Breaking Into a Cold Market
At some point, every company and every salesperson is breaking into a cold market. If you’re new in town, have a new product or changing your client focus, you’re suddenly the new kid on the block and need people to talk to you. And they may or may not be interested. If you’re working to generate leads and find business in a new market, here are some tips to help you break the ice.
Like a lot of developers who learned to code 10+ years ago, I got started
learning C++ and Java. The
public static void main and
int sum (int a, int
b) syntax was intimidating but I was determined to power through it so I could
make the next great video game. After struggling with endless compiler errors I
discovered Ruby and my eyes were opened; why would I ever write types again?!
Talking to Developers - Frontend Components
This is the first part in a multi-part series about tips for communicating with developers about all aspects of a web or mobile app. From feature requests to bug reporting to identifying the different parts of an app, communication is paramount for a successful development project.
SEO Friendly URLs in Phoenix 1.3
While Vaporware is primarily a Rails and React shop, we’re always exploring new technologies that’ll help
our clients create the best possible product. Lately, I’ve been doing a deep
dive into Elixir and came across the need to have some SEO friendly
titles for a blog-like feature. There’s a few resources out there already but
none that I could find in the new Phoenix 1.3 world. We’re going to start a new
app from scratch but for the sake of brevity I’m only going to talk about the
Ensuring the Image Loads when Sharing Content to Facebook
When adding the ability to share content to Facebook in a web app, use this method to ensure the image loads correctly on the first try.
Philosophies from the Top Software Companies
As a founder of a startup company, you’d want to know what your company would look like in 5 - 50 years from now. You’re probably constantly asking, “What am I really creating?” “What’s the purpose?”
JWT Fundamentals: How To Easily Share UI Components
When developing a web application, it is often appropriate to divide responsibilities across different “services” that each handle discrete functionality. While this can provide flexibility in the behavior of an application, consistency across branded UI components becomes difficult, as each service needs to maintain its own set of component markup, styles, and scripts.
Lean Startup Mistakes Everyone Makes (& How to Rectify Them)
If you follow entrepreneurs, startups, development companies, or Eric Ries then you’ve probably heard of the Lean Startup Process. Popularized by Eric Ries’ The Lean Startup and commonly discussed through the startup community. Buzzwords such as “MVP” and “Pivot” are often haphazardly applied when implementing the Lean Startup Process as the company business plan.
Four Qualities the Best Custom Web App Development Companies Have
At one point or another, most of us have had an app idea. Some amazing and some…. on the more creative side. You’ve decided that you want to pursue your amazing idea. You’re going to want the best to help you develop the technical side of building an app.
Finding Your Perfect Development Partner
Looking for a technical partner is, more often than not, a complex process. In a previous blog post, we provided a checklist of technical partner interview questions to help guide your search (you can check that post out here).
Triangle Startup Weekend Giveaway
Our last blog post focused on those #OfficeHours we are always tweeting about. If you still haven’t set up a time to chat with us - well, now is the time! We’ve got an awesome giveaway for those who come to office hours. There are no strings attached - we’ll help you with whatever you need.
What are Vaporware Office Hours?
Have technical development questions? Not sure where to start? Come talk to the Vaporware founders - in person - for free - no strings attached.
Technical Partner Interview Checklist
Having trouble getting the tech work done with your startup? Maybe it’s time to hire some higher-level strategic help - time to hire a technical partner. We’ve made a handy checklist of the questions and answers you should (or shouldn’t) be looking for when interviewing technical partners. This is also a small preview for our eBook that is packed with information about technical partners (types, evaluating, comparisons, etc).
Why is Feedback Important for your MVP?
Feedback [feed-bak] noun: A reaction or response to a particular process or activity.
Top 5 Mistakes Non-Technical Founders Make with their Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
Imagine that you’re finally getting things off the ground and developing your MVP. It’s a rough version, which an MVP is supposed to be. You’re aiming to it out quickly and on a small budget. As the project progresses, you may run into a few common pitfalls that unfortunately, risk putting your project at a stalemate. Our blog post on MVP tips for success is a great place to start if you haven’t gotten to the point of making mistakes yet!
Technical MVP Tips for the Non-Technical Founder
Do you have an idea for an app but aren’t quite sure where to start?
Rails Feature Tests With RSpec and Capybara-Webkit
Using RSpec and Capybara-Webkit provide a great workflow for writing feature tests for your rails application. This allows you to write automated tests that are simulating page visits, clicks, filling out forms, etc. This can be extremely valuable in that it is checking every layer of code behind the processes that you instruct it to perform.
Is your Minimum Viable Product Really Minimum?
Having consulted with over 30 startups in the last 3 years, we have experienced working with entrepreneurs that have never launched a company or product before into the marketplace.
How to Define the Features of your App
You’ve created the next Facebook. Billions of users are logging into your app every month to get the latest news and updates from the world – but you didn’t always have this success. What were the first two features that you launched?
The Bottom Line
What will my complete app cost for Vaporware to build it?
The majority of the applications that are built today are not inventing new technologies but are using proven technologies to deliver innovative experiences. For these applications, software apps are the core of a User Experience that is highly scalable and therefore profitable. But if you’re looking to build one of these apps, how much should you expect to invest by the time it’s complete?
A Focus on User Experience
Here at Vaporware, we’re focused on delivering the right products to markets in short deliverable sprints. All products, including minimally viable ones, require the right team of people coming together in a streamlined fashion to deliver on the business goals.
Learning from Failures and Vaporware's First Finished Relationship
At Vaporware, we celebrate our capacity to fail. Whether it is the creative nature of development or our constant drive to improve, failure is a key part of our entrepreneurial culture. Learning from failures is one of the underlying principles of the Lean Startup – and a practice we perform with our clients through every phase of development. We’re so passionate about these principles that we also practice lean principles on our own business, including the importance of failure.
Ongoing Communication, Development Valuation Part 3
To continue the conversation of valuing development, we’re going to explain how we use the expectations (covered in the first chapter) to help mitigate the risks (identified in the second chapter) with the crucial concept of ongoing communication. While this defines a process and mindset that is used throughout the relationship, communication practices are often not discussed or considered at the beginning of a relationship. Vaporware takes great pride in defining communication practices for a healthy relationship up front. If the communication expectations don’t match (or become misaligned) it can often cause rifts in a relationship that fall to a bitter end.
Balancing Risks for Development Valuation
This week, we continue our ongoing conversation about the best way to value development projects. To recap, our 4 steps center around setting expectations, balancing risks, outcome analysis, and ongoing communication.
Setting Expectations for Development Valuation
Last week I introduced vaporware’s process for valuing products we work on, a four step process to determining how much we charge for a product. You already know the outcome, that we charge a weekly rate depending on the effort for a project. But let’s get into the details. The first step to valuing development is setting expectations.
Development Valuation, or Why Vaporware Uses Dynamic Pricing
Being in the consulting business, we’re approached by clients in a variety of ways. But out of all the possible backgrounds and variations, one thing is static: Payment. Investment can come in all shapes and forms. While companies have traded in very unique return structures — including equity, education, connections, licenses, credits, and legal documents — the most successful and standard is cold hard cash. This societal blank check is the universally understood and demanded purveyor of progress.
How to Invest in Development
Is your development team an expense? Thinking about hiring developers or building an application? You’ve probably already considered how much money you’re willing to spend. You may have even looked at a few companies and gotten proposals to fit your budget. But where did your budget come from? Was it money on hand, how much of a loan you could get, or something else?
Job Application Sweeping NC
Over 10 years ago Morris Gelblum was cleaning an office in Raleigh. When he was finished, Morris found a way to replace himself - he invented Sweeps - a company that matches college students with jobs posted by clients.
Bad UX Design - Can it Kill You?
Recently, we read an article about how bad design had killed a little girl. Three nurses had missed an alert that was not clear in the new software. Death is always sad, but when it could have been avoided it is downright heartbreaking. Everything that can be tested, should be tested. If someone had taken the time to test the UX of the hospital’s new software, a young life could have been spared.
What's in a Name?
The irony of our name is lost to most people outside of the tech industry. You know that friend you have that knows how to talk the talk, but can’t walk the walk? That is what the term vaporware is known for in our industry. It is software that is promoted early and often, but then never released. We see this as the old vaporware mindset - making public promises before knowing if you can deliver on those promises.
Website vs. Application
If you’re new to the web development industry or are looking to hire a contractor to develop a website for you, you might not quite understand the difference between web applications and websites. How are these different? Are there different technology skills required for each? Until I started working at vaporware, I didn’t quite understand the difference between the two. Not all websites are applications. But all web applications are websites. Confused yet? Let’s see if I can clear it up.
From the Mountains of North Carolina
Just like millions of people do everyday, Justin Beard uploaded some photos to Facebook (of a place that he was renting). The landlord happened to see them and offered him Ski tickets and free dinner in exchange for the use of his photos on the landlord’s website. This was Justin’s “a-ha” moment. There are plenty of companies doing photo contests, but not a main hub for companies and customers alike to go to create and enter these contests. The idea for SnapYeti was born.
The (CSS) Journey is Better than the Destination
Whether you’re a developer or designer, one unique property of the technology industry is our access to master’s thoughts. Today, we’re treated to not only the outcome, but the entire thought process behind @fat’s CSS evolution process that was once internal to his head and Medium. While we have this great style guide for CSS as a product (included below) we also have the process and evolution, including his past pitfalls and future challenges to consume and build upon. We highly recommend the entire read, even if you only have 20 minutes.
Road to Vaporware
Have you ever sat with a couple of your friends talking about ideas and how you can make things better, then have the realization, “We can do this!” That was the start for vaporware. After that conversation, it took four of us only one week to start the company.
Vaporware, Inc. was founded on July 30th, 2012.