Telegram – my new Notification Center for Everything

Just days ago,Bloomberg Technologywrote about the founder of Telegram,Pavel Durov, and how he plans to run the messenger in a completely different way than most other startups are built nowadays. At the same time, messengers are becoming more and more important with the bot revolution, and the interface of messaging with an AI is getting stronger.

I Was really excited to read more about his background and the story of Telegram. Hear that the encryption used by Telegram is robust, that the messenger is experiencing some incredible growth, and that it’s here to stay. This gives me the confidence to build more on top of this platform.

Recently I launched@DomainWatchBot— a bot that monitors domains for you and tells you when they are expiring. But it’s not the first project I built for this ecosystem. Let’s talkPushNotice.chat:

PushNotice.chat — Your Server Should Talk to You

Let’s start with the reason why I made this: early 2017, I launchedWriterSprints, as mentioned in myarticle about the project, and it lay dormant for the better part of this past year. In August I updated some things on the server and had to check if everything’s still working OK. So I visited the landing page for WriterSprints (which displays the number of registered users) and was quite surprised! I noticed that we had almost 100 registered users — and I didn’t even notice.

This experience sparked the need for some way to tell me stuff like that. Yes, sure some kind of dashboard would do the job, but how quickly will that fade into the background? The next idea I came up with was notifications send to me via one of the chat applications that I already have on my phone. No additional installation required. About 2 hours later I had the first proof of concept running withTelegram, integrated intoWriterSprints, sending me notifications about new user registrations, and players who join a game on there. Success for now.

But hold on: a couple days later, I told a friend about the project, and he got pretty excited and said he’d like something like that for his project as well. Why limit it to just my own stuff? Isn’t there more that I could integrate, open this up, build an API, run it as a startup? Well — why not try and see where this could be going.

So I sat back down and made a plan. What’s the MVP of this? What do I focus on? Make it more usable, make it more stable, and understandable. And this is where I quickly fall into thepremature optimization (a trap that I see many makers fall into, MVP is what we need first).

Long story short: I optimized some parts, and launched it to theWIP.chatCommunity. The feedback that I got from these guys was very encouraging (a community organized in Telegram Groups and makers themselves felt like it’s the perfect spot to put something that’s targeting the marked of solopreneurs and makers). But then I hit a brick wall again.

To Launch or Not to Launch

With the feedback that I gathered from the first 60+ users I once again sat down and improved a little more. But this time more focused on reliability and adding some features to give more value. But I one more aspect came to mind: monetization.

When and how? There are so many ways, but that’s a subject for a later post. I decided to first implement a Stripe 60$ per year patronship which I would later turn into a premium account that would have additional features. But that’s just another procrastination which is pushing the official launch of this MVP further away. Sure it’s nice to give users the opportunity to pay. But there have to be users first. Eventually there will be more.

So with all this being said, I am ready to putPushNoticeto the test. Give it out there. I realized that it’s more valuable to have something shipped and improve later. Collect feedback and ideally get encouraged by it (and if that’s not the feedback, maybe it’s good to not focus on it for longer and shelf the project early).

Conclusion for Today

Launch fast, early, and incomplete. If people are excited about what you are doing, you can find ways to improve and monetize later. It’s a learning process. But make sure you have a way to connect with those people again: in my case, I am going to send out broadcasts within the bot. For you, it might mean collecting email addresses for a newsletter subscription. Either way: tell people when you change something in the software and get them excited about new features.

If you’d like to try PushNotice out and add it to your SAAS project so you can get notifications about all kinds of things happening in the system, please head over toPushNotice.chat. The bot will tell you what to do. And if you are using Node.js you are in luck — since I am using that language, I created anNPM packageto integrate thePushNotice APImore easily (but it dearly needs some more documentation as well 🙈).

If you have any struggles with the bot or feedback about this article and my work, please contact me onTelegram @ChrisSpiegl! I hope your server learns to talk soon.