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Thoughts and Solutions

Recently we transitioned from using SendGrid for DropDAV’s email delivery to Mailchimp’s Mandrill. SendGrid’s got a foul smell about it in general these days, and we had approached our send quota for the month too quickly, so switching to Mandrill would give us an instant win by not having to upgrade our SendGrid account’s plan. Happily, switching on Heroku was as simple as adding the Mandrill add-on, changing the SMTP settings in our Rails app1, deploying and removing the SendGrid add-on.

Cruising through all of the numerous Mandrill Control Panel options, we found the ability to email a designated address any time an email sent to one of our users fails for some reason. Curious, I subscribed my email address to the alerts to learn how many, if any, of our emails were bouncing and why.

The bounced/rejected/no-such-user emails started pouring in.

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My ruminations that would eventually become smiles+laughs company began in my Durham dorm room in Fall 2009. I was so focused on building the kind of job I would enjoy doing, and be proud of, that it’s fortunate it took roughly another year after graduation before the business began to produce meaningful income—because I would not have known what to do to keep the money legitimate and legal.

This is how we manage the money now, our “Accounting for Hackers”. It’s all bootstrapped, and a mix of income from our customer-delighting products like DropDAV and Time Card Vault, and our consultancy—we’re taking on new clients right now, so shoot Korey Tichenor an email to get started onboarding—which is a mix of fixed price and hourly jobs, almost all with a retainer paid up-front.

I am not a trained or professional accountant, or a lawyer. This really is how we do things, but you may want to do things differently. I’m happy to resolve any questions in the comments, to the best of my ability, but if this post whets your appetite and you want to work with a great accounting firm, I highly recommend Hymel & Ready—their advice has contributed thousands to our bottom line.

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contact@smileslaughs.com

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