Hello – I thought I would get out a quick post and give you and update as of July 15. We completed numerous hurdles this weekend. We have cemented some repeatable install approaches that take less then 5 minutes to get rich reporting working for your calendar invite. See here to download the preview calendarsnack.com debrief. We will be be launching soon!
Over the past couple years, my whole thought process has been about making things easier for the market person in charge of managing something as complicated as a webinar. There are lots of moving parts, and dozens of small details to manage. It doesn’t matter if it’s a “big” webinar or small one – it takes times to bring it all together.
And one of those details is getting the webinar on someone’s calendar. In our technology driven age, you would think that small detail has been solved, but it hasn’t. It’s gotten better, but it’s not solved.
It should be as simple as sending an email. Or as simple as clicking on a single button on a webpage. Because we have very simple goal – to get OUR webinar on THEIR calendar. But that simple and easy goal is extremely difficult to achieve – in the world of technology, what seems simple, can sometimes be a monumental task.
From a technology standpoint, the primary hurdle we are dealing with a delivery service (email) that doesn’t exactly know what to do with a the specific “package” being delivered (calendar invite). Although they are connected, they are actually two different types of technologies, operating under a common umbrella.
Email can be seen as a generic text message (albeit a highly evolved text message), that actually has a very well defined format. On the other hand, a calendar invitation has a different defined format, which needs to be inside the email. And this format can be a bit tricky, and if it’s not “well formatted”, it will just not work. Which is why most people give up, and just send the invite as an “attachment” to the email – eliminating most of the complexity.
What that does is shift the responsibility of getting the invite on a calendar to the invitee. I’ve always thought that was the wrong way to do it. I’m asking them to attend, and ultimately asking them to buy something – therefore, I should make is as easy as possible to remember to attend my webinar. The less work I ask of them, the higher probability of them attending.
So, we go to work everyday on solving the easy problem. We believe it’s our responsibility to take on the hard technology challenges and make it as easy as possible to get an event (in this case a webinar) on someone’s calendar.
We have worked and reworked the solution hundreds of times. We are getting closer to solving it – not just for those using software we like, but across all calendar software. We are almost there in solving the first problem – making sure we send (email) a well formatted invitation (calendar invite), that just works when it shows up.
Stay tuned for more info – because in a few weeks, we will have a solution that can be put on any webpage, and just work. And we are going to make it simple to create and simple for someone to opt-in on your webpage. And when they do, they will get the calendar invite on their calendar without having to do anything else. Our beta site is called Calendarsnack is located here.
So I started off my ISV journey 7 years ago. Just an innocent attempt to get people to my events by sending them a Calendar Invite. If they accepted, I knew that they were coming. Or at least had a better chance of showing up to my events. Along the way I had a Web based Calendar engine built by a local contractor on an old Cold Fusion stack. It worked and we were off on many use cases on how I thought it should work. Some 2200 hours of personal time in testing, UI design, and disastrous blunders on my part as a weekend and after work project I needed break. If this was going to be bigger idea I needed help. Enter a friend named Arnie. Arnie came into the calendar “Thunder Dome” 2.5 years ago. Or about 1800 hrs ago. It has been a part time project for him and he caught the bug as indicated that those hours are after work and weekends.
He helped with so many things – testing , coding , web site, blogging and overall front end animal. I voted him to Co-Founder last year. He is a true inspiration. Then we decided to blow up the old site and start over -literally scrap all the code some – $80K in custom contract coding down the drain.. Not easy. We were both at a loss for 60 days. We knew after talking with several large test customers we needed to get to scale on AWS with SES.
We then started our Pizza Journey into AWS in August 0f 2017. About 3 months ago in February of 2018 we were fortunate to recruit Jonn , who is our lead developer and CTO. We have been iterating using Slack, and brain storming on how to use SES, Python SDK, SNS, Lambda and Arnie’s Vue front end with his run time engine. We have the prototype running now in AWS. Pretty exciting to see the Pizza project running! The test site will be up and running in a few weeks. www.calendarsnack.com. More to come as we attempt to give every marketeer in the world their own calendar server for sending and tracking of Calendar invites!