Lessons Learned Birthing and Building Web Start­Ups

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Lessons Learned Birthing and Building Web Start­Ups Mark Fletcher http://www.wingedpig.com May 15, 2006

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Lessons Learned Birthing and Building Web Start­Ups

  1. 1. Lessons Learned Birthing and Building Web Start­Ups Mark Fletcher http://www.wingedpig.com May 15, 2006  
  2. 2. One Nerd, Two Startups • Launched 1998 • Acquired by Yahoo 2000 (as eGroups) • Launched 2003 • Acquired by Ask Jeeves 2005  
  3. 3. Garage Philosophy • Solve a Pain Point • Have Passion for the Idea • Be Cheap!! • Release Early/Release Often (3 Month Rule) – Doesn’ t Have to be Perfect • Involve Your Users  
  4. 4. Garage Philosophy • Moonlighting limits risk • Friends/Family funds • Free services = less pressure • Hire a lawyer • Outsource to eLance/Rent A Coder  
  5. 5. Garage Marketing Philosophy • Wonders of viral growth • Users are all that matters • PR is cheapest marketing you can do • Don’ t worry about biz dev • Pay attention to and leverage blogs  
  6. 6. Design Philosophy • Amy Jo Kim’ s presentation at Etech - Putting the Fun in Functional: http://shufflebrain.com/etech06  
  7. 7. On Raising Money • How Much? • Raising Money Takes Time • Friends and Family • Angel • VC • Debt Financing  
  8. 8. On Being A Sellout • eGroups vs Bloglines • Don’ t sell – be bought • Investment Bankers – What they are – Finding/Interviewing them – Negotiating with them  
  9. 9. Software Choices • Linux/Apache • C/C++/bash/python • DJB (http://cr.yp.to) – qmail – DJBDNS – Daemontools • ClearSilver (http://www.clearsilver.net) • Berkeley DB (http://www.sleepycat.com) • Memcached • Avoid NFS • Avoid table-level locking in MySQL  
  10. 10. Hardware Choices • Dedicated servers vs. Buying/Hosting • Design for cheap hardware • eBay! • APC PDUs for remote power cycling • HP ProCurve • Avoid Seagate Ultra-SCSI drives • Good phone for SSH  
  11. 11. Architecture Choices • Copying files vs. Client/Server – Bloglines News RSS Feed • Calculate on the fly vs. Cache – Subscriber counts • Memory vs. Disk – Notifications  
  12. 12. Storage Choices • Relational DB vs. Flat Files • RAID vs. Redundant – ONElist/eGroups with hardware RAID – Bloglines without hardware RAID • Linux Software RAID 1  
  13. 13. SysAdmin Choices • DNS round robin for web servers • Hot back-ups for off-line processing • Worry about cooling in the co-lo • Avoid using swap  
  14. 14. Avoid Making Stupid Bets…  
  15. 15. Avoid Making Stupid Bets…  
  16. 16. Questions?  

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