Author Archives: Dave Mulder

GoSoapBox Blogosophere Roundup

A lot of people talk about GoSoapBox, but previously we have done a poor job of acknowledging what’s being said. In 2013, we’re going to fix that by rounding up references to GoSoapBox on the web. We don’t care if what’s being said is positive or negative – if someone has taken the time to write about us, we want to thank them for their feedback.

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TechInspire.Me Talks with John Pytel

Photo of Erica Grigg

Erica Grigg of TechInspire.Me

During Techweek 2012, Erica Grigg of TechInspire.Me stopped by the GoSoapBox booth to interview our company’s glorious leader, John Pytel.

Erica is the blogger behind TechInspire.Me and, in her free time, serves as the Director of Marketing for KeyLimeTie, a full-service web and mobile app development shop located in Chicago.

You can listen to the audio interview over at the TechInspire.Me website.

This interview is part of a series of Erica’s ambitious “50 Startups in 50 Days” project, where she is interviewing CEOs and Founding Members from startups around Chicago and beyond.

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GoSoapBox at Techweek 2012

If you were at Techweek 2012 in Chicago, you may have seen the GoSoapBox crew hanging around. We were exhibiting from Friday, June 22 through Monday, June 25, showing off our flagship product to the Windy City’s tech crowd.

Dave and John at Techweek 2012

(That’s John Pytel on the left and Dave Mulder on the right.)

Techweek was a great fit for us in part because it took place only a few floors away from our office at 1871, but also because it gave us a chance to show off our new GoSoapBox for Conferences offering.

Because this was our first time exhibiting GoSoapBox, we waited until the last minute to prepare our booth materials. Naturally, we had to scramble to get our poster ready as well as our handouts. Our setup wasn’t as glamorous as others (hey! we’re bootstrapping here), but we still had a great time meeting a lot of interesting people from Chicago and beyond.

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Performance improvements, bug fixes, and no-refresh-necessary buttons

Over the weekend, we pushed a few updates to GoSoapBox.

Integration with Amazon Elasticache

Amazon Elasticache is a distributed in-memory cache environment. We are using the service to reduce database load, which has been our primary bottleneck. There may be a few bugs yet to work out, but our initial testing indicates that everything is working the way it should be.

Bug Fixes

Two weeks ago, you may have noticed that the comment reply bubble disappeared from the Social Q&A feature. We had to temporarily disable the script that figures out how many replies a Question has received. But that’s all sorted out now and the bubble is back where it should be.

Social Q&A Quick Manage Buttons

Next to each audience-submitted question in Social Q&A are two “quick-manage” buttons.  We call them quick-manage because, prior to their existence, you had to click into a question and then find the “Remove This” link from that page. Quick-manage buttons were added to reduce the number of clicks, but it still meant a page reload, which can take a few seconds if you are on a slower data connection.

We’ve taken this a step further by making the Social Q&A buttons work without a page reload being necessary. The next you click one of those buttons, the question will gray-out and then disappear a moment later. It’s like magic!

The same kind of no-refresh-necessary behavior will be coming soon for quick-manage buttons on other features, so stay tuned.

Monday 5/28 Update: Instant Polling and HTTPS

Every few weeks, we make changes to GoSoapBox. Updates typically include new features, bug fixes, and code improvements for better performance and stability.

On Sunday, we rolled out our latest changes, which are summarized below.

New Feature: Instant Polling

We added a new Polling feature for GoSoapBox, called Instant Polling. Instant Polling acts similarly to some other polling products in that you can take a pre-existing set of questions (perhaps in a PowerPoint presentation) and give your audience a generic set of responses (A, B, C, D, E, etc).

Instant Polling’s graph updates in real time. You can easily change the number of options, or clear the data for a new question.

A Slightly Different URL

The next time you join a GoSoapBox Event, you may notice that the URL is slightly differently. Instead of pointing to, you will be redirected to

Everything will work the same, and we may switch back to at some point in the future. But for now the application will live on

Introduction of HTTPS

In addition to a new URL (, you will also notice that all our application URLs are using HTTPS, and that they have a nifty lock icon next to them.

HTTPS stands for HTTP Secure, and it is a protocol for encrypting transmissions between your computer and our servers. HTTPS is on its way to becoming a standard for all web applications. You will notice it as a default on other websites like you use, like Google and Facebook.

A New Application Host

Over the last month we have been migrating our application to a new web host, PHP Fog, and this rollout completes that migration. The change was necessary because we want GoSoapBox to be in an environment that can scale to meet the growing demands of our users. With this migration complete, we will be pushing product updates more frequently.

Different Labels on Application Homepage

We have had a lot of people from outside education using GoSoapBox and asking for a version that is not specific to teachers and students. As a first step toward this, we changed the labels on the application to homepage from “Students: Join an Event” and “Teachers: Sign In” to “Join a GoSoapBox Event” and “Sign In”.