Salmagundi for Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Like Being on a Deserted Island

The Lord of the Flies from "The Lord of the Flies"

Evan “First Blogger, then Odeo, now Twitter” Williams says “Starting a company is like landing on the shore of a deserted island”. The first question that came to mind was “Is that a regular deserted island or a special Lost-style deserted island?”

The simile is apt. Earlier this year, I was in a start-up that was pretty much like Gilligan’s Island or the one in Lord of the Flies.

Geeks vs. Suits

The techie view of a company vs. the business view

In the blog pl patterns, Jonathan Tran writes about Techies vs. The Business, in which he compares the ways techies and suits look at the same business:

For technical people, they know computers. They know software. Given the right resources, they can make a computer do anything — anywhere, anytime. Their deep-rooted belief is that passive income can be achieved by writing software once (a fixed cost) and distributing it to millions who each pay a fee (variable income).

For business people, they know cashflow. They know the symbiotic relationship between employees and business owners. And in this day and age, there will always be people looking for jobs. Given the right resources, they can employ people to do anything — anywhere, anytime. Their deep-rooted belief is that passive income can be achieved by creating a repeatable business process once (a fixed cost) and teaching it to thousands who each execute the process (bringing in variable income).

What technical-minded and business-minded people are doing is essentially the same. What differs is their belief in what scales.

Future Creep

Zapp brannigan from "Futurama"

Over at 37signals’ blog, Jamis Buck says Beware of Future Creep, warning us about the dangers of adding infrastructure to your products in preparation for features that may or may not be added later. It’s a variation on the YAGNI (You Ain’t Gonna Need It) principle.

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