazon can't be bothered hosting :-), basically apps not infrastucture (although this title wierdly calls itself infrastructure, but that is probably sales hyperbole).
Anyone know way a guide to make a landing page like the OP has?
1. Focus on advantages and benefits of your product straight on.
2. Do show your product. It’s hard and difficult to keep it up to date, but the value outweighs the cost.
3. Use short memorable phrasing, but expand as necessary.
4. If your product has nerd value baked into it (e.g. some powerful protocol that mainstream competitors do not implement) do make it a major feature but explain the benefits to the uninitiated (“we support JMAP, the more powerful alternative to IMAP that allows you to use X app and service”)
5. On the visual side: keep it simple and add a single gimmick, such a background pattern or a strange gradient. Reuse that same gimmick in subtler versions with color/shape/position variations. Always strive for readability, not effect.
6. Pricing must be easily accessible. Explain in simple words if exceptions apply (student discounts etc)
Completely off-topic and I apologize for the nitpicking: I recently learned the nuance between complex and hard , is there a nuance between hard and difficult?
As an experienced web designer I can tell you the design and implementation are straightforward, but very competently done. There are many things like the typography and UX writing that suggest this is the work of a fellow experienced designer. There’s much more here than what can be captured in a “guide” - it’s just an overall high level of design competence.
I think the best advice is probably to start as simple as possible: no more than two columns with responsiveness to one column, no more than a few colors, etc.
But also, I wouldn't be too hard on yourself comparing your own work to this site. Someone spent a lot of money on a three letter domain, and they probably spent some more on the design for it.
Content-first design: https://alistapart.com/blog/post/content-first-design/
It would be good if someone made a fork with fixed setup and docker images for self-hosting :)
There is no end of feature requests, but polite way is to appreciate what is already done by original authors and fill your requests as GitHub issue.
Disclaimer: not affiliated to them, just find your comment disrespectful.
It _is_ a pain to self-host, but unlike claims elsewhere in this thread I do also self-host the API and database.
Is the core of Calendly open-source?
I skimmed their repos but it looks like they don't include the "secret sauce" to self-hosting your own event+booking platform: https://github.com/orgs/calendly/repositories
There are CLA alternatives like the Developer Certificate of Origin (DCO) that ensure the company has the "legal standing" to accept a contribution without infringing on copyright, but it doesn't give them the ability to relicense.
Sure they could relicense it to something wildly different, but they can't retroactively take back old versions of it, so you can still run it as it was when you made the contributions.
I wish nobody required CLAs, but I'm glad that there are products like Cal that would (assumedly) be closed contribution otherwise due to (real or perceived) legal risk.
It means they can sue for open source license violations on your behalf, something that's a bit harder if they don't actually wholly own the copyright.
let me update the docs
Would something like this fit your wife's use case? And aside from payments, what else are you dissatisfied with on Calendly that makes you want to switch? Thanks!
I'd suggest registering TalkWithMe.com and using your talkw.me domain only as a shortener to redirect people to the main site.
And good call on the second thing ;)
I feel like the product's success is largely because they've used clever UX to solve a common, but difficult problem.
We will fix this ASAP though!
Lots of ways to accomplish this feature.
NO I DONT WANT TO USE STRIPE!
should be live this quarter
for example therapists, coaches, gym trainers, etc use paid bookings
What I'm really missing is the quick add by string that Google calendar used to have. Eg type in "next thursday at 8pm" and it would do just that, instead of laboriously having to scroll to next Thursday, then create an event and set it to start at 8pm.
Or is some backend just down?
Does anyone know of a solution that allows people to book times, but only contiguous with other meetings?
The AGPL won't save you from folks modifying/reselling your software. And if someone was non compliant, are you going to pay the lawyer fees to prove it?
I wish companies would stop using "open source" as a growth strategy.
Open source definitely isn’t a growth strategy for us. We’re huge open source fans, and do actually believe in what it stands for. We’re open source for a number of other reasons, such as longevity, privacy and genuine passion for OSS software (I’ve wrote more about this in other comments here).
However, yes, we are a company that is VC-backed, and so we have to make some decisions that are for the business side of things, and switching to AGPL is one way of cutting down on people trying to create rip off versions of our product.
AFAICT, their goal isn't to monopolize a hosting solution for their software, just to provide a path of minimal resistance to normal people using their software, and fund their lives along the way.
https://cal.com/about lays it out. Looks like they're a team of 15ish people who raised a Series A, but it seems they've gone about it in a pretty thoughtful way (15 years of runway, atm)
Expect the usual tension of open core shenanigans to eventually play out.
But yeah, in the long term I agree with you, it'll probably fall apart in the way you expect within 10 years. It's hard to outlast the financial interest of investors, even if they're you're friends.
They know what they're doing
It looks like there might be some funny business with MAU and Total Customers. MAU is only 3,500, but they somehow have 50k Total Customers? And they have a free tier? If only 7% of your paying customers use your product, they aren't going to renew. I expect that this doesn't include churn or is actually some kind of cumulative integral counting customer months or something.
Very useful little thing, but I sure don't know how you could spend $350 million doing it. The company I made it for absolutely is nowhere in sight of a number like that.
Things like this make me think just because I’m not willing to lie and sell the hype that the true sentiment here is “you’re not venture fundable”
Bootstrap life it is.
If anyone wants a wake up call of what normal investors (not VC) value typical companies at, watch the UK series Dragons Den, where they offer people 50,000 pounds for 33% of the company, and suchlike.
It’s hard trying to bootstrap but it’s depressing trying to run a venture business knowing how much you give up and how it actually reduces your chances of success. Someone recently referred to their past success as a lightening strike, it’s the perfect wording to me. It happens, it’s real, but you shouldn’t expect it too many times in your life.
In fact, notice the words of the VC: "I'm not sure..."
Also, lying is bad.
Simply because for most of the past decade there was a much smaller pool of talent and fewer resources available to spin these things up easily. No longer the case.
This is an app that can be cloned easily and has a low barrier to switching for existing customers. SaaS with high costs of switching are the ones with defensible margins.
Love the idea, but $360 for a premium username. Nah. Not doing that. Not for something like this.
(And I'd guess it doesn't much affect the subscriber boost you get from the people who rush to grab their preferred username or landgrab a primo username on a new service.)
Though I wonder whether a recurring charge for a premium username means that they'll ever reuse a username, renting it to someone else if the initial person stops paying. That could be a security problem (impersonation, a bit like with domain name registrations). And if the initial person knows that's a security problem, keeping them paying for that reason might be a racket. (Maybe this is not a big deal for a calendar service, but it could be for others.)
remember you can always get a free account with firstname-lastname or similar
"Premium usernames cost $29/mo. You can start with a non-premium username and then upgrade later."
[edit: reading up a bit, I'm really rooting for you!]
scroll to bottom, click "self-hosted."