The Beginning

March 24th, 2008

Setting and implementing the technology strategy for a startup can either be a simple hit-or-miss or a well thought out, alternatives considered, approach. Either way can work (at least temporarily) and either one can be the best solution for a company.

With that in mind, I think that technology based startups can be classified into one of two broad categories:

*      Startups where the founders are attempting to bootstrap and start on a shoestring budget. In this case, the primary technology decisions are based on launching a prototype/demonstration application as quickly and cheaply as possible.
*      Startups that have enough initial funding so that business and technology decisions can be more considered with respect to the longer term scale and functionality requirements.

While, if successful, both paths will eventually lead to the same destination, the journey may be significantly different.

With the recent proliferation of Open Source web development environments, numerous APIs and inexpensive site hosting, it is now easier and cheaper than ever to prototype and launch technology based startup ideas. This is a good thing since now, more than ever, potential investors want to see a functioning, revenue producing site before investing in the fledgling company. This is not to say that every startup can launch in this manner, however, it is, in some cases much more possible than it was even several years ago.

However, shoestring development can only take you so far. Eventually, if successful, the underlying technology will most likely reach a breaking point, usually recognized through decreased performance and increased errors and the company will be at pretty much back at the same point as where the funded startup started. This is the time where the company needs to take a step back, get a good grasp of objectives, evaluate technologies based upon the objectives and begin designing and developing an application which can support and grow with the business.

Having experienced both scenarios, I will use this blog to discuss and highlight some of my experiences and thoughts on the technology related, and business centered, aspects of a startup. Every couple of weeks I will add my thoughts on a different technology related topic, all of which will consider the issues most important to startups:

*   Cost
*   Functionality
*   Speed of development

and then topics that should be considered, but are sometimes not:

*      Performance
*      Reliability
*      Recoverability