From Idea to Picture Printing Service in 2 weeks

Jordan Nemrow had an itch that he needed to scratch; he was struck with an idea for an app for baby boomers. Send a picture message via text and get it printed and shipped to the recipient you specify. Sounds simple enough, if you know which tools to use:

I used Lob to do the physical printing and shipping. They are a Y-combinator startup that has a sweet api for just that.

I began using Twilio (which was an obvious choice for integrating text messaging for me). I soon realized Twilio does not allow MMS (picture messages) in the US, so I searched and quickly came up with Mogreet. I got pretty much what I needed from them (they also have really great customer support and nice people).

Paypal had two major components I needed: micropayments, and pre-approvals. If you have transactions under $12 micropayments have a smaller fee. Pre-approvals allow me to send a pay request without the user confirming each time (necessary for a “text transaction”). I used their adaptive payments gem which was super easy to integrate.

Lastly I used AWS S3 to store my images. Prior to storing them in the cloud, I needed to trim them down to 4” x 6” which I completed fairly easily using imagemagick.

In less than two weeks, Jordan had Pigeon up and running. Funny enough, four days after Jordan posted this writeup, Twilio announced their new MMS offering.

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