Going live

As a developer, the most exciting moment about your product can easily be when people start making use of that shiny new code you pushed, and everything hums along just fine. Or not. For some reason, I tend to prefer the latter, because you see the problems right away, and get to work fixing them which eventually culminates in that additional sense of pride in your work.

We promised the world we would move Paystack to public beta back in December. As a matter of fact, we raced towards making this happen between December 7 and 11. Rhyme not intended. These were nights without sleep for me, well partly because my clock also hadn’t fully adjusted to Nigerian time as I found myself sleeping more between the hours of 11am and 6pm. Then the slow downs began. It was like finishing 98% of the work, and then taking your sweet time to do the remaining 2%. There was one excuse or the other for not finishing up. Random retouches to parts of the already completed 98%, and occasional implementation that go on a tangent and actually belong to a different sprint altogether. I had dreamed and visualized a go live post on the 1st of January, but oh well.

Eventually, we decided the second weekend in January would be it. And boy, did we look forward to it. It was also the weekend my cofounder and I would be moving to our new apartment in Sunnyvale - a post on this later. Saturday came and yes we knew it was going to be a long day. What we didn’t realise early enough was that we were not going to touch one line of code the entire weekend. People still reached out to me to confirm if we were going live on Sunday as earlier promised (that is supposed to be Saturday night over here) and sure I kept reassuring them. Then of course reality did what it does best and I didn’t make it back home till around 11pm, after a long day at IKEA getting furniture (bed frames, mattresses, tables, and chairs) and Walmart shopping for groceries. Nobody told me moving into a new house in a strange land was going to be that stressful.

Then came Sunday and furniture assembly. By the time I was done putting my bed together, I had already spent a little over two hours on the matter. And it was 9pm. Of course that meant only one thing. We had to disappoint everyone again. I went quiet and didn’t as much as whisper on social media, before someone calls me out and goes hey dude, where’s Paystack? First thing I did on Monday morning was to begin running logical end to end tests to make sure nothing critical was broken with the new system. I mean, we were switching from the current private beta which is fraught with a lot of hand-holding to something more self service, just like online payments was intended to be. It wouldn’t be a good look to have mundane issues we could have sorted out before exposing our asses to the public be in the picture, plus we needed to ensure our current merchants transition smoothly with little to no hitch.

If you are reading this, you are seeing what has come to replace the paragraph that used to be here. Sorry, but it’s not much. Something about me doing the… haha, you almost got me!

The next morning, Shola and I went over what we had, brooded over a couple of stuff regarding presentation, developer experience with the documentation and what not. Eventually, we reached a “fuck it” moment and made the switch. It was 6pm. Well, 3am in Nigeria, which was a perfect time. Worst case scenario, people would wake up to issues in another four hours and we would be there to sort them out.

Yes, someone woke up to issues, and it didn’t take them 30 minutes after we “went live”. Lol. I’m not even sure I know exactly what was wrong at the time but I’m going to blame it on a rogue caching problem for now pending further investigation. The developer was trying to do an integration with his website and couldn’t make a change on the new dashboard. Random CORS issue from hell. At the same time, the deployment on AWS kept going into an unstable state and all sorts of mails were coming in. This didn’t fucking happen on the test environment which has been running for several weeks now, and what we did code wise was basically merge our development environment into production and deployed. Satan? I took a little “fuck it” break and decided I would look at it later. Then I randomly picked up my phone about an hour later to see if the problem persisted, only to see it had stopped an hour ago. Like I said, pending further investigation.

Long story short. Our self service is now live and we have essentially graduated to the status of “public beta”. Gotta love labels, right? Anyway, give Paystack a try. I am still putting finishing touches to the documentation and stuff, but that should be up in another 24 hours. In the meantime, the time is 23:10 and I’m off to watch some Netflix.


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