- People, even founders, come and go in a new business.
- Infrastructure is fundamentally different from flights and drinks.
- Err on the side of openness and simplicity.
- Open a credit card.
- Make a Google Apps account for your domain.
- Create a mailing list called firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Use that email address to create all of your accounts.
- On each account:
- Store the account credentials in a google doc.
- Add the billing information, even if you’re cheap.
- Invite everyone.
- Sign up for the essential services.
- Sign up for Dropbox.
Now lets take a closer look at each step:
Open a Company Credit Card
Open a new credit or debit card for your company, to be used exclusively for infrastructure costs. It’s best if the card is tied to a business banking account, but you can get by temporarily with one in your own name if the papers are still being processed.
Do this. Your accountant will love you.
Register Your Domain
If you’re a geek entrepreneur, you probably did this at the bar on day one. For the rest of the audience, getting that domain is the internet version of putting out a shingle.
We highly recommend DNSimple, not just because they’re friends of ours, but because of the wonderful interface, and the super-easy 1-click integrations.
Internet citizenry expect more professionalism than email@example.com. Get your domain hooked up with Google Apps (seriously easy if you use DNSimple), which gives you professional looking email addresses for your team, as well as:
- Vanity Google Groups (such as [firstname.lastname@example.org](mailto:email@example.com))
- Google docs for the company
- Shared calendars
If you have Bob sign up for a service with his own email address, you’ll be SOL when Bob leaves. Of course, Bob won’t quit or get fired, since you’ll never have those issues, but let’s just say that Bob simply ”retires". Even founders retire. You will too.
In the software world, we call this coupling, and it’s a bad thing. So keep all that stuff detached from the actual people in your group by creating a non-human shared address for all of your services. Ours is a Google Group called firstname.lastname@example.org. Email that, and Randall, Bryan and I will tell you to get off our fucking lawn.
Store all account credentials in Google Docs.
The important bit is to store them somewhere, and Google Docs is as good a place as any. We really wish we could store them in a 1Password vault shared through Dropbox, but that’s not yet possible.
Our’s is a spreadsheet that includes the service name, login, password, API key, and notes:
Pay now to reduce friction later.
Your company is a hockey team, and you’re the Zamboni. Your job is to remove any bits of friction they might stumble upon while trying to make the business win. The last thing you want is Sarah calling you while you’re on a beach in Tahiti so she can scale your dynos to handle the latest surge in traffic.
Even if you’re cheap, even if you’ll never use the paid features, add your billing information anyways. That way, Sarah can log in with the robot account to scale that shit up.
Invite everyone to every service.
The robot account holds the keys, so you don’t want it overused. Be sure to add every member of your team to every service you sign up for. Assign that task for all new employees to your PA. Be the Zamboni.
Sign up for the essential services.
Our world is software, so we’re biased in that way. Here’s a list of services every effective software team uses, and that you’ll want to have under your robot account:
- Dropbox: Sign up and share a folder with everyone on the team. Use it for legal docs, design artifacts, etc.
- Campfire: Great group chat service, with Hipchat and Flowchat being strong contenders.
- Pivotal Tracker: The agile development tracker. Seriously worlds above every competitor.
- DNSimple: We mentioned this above, but it’s just a great service for DNS.
- GitHub: Be sure to setup an Organization for your company and add everyone to it.
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