Ideas and Validation August 30, 2020

SaaS founders 👋 - what is your biggest technical painpoint?

troelsfr

I'm currently trying to understand what the biggest technical painpoints SaaS founders have? Some examples:

  1. I am not familiar with all of the technology stack that I need to use
  2. Deployment infrastructure is difficult
  3. I am alone and it is difficult to find the right people to have technical discussions with
  4. My painpoints are exclusively non-technical

Or anything else that you might find hard.

  1. 9

    Offering Custom Domain was a struggle. I made me switch couple of infrastructure. Moving to Render.com tomorrow.

    1. 2

      You would have needed to use AWS or Azure and simply utilized nginx or some other reverse proxy and an API gateway

    2. 1

      I can imagine. What infrastructure did you end up using to accomplish this?

      1. 2

        Render.com now. They have wildcard domain support natively.

        1. 1

          I was thinking more on the technical side rather than provider, i.e. docker images, static sites, Kubernetes, docker-compose, standard VMs? Something else?

          1. 2

            Got you. I went the server-less way so far. Was using Firebase, Vercel and now Render.

            Technical pain points I have come across are recently are setting up reverse proxy, server side rendering.

  2. 6

    If you are trying to bootstrap your company, you want to reduce the infrastructure cost as much as possible. Choosing a cloud infrastructure provider is such a big decision. Once you get locked in and have customers, then migration to another cloud infrastructure vendor is a huge pain. At the same time, you don't know which cloud infrastructure gives you the cheapest option.

    For my previous company, I used GCP because that was the platform I was most familiar with, but not sure it was the best choice.

    1. 2

      I agree. The hosting costs aren't a big issue when the website isn't doing much but one of my biggest concerns is getting a huge bill due to a sudden burst of traffic after posting it to HN or product hunt.

      Honestly, I don't know if this is real concern because I've never had it happen to me but I've heard stories and I've had large bursts of traffic to blog posts from HN.

      1. 2

        I just wanted to add two small notes here that might be helpful -

        I can now say that the traffic from being #1 on Product Hunt and Hacker News are nowhere comparable.

        PH maxed out at like 16-20 simultaneous users. Hacker News was over 600 at a time, and crashed my static website running on Nginx (without a CDN). I had to set up an "emergency CDN" with cloudflare.

        That said, for the current SaaS, we're using GCP and have invested a lot to make our serverless setup rather linear in terms of our costs vs. user traffic.

        We run an analytics tool that people install on their websites, and had someone install it on a website that had over 8 million monthly visits. The spike was so huge, we thought they installed it several times. We also theoretically have to handle scenarios where our users receive viral traffic.

        Thankfully, everything scaled perfectly and no other users were affected, and it didn't explode our bill.

        I think the biggest thing is just regularly analyzing your cost reports and finding stuff that's really expensive and optimizing it. Could be through caching, compression, performance optimization, etc. GCP has some pretty nice tools for this, I'm sure AWS does too.

    2. 1

      Yes, I agree. This is definitely a huge pain. With my latest project, I've decided to deploy using Kubernetes in the hope that it will be easier to migrate, but the learning curve has been steep.

  3. 4

    As a non coder, I have been struggleling to find how to setup a backend for no coders tools such as UIbakery, to integrate user management and payment.

    1. 1

      Interesting. Did you find a solution in the end, or are you still working on that? And just make sure I understand this correctly, the key problem is the combination of user and payments, i.e. some like subscription or product management?

      1. 1

        Uibakery lets you make an Ui and add logic to it, but you need a backend with rest API, like firebase but I haven't been able to work with it. As I understand i need to code.
        I just found https://www.buildwithrebase.com/ which should suit my case if I understood well the product, but it's in an extremely early development phase.

        1. 1

          That sort of defies the purpose of a no-code platform. I can see why this could be quite frustrating - you get 80% of the way real quick just to realise that the last 20% is going to be hard.

          1. 2

            Is not a easy/hard issue, but it's playing in a different field issue. In the latest years amazing tools that let you make a beautiful frontend without coding has been founded (webflow, dorik, etc) but there is not a backend version yet, at least that i know of, but seems something is coming.

            1. 2

              Thanks this information is quite useful to have. I might want to reach out to you at later point in the year if that is OK?

  4. 2

    I’m currently finishing my new web app Keepsy.app and my biggest technical pain point is setting up the payment system. I want to make sure the basics are there but also other areas like refunds, expired cards, etc. For some reason this topic gives me a lot of respect and I don’t want any bugs or unhappy customers.

    Regards

    1. 2

      Yes, I know exactly how that feels. I've just implemented the payment system for https://indiemy.com a few weeks back and it was exhausting to 1) to understand the documentation (as it is quite large for Stripe) and 2) make myself feel confident that I have tested enough and covered the corner cases.

      What tech stack are you using for your app?

    2. 1

      Your developer is struggling with that? Or are you a non developer and you're setting that up? Nice idea btw

      1. 1

        I’m a non developer, but finally I have it setup. I thought it was easier than I expected. Im using stripe.js with some API connections and it’s working nicely. It has only one subscription. Users can update the payment details or cancel their subscription. I’ve even setup users to get notifications when card is close to expiry date. I’m pretty happy with the result not being a developer. I’ve also had to setup the company and company Bank account. Hoping to go live anytime soon.

    3. 1

      I found using stripe makes it as easy as embedding an iframe.

      1. 1

        Stripe is definitely easy to use once you understand its details, but I found documentation a bit overwhelming + it took me a bit of time to understand how to set a subscription up. It is not super intuitive with Products and Prices at least not until you realise that they have merged Plans with Products and Prices.

  5. 1

    If you're talking about SaaS for businesses. For me it's two things:

    1. Integration with an existing technology stack.
    2. Managing the ego of the person who currently manages whatever process that your software fixes. If they feel threatened, they will be defensive/talk behind your back to their coworkers/completely ignore you.

    How I get around this? Find the decision-maker that is fed-up by whatever your process fixes.

    I found a business that was being charged ~$850 / month for a tech stack that cost the vendor $50 (I think -- they weren't very sophisticated). The client kept saying "I don't know what I'm getting for this."

    I offered to build a similar stack and be available for questions anytime (be careful with this) for $1,500 up front and $200 / month in recurring charges.

    I now email them 1x a week saying "Hi, is everything still going well?" for the most part they just pay me and ignore my emails.

    Biggest regret? Should have priced higher, but I'm always learning.

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