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Zvi Band Relationships are our most important asset.

HeyAstro: Dropping Everything and Jamming for 16 Hours

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When Mike IMed me a few months ago to ask if I would join him and Kunmi for StartupXLR8R, I resisted at first. I am already focusing so much time on STRUCTO, and already distracting myself with side projects like WhoMails.Me and ProudlyMadeinDC (the latter of which Mike is a co-founder), that another project would be too much to handle. But we approached it with a different spin. While we all had our own startups, and all the other teams applying were for the most part well established startups, we were going to go from zero to launch. In two days (16 hours).

We had tossed around a number ideas, but ended up choosing a smaller idea that we knew we could launch an initial version of by 4 PM Sunday afternoon, when it was time to pitch our product for “investors” (not that we had any interest in raising capital for this). We settled on an idea I had, a daily e-mail customized for you.

So Saturday morning, we headed off into our breakout room (thanks Microsoft for an absolutely gorgeous space), and just started cranking out code. Kunmi worked on the frontend display, Mike on the email and configuration backend, and myself on all the data sources. It was an exciting weekend, with sixteen straight hours of heads down, don’t-talk-to-us coding.

By 3:59 PM (we were pushing code as we were walking into the conference room), HeyAstro was born. In the few days since we’ve launched, we’ve had over 150 people sign up, an immense amount of amazing feedback, and a laundry list of new things we want to do with the product.

Sign up for HeyAstro, and let us know what you think!

Final Stack:

  • Ruby on Rails (#FTW)
  • Heroku for Hosting
  • Delayed Job for Queue Management
  • SendGrid for email delivery and analytics
  • Gems, Gems, Gems. There is no way we could have built this in any other language than Ruby, as so much of the backend relied on particular gems. Koala for Facebook, HttParty, Instagram, OAuth etc…

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By Zvi
Zvi Band Relationships are our most important asset.

Zvi Band

Founder of Contactually.
I'm also passionate about growing the DC startup community, and I've founded Proudly Made in DC and the DC Tech Meetup.