It was another Friday night alone. Our Intercom service had already bipped a thousand times in the last few days. As delighting our customers is one of our team's core values, I found myself a bit overwhelmed with issues to fix, additional exports to implement, and app navigation to enhance. Deceiving someone by not delivering the promised features wasn't an option, so I started monkey-patching the Octobat app. I thought I would certainly have time the following week to refactor my work as I always do in that case. But this time, it did not get well...
Black holes and a revelation
The following week, we had more support questions. And more and more again the week after. As we really needed to ship faster and faster, I had no other choice than monkey patching again, and again.
Even if we always paid attention to code quality, and we still believed in very high expectations regarding availability and performance, we quickly realized we were stuck on this cycle of technical debt and we had to find a way to get out of it.
Paradoxically, it was not a technical issue, or an engineering root cause. The fact was as cruel as it was exciting! We were growing, but we needed to move on! As we implemented more and more customer cases, we realized it wasn't just about automating invoices aggregating Stripe-stored data. Our customers wants more, and they are right. They need to have their full billing flow automated.
So we had just understood web merchants concerns. They want their money to be collected easily - through different payment platforms -, they want to avoid churn or failed payments, they need to be compliant with the law in terms of taxes, invoices, receipts, documents, and accounting has still to be fulfilled...
The current Octobat only handles parts of these flows, as many features - invoices, tax reports, checkout - are already present but need to be tied together. We need to build something stronger and more robust than it is now, but our goal doesn't change at all. We still want a world with no more paperwork. We still want to help you focus on your business. We still think tedious tasks should be automated. And we're here for all of that.
Our MVP days are gone. Now we gonna make it for real!