You Need ngrok

Ran into sort of an ugly problem last night pushing version 2 of my latest app MoneyPhone into production. I did all of the testing for the app on my desktop computer and used Chrome Dev Tools to make sure everything looked good on mobile and tablets. However, after pushing my V2 update/redesign to my server, I quickly found that the new version of my site looked awful on small/low-res laptops such as my 11 inch Acer Chromebook. Whoops!

So, today I’m getting started with ngrok so I can make sure to test my app on actual devices during development and avoid making the same mistake next time around. If you don’t know what ngrok is, it is a tool for exposing your local webserver (http://127.0.0.1:5000 or just http://127.0.0.1 etc.) to the greater world wide web.

Conclusion: You I need ngrok.

 

9,000 to 0 and Other Uncomfortable Truths

I met up with an old friend of mine from college today. We’ve known each other for 13 years, and earlier today he hit me up out of the blue. He said he was in town from Lubbock and wanted to hang out. I dropped everything I was doing (about to get started working on my startup for the day on my day off), and met up with him in North Dallas.

It was good seeing him, but it was really quite disappointing. I told him about the project I’ve been working on hoping he might be somewhat interested in what I’ve been up to. But he didn’t really care, and completely refused to try my new app. And that’s when an uncomfortable truth set in.

To date I’ve acquired over 9,000 users for my most popular app, RoboStop (a telemarketer call blocking application for Android). RoboStop is a real app, with real users, and I receive real emails and reviews on the Google Play Store from people telling me how much they love the app. However, none of those 9,000 people are friends, family, or acquaintances. I literally convinced 9,000 people to use my app before a single person that I know in real life. Uncomfortable but true. Thinking back, I probably should have ignored my friend’s text and just kept working on my startup for the day. It’s 7:11 PM now, so that’s an entire work day wasted.

Lessons learned: your time is valuable, and your friends– maybe not so much. Don’t waste your time on zero, go for the 9,000 strangers instead.

EDIT (5/19/2019): Shout out to a certain someone that wishes to remain nameless that has been giving me some help with MoneyPhone, and another certain someone that is at least considering signing up.

 

Coworking & Virtual Office Space? Startups & Keeping Up Appearances

Another short post here with a little information that I want to bookmark. About a month ago I launched a new personal finance app called MoneyPhone.app to help me better manage my money. The app works great, but has been a complete dud with the public. The main problem so far has been convincing people to link up their bank accounts to my site using Plaid’s banking api. People seems to think my site is some sort of Russian phishing farm or something.

While I’m not one for “keeping up appearances” and tend to value substance over the superficial, I think I need to do the opposite in this case if I want to win over users. Therefore, this Summer I plan on incorporating my startup to add a little legitimacy to the whole thing, and possibly more importantly, it’s time to get a real (Dallas) address!

After doing a little research this morning I found headspace.com where for $200 per month or so I can get a virtual office address here in Dallas, and also some limited co-working access to the same location. I think this could go along way towards adding credibility to my endeavor. So instead of having my website footer read “Christopher Pedersen dba. MoneyPhone (c) 2019,” it will look something more like “MoneyPhone Inc. (c) 2019, 2345 Elm St. Dallas, TX 75022.”

 

What language, framework, or game-engine was used to create mope.io?

Some of my students have been playing a lot of mope.io lately when they’re suppose to be coding during our lessons, so one thing I like to do when this happens is talk about the tech used to build whatever game they happen to be playing before I block it. However, I’ve had a little trouble trying to figure out what language/game-engine/framework was used to create mope.io. But tonight I think I happened to stumble upon the answer. According the creator of mope.io Stan Tatarnykov’s Stack Overflow profile he seems to be using the Cocos2d engine and is either using JavaScript, TypeScript, or CoffeeScript. Boom there’s the answer! Wonder if anyone will ever be looking for the answer to this question and happen to stumble upon this post. Hmm…

 

The Startup That Powers Venmo, Coinbase, & Robinhood

About a month ago I launched MoneyPhone.app, a personal finance application for monitoring your spending habits (powered by Plaid). However, I’ve been having the hardest time trying to convince users to trust my app enough to link their bank accounts. Everyone seems to think my site is some sort of Russian phishing site.

So per the advice of my friends, family, coworkers, and strangers on the internet, I’m working on redesigning my site so that it is very clear that the mechanism for linking your bank account to my application is securely enabled by Plaid, the startup behind household names Venmo, Coinbase, and Robinhood.

I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to do this yet, but I just wanted to start bookmarking links to articles about Plaid here on the blog. So without further ado, here is my collection of links/stories on Plaid:

 

Marketing Like Mike Lindell

After launching MoneyPhone.app about a month ago, I’ve been having the hardest time trying to market it. If you don’t happen to follow my blog, MoneyPhone.app is a personal finance application that I built to help me better manage my money. Essentially the app lets you know exactly how much money you’re bringing in each month, how much you’re spending, and most importantly, where all your money is going! In my first month of using the prototype I saved $600 by cutting out wasteful spending that I identified by using the app.

However, I still haven’t figured out how to get people to use the thing! I know it’s good because I literally use it everyday. And it’s already saved me a ton of money, and I know couldn’t live without it having used it for the past month or so.

At work I can’t shut up about the thing, and how I’ve been having trouble attracting users, so my boss (who doesn’t wish to be named here on the blog) offered to help me with marketing. Her two main suggestions were creating a better YouTube Ad (mine was pretty terrible), and improving my non-existent landing page so that it includes basic stuff like (who, what, where, when, why, etc.)

While the animated infomercial that my boss created was a whole lot better than the crummy video that I shot on my Moto G4 smartphone, I kind of want to shoot a commercial in the style of Mike Lindell, creator of MyPillow. For years I’ve been obsessed with this Mike Lindell guy, and TV pitchmen in general for that matter. But unlike other pitchmen, Mike Lindell is actually the guy. I mean, he is MyPillow essentially.

So that’s what I think I want to do going forward. I’m going to try and go full Mike Lindell and become the MoneyPhone.app guy.

 

God Bless visiondirect.co.uk or Where to Buy Contact Lenses Online with an Old Prescription

If you happen to have visited my blog before, you know I love to bookmark stuff here. So I just wanted to bookmark another wonderful site so I can find it in the future: visiondirect.co.uk

For some time now I’ve been buying all of my glasses and contact lenses online. One of the great benefits of this is avoiding the Luxottica glasses monopoly here in the United States that is wildly driving up the price Rx glasses. Another great benefit of purchasing your glasses online is that you don’t have to pay a doctor to write you a new prescription every year! What a racket that is!

I believe the most well known online glasses dealer, Warby Parker, requires you to submit a valid prescription. So I personally use 39DollarGlasses.com which does not require a valid unexpired prescription. However, I always have a hard time remembering who to use for contact lenses (that doesn’t require a valid unexpired prescription). After a little digging through my Gmail it looks like I last used visiondirect.co.uk, so that’s who I am ordering through right now as I type (in a different tab of course).

$33.56 (or £25.97 GBP) for three pairs, boom, done! Who knows how much that would have cost going to the doctor. Big shout out to Vision Direct & 39DollarGlasses.com!

 

The Number One Predictor of Startup Success

 

Want to use TurboLinks in Your Python/Flask Application? You need Intercooler.js!

Okay, so another click-baity SEO friendly title I know. This blog post would have been more appropriately titled, “Just Discovered Intercooler.js, It’s like TurboLinks/StimulusJS Except You Don’t Need Rails.” Anyway, wanted to make sure I bookmarked this here on the blog because I’m definitely going to use this to turn my web-app into an SPA (Single Page Application) without having to re-write everything and learn React etc. Furthermore, I have a few other sweet links I need to bookmark as well. After I bolt Intercooler.js onto MoneyPhone.app, I think I will be able to use PhoneGap/Apache-Cordova along with OnsenUI to create a pretty decent Hybrid Mobile App for MoneyPhone.app that I’ll be able to publish on the App Store & Google Play Store.

Not sure if anyone else on the ole interwebs is ever going to see this, but if you happened to Google something like “can I use TurboLinks in my Python/Flask application,” I hope this blog post has helped point you in the right direction!

 

Super Simple RoulettePy Tutorial