Mixpanel gives us a dashboard for our business, and shows us how people are using our app. Being a consumer app, it's very important to keep track of engagement and retention on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. Something we’ve found about Mixpanel over Google Analytics is that they have cabs that highlight retention, and you can ask them to display users who have sent a message on Point, and are still using us 30 days later. Mixpanel makes that query very easy, and we can accomplish it in two clicks. With some of the other platforms, you have to create custom events and custom reports, so Mixpanel makes it easy to gauge the overall health of your app and user interactions within their app. You can look at daily numbers, as well as trends over time. Mixpanel gives you great insight into determining holistically how your product is doing when you're in Seed stage and have to look closely at retention numbers and cohorts. Once you have that holistic picture, and you have to start looking into micro-optimizations, it's time to move more toward a more sophisticated service. Once you begin to ask more nuanced questions--like if you want to see a user who has used the app six times in the past month, has 15 connections on the product, and you want to see three things about that person--for that you might need a service like Looker. We've explored Looker a little bit, and it provides really robust analytics insight into these very specific questions you want to answer. We were told about Looker by someone at Venmo--they used it for evaluating why a design change led to people making mistakes or duplicate payments.
Slack allows you to set up separate channels as necessary for your teams, so you can have rooms devoted to various departments, projects, etc. It's both a desktop and mobile app. The chat function is good, and it’s great for messaging my team one-liners and asking quick questions about various products. But it's most helpful in serving as a newsfeed between your different systems (Trello, GitHub, Twitter--they integrate with every major service a startup would need). It's also great for file sharing and searching, and I've seen some larger teams use it, too. I can't fathom not using Slack and going back to email.
We use MailChimp for sending our newsletter campaigns to users and welcome emails to new users. It’s a very thoughtful product that takes what could be a complex/daunting task and makes it very simple. You upload an email into a pre-made template and it integrates with your current analytics platform. I knew nothing about email marketing or mass emails before this, but MailChimp has made it super easy, and their onboarding is fantastic.
I've been keeping our books in a spreadsheet, but I recently signed up to use Bench to handle bookkeeping before taxes. I haven’t explored them too much, but from the onboarding standpoint, and from reviews I've read, it seems to be a good platform.
I can’t recommend ZenPayroll more highly. I attempted to use QuickBooks, but the interface wouldn’t tell you that you needed to send critical documents or certain things to link with your bank account. I cancelled QuickBooks after two months of hassle, and within that time, I was able to set up ZenPayroll. They’ve been awesome. It’s a beautiful, well-thought-out product, and they do a phenomenal job.
I'm a huge fan of Trello. It's so effective for us because we’ve developed a good system for using it. When we think about new features for our product, they come from either internal ideas or from user feedback. We want to keep those separate because the two pools may not overlap, and user feedback sometimes takes priority. Trello gives you a way to create two separate lists to organize your ideas. What's really interesting is that Trello’s card format is very flexible. Every time we get a piece of feedback, I can add it to a Trello card. so when we move into a stage where we want to start designing for a feature, we can just upload those comments and add the designs directly to the card itself. This makes it really easy for our whole team to look at the entire evolution of specific features and keep track of things. As the complexity of the team and the product grows, Trello might not be the best, but I haven’t explored different possibilities yet to know what might be optimal. The nice thing about Trello is that it is very flexible, so depending on how big your team is and how different organizations within your company are set up, it allows you to be the creator of your system and customize it however you want. It could work for a slightly larger team, but I'm not sure it's something we'll be using when we have 30 people. Their mobile app is also awesome.