Projects,  quickfire

Getting Organised (Part 1)

Being me is typically synonymous to being an unorganised mess. But, I’ve decided. This must change.

I will be launching quickfire at some point in the next month (hopefully) and part of this requires me realistically running it properly. Even though it will mostly be a side project, I do hope to attract some customers and will look after them.

There are several areas that I will need to address in order to keep things functioning as they are, scalable (everyone dreams of success, anyone who says otherwise is wrong) and organised.

Accounting

This is, quite literally, the most important part of any business (joint with payment processing). Without good accounting, you’re stuffed. For this, I will be using the ever great and wonderful Xero to help keep things where they should be.

The great thing about Xero is it learns over time, taking the annoying parts and essentially automating them. They also have a great API that will be integrated to ensure that everything is in sync and tracked correctly.

Xero is really, really powerful. The idea here is to turn it in to a great reporting and analytical centre with data being fed in to it from all relevant sources giving us one place that allows us to report on pretty much anything financial.

Automation

Mentioned briefly in the section above, automation will be playing a key part here. Every step from signup, to a customer using their CDN Zone (the first product to launch on quickfire) is all automated. There will be automated fraud checking behind the scenes with some flags for manual review (this will not get in the way of using the product, it will be completely behind the scenes) but for the most part everything will be as automated as possible.

This prevents any issues in scaling, but also reduces the scope for error. Humans make mistakes, code generally results in a very consistent output (as long as it is written well).

Leveraging SaaS

Software as a Service (or SaaS) enables you to get a startup to market faster than ever. Take Twilio as an example. Sure, you could go and build an entire SMS stack yourself to send SMS messages to your users or, you could, just put your card details in to their website and get access to an API instantly.

Making use of third parties to deliver the difficult parts lets you focus on building a great experience and great relationship with your own customers. Sure, you can replace those things in the future when you have more resources to focus on things like that but in these early days it really doesn’t make sense.

A more quickfire appropriate example would be our storage infrastructure. We’re outsourcing that to a company with a great API instead. Storage is hard to get right, takes a massive up-front investment and a ton of time. Instead, we’re going to build on top of someone else and then move to our own thing in the future. It’s exactly what dropbox did, and it makes perfect sense.

Stripe

Yes, this could come under Leveraging SaaS however I want to give a special mention to Stripe because, well, they’ll be powering the most important part (joint with accounting software) – the payment processing.

The platform will be entirely built using Stripe Billing to power subscriptions, invoicing and storing credit / debit cards.

To actually take customer details, we’ll be using Stripe.js and Stripe Elements. This means the customer card data never touches any servers we manage and keeps us completely outside of PCI DSS requirements. We don’t want to ever see anyone’s card number, it just gets sent straight to Stripe to be stored and we get given a token that we can use our API keys to charge / set up behind the scenes.

Using Webhooks with Stripe we also get notified when they do pretty much anything. So far, the only way we’re leveraging this is to create an invoice in Xero when Stripe finalises an invoice, but we can expand on this in the future. 

Ok this post got quite long, I’ll probably follow this up in the future but until then have a good one.

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