uFincs Update #3

Sprinting Turns to Walking

As the title should oh so obviously indicate, uFincs is the matter concerning my existence today.

Oh boy.

Last Time

Last time, I regaled you with the tales of all the deals I was gonna get becoming 'Startup School certified' and participating in their so-called 'Build Sprint'.

I finished with an ominous question wondering how 'going to plan' everything would be at the time of this update.

Well, let's just say sprinting has turned to walking.

The Startup School 'Deals'

Last week, I finally participated in a 'group session' as part of the Startup School Build Sprint. Went well! Had some good discussions with some other founders to refine our pitches, had some technical discussions, good stuff.

Side note: I don't know if it was a coincidence or not, but all 3 of the other startup founders I talked with were German/in Germany. What are the chances?

Anywho, the more important part here is that participating in a group session finally gave me my coveted 'Startup School Certified' status, thus finally giving me access to their deals.

Well, they certainly had a list of deals... but the ones I was most interested in are either not a thing anymore or... well, let me explain.

Stripe

Let's start with Stripe. Followed through with Startup School's instructions on how to claim the deal: enter all your information into some form on Stripe's website (along with a provided 'partner code' that was presumably specific to Startup School). Got an email back from a Stripe sales representative shortly after with some follow-up questions to clarify if Stripe is a good fit for our business (you know, standard sales stuff).

Send back a reply and all I get back is a generic "Yup, looks like Stripe is a good fit for you! Here's the standard sign-up form, looking forward to taking your money!"

So... what happened to my deal? (For reference, the deal is advertised as no Stripe fees on the first $5000 in revenue processed).

Filling out Stripe's form with this special 'partner code' just seems to have triggered the standard sales process on Stripe's end. So I can only conclude that either the deal is no longer running or something has changed in terms of how to get the deal that isn't reflected accurately anymore.

Either way, I decided it wasn't really worth pursuing further (at 2.7% + 0.30 cents per charge, that's only like $150 in saved fees), so I'm just gonna forget about it, sign up for an account with my uFincs email, and move on with finishing the integration.

GCP

And then there was GCP. This deal was much more important for me since my infrastructure costs are the vast majority of my current monthly expenses. Not that it's that much (I currently spend around $50/month in infra), but it's still something for someone with no revenue.

Followed Startup School's instructions to a link that had changed (more out-of-date instructions...), but was quickly redirected to GCP's generic 'apply for startup credits page' (Google Cloud for Startups | Google Cloud).

Side note: I swear this page has changed in the past few months. I remember its call-to-action being to 'Contact your accelerator/investor' instead of the current 'Apply now' button. I guess they're now accepting general startups again?

Anyways, I fill out the form, list 'Startup School' as my 'investor' (reference?), and... nothing.

I got an email shortly after filling out the form saying that they'll schedule a call to discuss our 'needs' (aka, sales stuff) within 2 business days, but I haven't heard anything from them. No further emails, no calls, nada, nothing.

I guess this is just part-and-parcel to Google's infamously bad customer support (half /s).

Look, I love me some GCP (was formerly certified), but I can't say I'm surprised that I haven't heard back from them; they legitimately have a reputation for questionably non-existent support.

So yeah, can't say I'm expecting to get much out of this 'deal' either.

On the topic, I found it amusing to read through this Hacker News discussion on applying for AWS vs GCP credits: Google Cloud vs. AWS Onboarding Comparison | Hacker News, along with the original article: Google Cloud vs AWS Onboarding Comparison - Kevin's Page.

All-in-all, seems like dealing with Startup School just for access to their deals has been a waste of time so far. I'm sure some of their other deals have got to work, but the two I was particularly interested in have so far been busts.

Oh well. Doesn't really matter in the end; at least the content of Startup School (the video lectures and forums/community) has been quite good.

Recurring Transactions

The main technical goal of my Build Sprint — recurring transactions — are now well underway! Took quite a bit longer to get back into it (I haven't done much technical work on uFincs itself since Christmas), but I'm finally getting into the interesting parts of this feature.

That is, it was quite the slog to get through setting up all the data model/CRUD for recurring transactions. Lots of somewhat copy/pasting, a good bit of rather boring UI work, and a ton of boring form work.

Man, react-hook-form is great and all, but dealing with the 'super form' that is the transaction creation/editing form in uFincs can be quite the pain, what with its dozen+ inputs and another half-dozen conditional inputs.

Anyways, I'm now onto the part of how to actually handle 'realizing' recurring transactions. Both concretely (i.e. does this recurring transaction happen today? → create a regular transaction) and virtually (i.e. the user has browsed to 3 years into the future, how do we handle creating/displaying the recurring transactions that haven't actually happened yet?).

The virtual half is the more interesting half since users will theoretically be able to set up a bunch of recurring transactions and then 'project' out into the future what their finances will look like (aka, we're finally getting to the 'forecasting' part of uFincs).

This is interesting to implement both from the UI and datastore layers. UI, because we have to make sure all our widgets (i.e. tables, lists, and charts) support displaying these 'virtual' transactions. And data store, because what does it mean (from Redux's POV) to 'realize' 'virtual' transactions?

Anyways, those are the questions I'll be answering in the following weeks, so hopefully I can bring back those answers (or maybe even a working feature!) in the next update.

At my current publishing rate of once every 2 weeks, looks like my next update should coincide with the completion of the Build Sprint. This means I only have 2 weeks to launch publicly, acquire 2 customers, and finish recurring transactions.

Well, at my current rate, that is definitely not gonna happen. I've kinda been waffling on what I should be working on since I'm kinda pretty deep into recurring transactions at this point, but it probably makes more sense (from a business POV) to be focusing on the 'launch' (aka finishing the Stripe integration and then posting to the Startup School forums).

So yeah, I've probably mis-prioritized here, but oh well. Things are getting done; what difference does it really make when things are done?

Until next time.