Posts tagged startup
So, over the past few weeks, I've been putting together a tech mentorship program for aspiring developers. The mentors helping out are amazing. If you know any smart developers, feel free to pass this info along.
Details & apply: http://bit.ly/kM9hoX
NextNY presents the NYC Tech Mentorship Program, in collaboration with General Assembly. It is connecting a select group of smart developers with top startup leaders serving as mentors. The goal of the program is to help high-potential techies reach into the startup world through advice, mentorship, and the wisdom of tech leaders who have been in their shoes. It will be an opportunity for developers to ask questions relevant to their goals and situations, and get personal feedback from industry vets.
How it works:
- Each mentor gets paired with one or two developers
- Each mentor and their mentees meet once a month from May-August
- Meeting is over lunch or coffee, and we'll leave it to each group to pick time/place
- You are a bona-fide techie. You have a degree in CS or have worked as a developer professionally.
- You're looking to get involved (or more involved) in the tech startup world.
- The program is free, but we ask that you pay for your mentor's coffee or lunch as a thank-you.
- Andrew Kortina, Venmo (twitter.com/kortina)
- Carter Cleveland, Art.sy (twitter.com/carterac)
- Chris Maguire, Postling (twitter.com/revolvingdork)
- Dana Spiegel, AxialMarket (twitter.com/danaspiegel)
- Dmitri Tcherevik, MightyMeeting (twitter.com/cherevik)
- Eliot Horowitz, 10gen (twitter.com/eliothorowitz)
- Kevin Owocki, Ignighter (twitter.com/owocki)
- Liz Crawford, Birchbox (twitter.com/liscrawford)
- Mike Lewis, SpotOn (twitter.com/mlewislogic)
- Naveen Selvadurai, foursquare (twitter.com/naveen)
- Nick Ganju, ZocDoc (twitter.com/nganju)
- Pete Miron, Knewton (twitter.com/petemiron)
- Simon Murtha-Smith, Singly (twitter.com/smurthasmith)
- Vanessa Hurst, Paperless Post (twitter.com/dbness)
Deadline is midnight May 11, EST.
Tweeting "Apply for the NYC Tech Mentorship program by May 8th http://bit.ly/kM9hoX" might get you bonus points.
Starting a business means that my roles just got very generalized. It's all on me now, so I'm going to call myself a Developer. I'll be tackling a combination of Software Development and Business Development, so it seems apt. Toss some Market Development in there and we really got ourselves a party.
For this week, I'm sticking with the business side of things. No point in jumping the gun on writing code. Running full speed won't get you across the finish first if you're running in the wrong direction.
What have I been working on this week? A business plan.
I've heard a lot of talk in the tech community like "Don't bother with a business plan, just make a great product." I think that's a cop out. How long does it really take to write a business plan anyways? You can crank a rough draft out in a day. The benefit is not even the product itself. There is a disconnect between what you think, and what you can verbalize. Getting your idea into a formalized document helps with that. It forces you to organize your thoughts, articulate your assumptions, and nail a stake down on your priorities. That articulation is incredible content as you form your image. Trust me, the elevator pitch that gurgles out of your head is nowhere near as nice as one that was cherry-picked from the best ideas in your business plan.
Software development before you have a vision for your business is just an engineering way to procrastinate. Code is easy, business is hard. Cry about it, then go write your business plan.
I'm starting a business. Not just developing a software product (been there, done that), but starting a business built upon a software platform.
What's this business do you ask? Well, it's in the event-planning space. Yes, I know it's already crowded, but what space isn't on the internet. I believe that I have a better take on it than the companies already out there. I might share details here as I go forward, but I'm not ready to spill the beans quite yet. If I know you in person, expect to get my elevator pitch and be asked for brutally-honest feedback.
I'm sharing this announcement because a significant amount of my blog posts in the near future will be revolving around this leap. I'm certainly not going to structure it as a "how-to" for starting your own internet business, but more of a travelogue about what I'm putting into it. Feel free to follow along at home while I take the plunge full-time.
Feel free to share this with anyone else you know who's in the same boat or is thinking about it. I'd love to hear from people who have done this before.
Note: Yes, that's me bungy jumping. Yes, it feels very much like what I'm doing now
I love MongoDB as a technology, but I'm not even going to argue this from a tech perspective. The point that I want to address here is pivoting. MongoDB scales, it shards, it map-reduces, yadda yadda yadda. I love it for those things, but for a seed-stage startup, it's single biggest asset is the fact that it is schema-less, and does it beautifully.
SQL is phenomenal for enforcing rigidity onto tightly defined problems. It's fast, mature, stable, and even a mediocre developer can JOIN their way out of a paper bag. Save it for your next government defense contract. Build your startup's tech on the assumption that your business premise will change, and that you need to be ready for it. Your data schema is a direct corollary with how you view your business' direction and tech goals. When you pivot, especially if it's a significant one, your data may no longer make sense in the context of that change. Give yourself room to breath. A schema-less data model is MUCH easier to adapt to rapidly changing requirements than a highly structured, rigidly enforced schema.
This advice applies equally to great solutions such as Cassandra, CouchDB, etc. Whatever your flavor is, make sure to give yourself options. Use the most powerful and flexible technologies available to you. If a startup decided to develop their core technologies in C, under the pretenses that "It will handle more traffic per server," I'd laugh in their faces. You won't get that traffic if another company comes along and can crank out better features, and ten times faster than you. Pre-optimization is at the heart of all software evil, and it applies to data design as well. Bring SQL back into rotation after you've found your market, and a specific project calls for it. When you're first searching for that market, use the most flexible tools you can. Use tools that let you move fast, and allow you to salvage as much work as you can from efforts that dead-ended or required a pivot.