I ran online local community groups over whatsapp, facebook (and also on Google+) for the past 7-8 years. I earned nothing out of them, but just satisfaction. I reached the membership of 1-2 thousand active members (not counting inactive).
In recent times, I thought of promoting my groups in a proper/better way. But when I enquired about the cost of getting such a website cum android app developed, it was at all not possible for me (notwithstanding the fact that my routine business has been wound up for some unforeseen circumstances)- from 50K INR to 1.5 Lac INR!!!
And then, when I had almost quit, somehow my eyes went on/received a mail about INR 21000 free credits being offered by Google Cloud. Which inspired, rather forced me, to dig further.
And when I was fiddling with GCP (because it was totally free after all, I could fiddle with it as much and as long as I wanted), I fiddled with its Marketplace. And then I happen to note that its market had Bitnami offerings in it.
And one day when I was just checking out all the offerings by Bitnami, I noticed that bitnami’s own support forum was wonderfully built. And simultaneously I happened to note that there was a matching product named ‘Discourse’ being offered by Bitnami, free of cost (you won’t perhaps believe, that I had experimented with so many free products in last 2-3 months on google, that I had to assure myself that this was my last search, last endeavour which I was wasting my time on)
Well, now I had 3 free things: Google Cloud + Bitnami + Discourse. And it was perhaps all that was required to build a forum website, which was otherwise so costly for me just a couple of months back that I could never have it built. Even if I could, the same couldn’t be evolved without proper finance. And without evolution, no product can last.
So I built from scratch, learned linux commands (I’m around 50) by reading again and again, asked questions, searched answers on Disco forum. But whenever I tried to take feedback from the market, it became more and more evident that without Whatsapp type push notifications, my membership would remain only on WA and FB, they won’t migrate to a new platform (I’ve nothing big to offer them, except a local guidance type tips).
So friends, I started experimenting much, daily, much, and finally, when I found today that how easily I could attach my disco website notification with telegram and last thing I wanted (Push Notifications) was possible for me. Now I just have to have people install telegram and that’s all. I can add their number in my telegram broadcast/channel and start pushing the group activity to them.
And unbelievable that somebody made such a wonderful product without any cost???
World is really going to end soon!!