Automation, Self-service, and Administration

Just a random thought. As a solo founder, my time is our scarcest commodity. Making sure that I have free time and minimal interruptions has become one of my highest priorities, and it’s paying off. Some of the best investments I’ve made in Sifter are the things that keep me free to focus on the product. It seems obvious to me now, but the following guidelines have all evolved organically as Sifter has grown and become more demanding on my time.

  1. Automation is awesome. Nothing beats not having to do anything.
  2. If it can’t be automated, self-service is the next best thing. Letting customers handle things on their own is awesome. It’s faster for them, and it lets me focus on the product.
  3. Mobile administration is a life saver. You can’t always be at the computer, so helping people on the go is a must.
  4. Monitoring is the new co-founder. We use New Relic, Pingdom, and Monit to make sure that everything’s running smoothly. The sooner we know about problems, the faster we can respond.

For instance, I’ve built an iPhone-optimized administration tool that lets me quickly and easily look up accounts, renew trials, and do a handful of other tasks that I do every day. More importantly, I can do it all on the go. No sense in making someone wait until I’m at a computer if I can renew their trial in two clicks from my phone. For the times when I am at my desk, I have a handful of Alfred shortcuts and snippets that help me respond to support requests even faster.