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e-commerce on Observable (STEM books for kids)

Today my wife’s shop launches! Pause and Play STEM Activities Book / Pause & Play / Observable

Observable has really helped her business though the increased agility it has enabled. This shop is actually the v2. The v1 happened because a Berlin local was on the phone to my wife, and wanted to buy the book but refuses to use Amazon. I overhear the conversation, and literally while she was on the phone I made a single button notebook that linked to Stripe, so she could take a digital payment. That person bought the book and we hand delivered it. Since then we have used the v1 to take payments, verify the payment in the mobile Stripe app, then deliver by hand to locals. No complicated backend really needed.

The v2 reflects our reaction to the market knowledge that a non-trivial number of Europeans prefer shopping outside of Amazon ecosystem. So now we add shipping address (feature of Stripe) and and expand to mail delivery too. This a consequence of being able to iterate so fast. This is what programming should be, the bicycle of the mind, that magnifies our ability to do things in the real world. In our case, to give parents ideas on how to edutain their kids.


Shouldn’t the strip api key be in secrets?

Its ok, Stripe has 2 keys, the one in the notebook is the public one. I don’t need the secret one for this simple usecase where there is no downstream automation.



oh, that’s very cool :slight_smile:

Its very cool. Basically I flip a flag saying I want the include a shipping address, I set the acceptable country codes, then Stripe does the shipping form data collection (much better than I could). When someone actually buys, I get a realtime notification on my phone through the Stripe app. I can then log into Stripe and do the associated activity, I can lookup the payment and get the shipping address and email, so its very lightweight, you literally just need a front end to get started on an MVP.

Very cool indeed, Tom. Thanks for sharing.

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I am getting reports that the shop does not work. Though it works for everything I test with, even “Facebook Message’s webview on an iPhone”.

To try me debug I was happy to find sentry.io works well from a notebook.