Meet Dancer users - Crowdtilt

Will Wolf of the successful startup Crowdtilt kindly agreed to take part in a mini-interview on how Dancer has helped play a part in their success.

Crowdtilt was founded back in February, and within six weeks, CrowdTilt users had raised over $1 million, and has continued to grow ever since.

Crowdtilt allows users to successfully group-fund projects and activities, with nobody paying until the drive "tilts" - reaches the target level.

A couple of fun campaigns include a spectacular Halloween yacht party and New Years Eve in Las Vegas with a private jet, limos and high-class party.

There are plenty of more serious campaigns which Crowdtilt has made possible, too - including a campaign to raise donations for Captain Edward Wesley Klein, a valiant US soldier severely injured by an IED, suffering major injuries - he has lost both legs, his right arm, two fingers on his left hand, and has a broken pelvis. The campaign was to help his family with the medical expenses. Amanda, the organiser of the campaign, set the "tilt" amount at $200 USD. The campaign raised a staggering $30,142.50 USD.

Crowdtilt now have special arrangements for charitable fundraising, including options to automatically send tax-deductible receipts to donors.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Crowdtilt waived their fees for fundraisers to help with the recovery - the Crowdtilt community collectively raised more than $180,000 for those affected by the Hurricane.

Crowdtilt have appeared in the media plenty of times. Forbes stated that "The network is so strong, and the tools themselves are really easy to use and well-designed".

So, CrowdTilt use Dancer?

Yes - Crowdtilt's system is developed by a team of five developers using Perl and Dancer.

I asked Will a few quick questions on how Dancer has contributed to Crowdtilt's success.

  • What drew you to Dancer originally?

    I loved the simplicity and straight-forwardness of Dancer. It's so dead-simple and just gets out of your way. At a startup, you just want to pick tools that let you hit the ground running, and Dancer definitely gave us that.

  • What benefits has Dancer brought to CrowdTilt?

    The Dancer community has always been responsive to us when we've had questions, or pull requests, or issues. That's really important in any software project or piece of technology you use. As I mentioned, Dancer does have a pretty awesome plugin ecosystem, giving us things like Dancer::Plugin::DBIC, Dancer::Plugin::Stomp, etc. Not having to reinvent the wheel is always nice.

  • What would you like to see changed?

    As our Dancer apps have grown bigger, we've had some growing pains with Dancer, but the code base is so simple that it's generally fairly trivial for us to jump in and figure out what needs to be done. We're really looking forward to Dancer2 and think that its OO/Moose core will help a *lot* with some of the stumbling blocks we've run into along the way.

    One of the issues we've run into is with the error hooks. They don't provide an elegant way currently to manipulate all of your error responses as much as we'd like. We have some internal workarounds in place, and would like to eventually push some of those changes back into Dancer. I think these issues should be addressed pretty nicely by Dancer2 as well.

    Another thing I'd like to see is Dancer having support for globally unique id's per request. This is pretty much required in an environment with multiple servers, and trying to track down specific requests in the logs, etc. Currently dancer can give you the "hit #" in the log, which is just a numeric counter, but this resets whenever you restart the app, and will obviously have duplicate entries for different requests across machines and different dancer processes. We currently generate our own guid's per request, but would like to see that functionality moved into Dancer itself.

    Overall, I think Dancer2 will address a lot of the growing pains we've seen, and also that Dancer itself has seen. It's definitely a step in the right direction for the Dancer community, and the work that's been done recently to make the transition to Dancer2 as easy as possibly has been really exciting to watch.

  • Are there any particular opinions, quotes/soundbites etc expressed by any of your team about Dancer?

    Every day I'm a Dancin'.

  • How many people are responsible for development at Crowdtilt? How many of those work on code using Dancer?

    We currently have 5 developers who all touch code using Dancer every day.

  • How many projects/campaigns have been funded through Crowdtilt to date?

    Our founders have asked us not to disclose growth figures or numbers right now, but we'll have a big announcement about them coming soon! I can say that we're very happy with our growth and the direction things are headed. We're having a big impact by enabling lots of people to do and accomplish things they otherwise wouldn't be able to do.

  • What is the average campaign fund?

    Again, without going into specifics, I can say that we have campaigns ranging from $20 all the way to $50,000+. Very frequently, a 'small' campaign will raise orders of magnitude more than they expect. In fact, our campaigns on average raise 188% of their goal, or 'tilt' amount.

  • What is the approximate total funds raised through Crowdtilt to date?

    Six weeks after our launch back in February our users had raised over $1 million, and we've been very happy with our growth and the amount of users we've been able to help since then.

  • Are there any specific campaigns you think ought to be highlighted?

    There are so many great campaigns that flow through Crowdtilt, it's hard to pick out specific gems. Of course the Halloween Yacht Party was a fun one, and if you haven't seen our New Years Eve Party campaign that just tilted on Monday (in a matter of hours, I might add), you can check it out here:

    Those types of campaigns are definitely fun, and a common use case for Crowdtilters, but we really love to see the campaigns that truly have a meaningful impact on people's lives. One of the more recent examples that I love is this one:

    Amanda set out to raise a modest $200 to just get any help she could with medical bills for Captain Klein, and was overwhelmed by the amazing support she received. She ended up raising over $30,000, well beyond what she ever could have imagined.

    Here's another great one put together by the Reddit community, re-uniting a Comic Book writer with his collection:

  • Thanks for taking part in this brief interview!

    Thanks for taking the time to check out our company, and for being a big part of the Dancer community!

Do you use Dancer? Want to share your story?

If you're interested in taking part in a simple interview in how Dancer has helped you for a future advent calendar post, it's not too late, there are still slots left - just drop me a mail!


David Precious (BIGPRESH)