At TaxJar, our goal is to make sales tax compliance easy. Executing on this ambition while staying lean requires above-average efficiency. We do a lot with a little by being data-driven. Naturally we use Stripe for payments. We could have written our own payments code, but we wanted to write sales tax code. And the Stripe API is just so… pretty. That was an easy decision. (They’re not all like that).
The imperative in the early days was to get high-level metrics with as little work as possible. Boom! Stripe webhooks. (Okay, that was another easy one). We saved these to our application database and exposed them in a lightweight admin. This gave us enough insight into conversions, churn and revenue to make decisions for years.
But as TaxJar grew, decisions got harder, and our need to be data driven became even more pressing. My crude measure of this is the “Hey Bernd” Index (HBI). For the first few years at TaxJar, when people yelled things in the chat like
Hey Bernd, how many customers are enrolled in AutoFile? or
Hey Bernd, how much sales tax did we remit to California last year? I would query app and webhook data from the DB to answer in real time. The “Hey Bernd’s” never piled up — HBI == 0.