Andrew WatsonLead Engineer at Make & Build
Bio

Call me to talk about building and scaling your business and the technology that runs it. I've built a number of platforms that get heavy traffic and make heavy money as a result. I've also had a lot of practice in Agile software development techniques and continuous delivery models.



Recent Answers


I've spent a lot of time in the telephony, call center, crm space and built a lot of applications that involve incoming phone calls and sms. I don't know of a product that works exactly as you specified but I have constructed things that did part of that for conferences and audience feedback.

You should take a look at some of the Quick Start guides on Twilio.com for example SMS applications that are very easy to construct. You might be able to create what you need by combining a couple of them together. I have years of experience with the Twilio platform so if you have any questions about it I'd be happy to do a call with you and help you out.


I've used the Foursquare API for a lot of different kinds of applications, both web and mobile. In my opinion you should not store any venue information in your application for a couple of reasons.

First, I think the terms and conditions you agreed to when signing up for an API key prohibit you from doing so. Second, That data is subject to change at any moment so you're better off just referring to them to get it whenever you need it.

If you have any other questions about the Foursquare API I'd be glad to talk to you and see if I can help.

Thanks


who is the consumer of this information, the parents, the school system or the bus drivers? Keep in mind that schools won't adopt technology if a large percentage of their families won't be able to use it (i.e. smart phone apps) so maybe sms alerts would have greatest reach.


In my opinion, phone support is frequently requested but hardly ever needed. I worked at Twilio and as part of my role as a Developer Evangelist I responded to help desk tickets part of the week. We didn't do any phone support and we were able to help people effectively.

The key is to be very detailed, thorough and courteous in all your correspondence and also to ask for clarification if you don't understand their questions. You should also have a library of online resources like documentation, frequently asked questions and forums that you can refer people to so they can easily find answers for themselves once you point them in the right direction.

One caveat to all that though: I worked at another company that provided phone support but it was something you had to schedule and pay for in advance. At first, I thought it was crazy but our phone support people were busy all day helping customers. It wasn't a lot and it didn't even cover our costs but it prevented your phone from ringing off the hook and people calling to ask really stupid questions.

Hope that helps! Also, if you're looking for technical advice on setting up phone support options I'd be glad to help you... over the phone! :)


Here is an article about setting up AWS EC2 to run Play and Mongo: http://stevenwilliamalexander.wordpress.com/2012/06/10/amazon-ec2-mongo-play-scala-instance-setup-gu/ and there are also guides for binding to Amazon Simple DB and Dynamo in Scala as well that might be much easier setup than using MySQL.

I've used a lot of AWS services for building composite services and I'm available for a call if you get stuck or need any advice on best practices.


The most important thing in my opinion is that you both be able to quickly and confidently answer whatever question they throw at you without having to look at the other person for answers, confirmation.


One thing you might consider is sitting down with a CPA or financial advisor for an hour or two. They might have the experience to go over your books and quickly spot issues that are holding you back. If you can't find someone like that willing to help you then consider reaching out to a professor of finance/accounting at a local college for help. You may even become part of a case study for their students!


If you are only competing on cost, you'll lose every time. Find some other value proposition to compete on like incredible features, fanatical support or something your competitors simply can't do with their outsourced teams.


Like Dan said, put yourself out there. Being an introvert doesn't mean you can't be outgoing in public settings. It just means that your preference - where you recharge your batteries - is when you're alone or in very small groups.

Just be aware of the need to strike a balance between your desire for quiet and your need to push yourself out of that comfort zone.


I'd avoid the cold email. The best way to get inside big companies like distributors is to "social engineer" a connection to someone there. Find a 2nd or 3rd degree connection on LinkedIn. Hang out at a restaurant near their HQ and look for people with the right badge on. Ask your potential angel for help connecting you. If they can't, they might not be the right investor for your company at this stage. Their investment should get you more than money, it should come with connections, advice and mentoring.

Basically, there's no easy way to do this and every situation is different but it's going to take a lot more than a cold email or phone call.


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