Storytime: The Story of a Ton of Lost Users and Money!

Story Time with Jason: The Story of a Ton of Lost Users and Money!

This is the story of how not taking the time to investigate different technologies, seeking different opinions, and letting things go without oversight put me into a position of losing tons of money and time.

We realized after a substantial amount of investment that the platform we were using as a fundamental piece of our system was not going to have the resource management systems necessary to support the amount of on-page data the system was creating.

This was my my conversation with the lead developer over chat as we were preparing to rebuild this major aspect of our system.

“I started implementing a hybrid app with the two frameworks side-by-side and communicating both ways. The challenge here is to properly seal off the new app components from the old ones. This way I try to shed the architectural complexities of the angularJS app and create something new and clean” one of our lead developers said to me about BrainLeaf.

“How are you feeling about it?” I just replied.

“It’s a complicated system, with a lot of moving parts. We’re never going to make my initial time estimate.” He said.

“Yeah, I kinda figured. What do you think?” I asked. “Three times expected? Four times? More?”

“... probably 4x” he said after a long pause. “Sorry.”

I had known when he gave me the first estimate that he was an optimist. I knew upfront it was going to take a lot longer, but I wanted to believe him so badly, so I did a little. But now the sun was rising on reality and I had to look at the facts while simultaneously keeping my team motivated.

“It’s alright.” I typed out,

thinking about how this was going to affect my current users, how high my churn was going to be, and how many people I had worked so hard to get that were going to drop off. It was going to hurt pretty badly.

“We should have done this a long time ago. It’s my fault for waiting” I said.

It was my fault.

But the decisions made to that point were not wrong. Had I planned this out a little better, I wouldn’t be in this position. I just didn’t know I needed to plan so much at the time.

“We’ll get it done as fast as we can.” he said.

“I know you will. You always do. Talk soon.” I typed out.

It hurt, and I could have avoided it so easily by planning a little harder instead of pushing forward to move on things. I had picked the wrong development platform because it was easy; I had listened to a previous developer and not done my homework myself. Now I had to redo a major part of the system that had become unusable because it didn’t scale well.

The total cost in hours was in the hundreds. The total cost of a bad development decision that had to be rebuilt ended up in probably the tens, maybe even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

So how do you avoid choosing the wrong systems?

Easy. Here are a few simple steps:

  • Do your homework and understand what you are building.

  • Choose the right team that understands that language or platform.

  • Ask lots of questions by posting onto and other forums to ask tons of people what they think about your plan or your team’s plan.

  • Ask other people who have done this before. Join SaaS groups like the Facebook Group SaaS Growth Hacks and ask SaaS entrepreneurs. You can also reach out on StackOverflow to developers all over the world with your questions.

  • Post onto private Facebook Groups like the one noted above to SaaS entrepreneurs and developers and ask them for suggestions.

  • Hire someone that has done this before successfully.

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