Bye Bye PayPal, Hello Paymill

I've recently started implementing Paymill's online payment processing service for scribblar with the help of Richard Herbert's excellent cfPaymill wrapper for Paymill's API. The main reason for this is the fact that I am totally and utterly fed up with PayPal and their 'customer service'.

To be honest I do not know how much I've paid PayPal for their services over the years (I suspect it amounts to several thousand dollars) and I would have happily carried on if I felt like a valued customer there and the company would take my customers' user experience seriously. It would also help if they were a generally pleasant company, but after more and more horror stories I am packing my bags.

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Going The Extra Mile In Customer Service

If you run your own software business like I do with scribblar ,an online tutoring and collaboration platform, and membermeister, an online membership management system, you'll already know that providing outstanding customer service is hugely important, in fact it can make or break your business. But sometimes you may doubt yourself and questions arise if it's really worth going the extra mile for a particular customer or if it would actually be in your business's best interest to simply lose a customer and move on.

There's no hard or fast rules to making this decision, but I'd like to share a little episode I recently had and where I did question myself - and where I was glad in the end to have seen things through.

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Introducing - Super Simple Member Management

membermeister - super simple member managementApologies for the recent lack of posts, but I have a great excuse which is also the topic of this latest update: I've been very busy trying to get my latest product membermeister (my latest project) up to MVP stage. Membermeister is an online membership management service targeted at small business owners that have to deal with a large numbers of members - for example sports coaches, childcare providers, dance teachers, personal trainers and so on. It allows them to keep all their member information in one place, create groups, schedule sessions and classes and most importantly produce invoice and track payments amongst other things.

Together with my friend Paul Bou-Samra we have been busy building this Rails based application for the last few months and we're now at a stage where we have something at hand that resembles a usable product.
We've learned a lot along the way, but the journey has only just begun and my intention is to write more about our experiences and ongoing learning in future blog posts.

Paul has taught himself Ruby on Rails in record time whilst I have tried to get to grips with the front-end development (not sure what I would have done without twitter's bootstrap) and heroku/ deployment. I've also got a good handle on the Rails asset pipeline now... don't ask. Heck, I've even dabbled in Photoshop and Fireworks to create graphics and designs - in a nutshell we are bootstrapping this baby 100%.

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My 3 Startup Tips For Launching Your Own Product

Over the years I've developed several software products and sold them online, often without much planning or strategy - they sort of 'happened', and often failed. It wasn't until I built Scribblar (which I am still working on) and ShareMySlides (which is mainly sitting idle) that I started to add a bit of a methodology to my approach.

Right now the web is full to the brim with startup advice, and I figured I add my own experiences to that. So here are my top 3 (admittedly rather generic) tips for launching your own product - tips that I have received at some point and which held true.

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