Back in 2014, I sketched an idea to simplify scheduling apps on a napkin and pitched writing a series about it as a startup to my editor Tom McFarlin at Envato Tuts+. He approved and I got to work. I wouldn’t have guessed at the time that I had an undiagnosed brain tumor and that despite that, I would ultimately complete fifty episodes for the series.
Definitely, try out the results at Meeting Planner or if you want to plan a social event, try Simple Planner. They’re scheduling apps for the web that make planning meetups easier (like Doodle but more focused on the social process). My goal from the beginning was to minimize the number of dreaded back and forth messages between participants and make it easy to collaboratively find dates, times and places that work well.
I think I’ve made good progress at both.
If you read only one episode, read the first. If you want to see how a startup gets built or learn how to use the Yii programming framework, read a bunch of them. I also suggest reading about the role open source software played in enabling a one person startup.
Ultimately, the series turned out more technical and development-oriented than entrpreneurial, but that’s partly the Envato Tuts+ audience requirement.
Some of my favorite features of the sites are translations in 21 languages, our new scrollable responsive popup calendar and the ease in choosing times and dates with participants.
The sites continue to improve. I’m regularly adding concepts and features to make scheduling easy. I may continue writing the occasional episode but more likely on my own websites.
Also, I’m not one to shy away from political realities. My startup is political. One day soon, I hope to use Simple Planner to plan a celebration of Trump’s impeachment. When do you expect Trump will be impeached?
Currently about 30% of respondents expect Trump to be impeached by September 2017:
I hope you enjoy the series and share your feedback on the service.
Startup Series Table of Contents
The Fifty Episodes of the Building Your Own Startup series:
- Getting Started
- Feature Requirements and Database Design
- Geolocation and Google Places
- Localization With I18n
- Access Control, Active Record Relations and Slugs
- User Settings, Profile Images and Contact Details
- Scheduling a Meeting
- Scheduling Availability and Choices
- Email Commands
- Using the Mailgun Store(): A Temporary Mailbox for Your App’s Incoming Email
- Delivering the Meeting Invitation
- Email Commands
- Simplifying Onramp With OAuth
- Exporting iCal Files into Calendar Events
- Choosing and Configuring Production Hosting
- Collecting and Managing User Reports and Feedback
- The Open-Source Foundation Behind Meeting Planner
- Refining Email Templates
- Responsive Email for Gmail
- Notifying People of Meeting Updates
- Delivering Notifications
- Preparing for Reminders
- Dynamic Ajax Forms for Scheduling
- Sending Reminders
- The Dashboard Foundation
- Improving the Mobile Web
- Issue Tracking and Feature Planning
- Security Basics
- Ajax for Meeting Times and Places
- Invite People via URL
- Increasing Security
- Preparing for Text Messaging
- Automatic Time-Zone Detection
- Advanced Scheduling Commands
- Requesting Scheduling Changes
- Meetings With Multiple Participants
- Completing Group Scheduling
- Importing with the Google Contacts API
- Error Logging
- Running Multiple Domains
- Building a RESTful API
- Bootstrap Your Home Page
- Leveraging Bootstrap, Ajax, and jQuery
- Using Routes for Schedule With Me
- Leveraging Crowdfunding
- Securing an API
- Approaching Major Feature Enhancements
- Using Faker to Generate Filler Data for Automated Testing
- Programming With Yii: Generating Documentation