Your business is growing and you are considering expanding your offering to new verticals. The next phase, if you haven’t done it already, is to add payments and ‘quilty-of-life’ tools to help your teams. A good start tech stack for a business which is growing and adding new products is in the diagram. This is the time to also rigorously review your whole tech stack and start taking things out. Carve out 2 weeks every quarter to spend on the tech stack to stay on top of it in terms of cost, usefulness and to ensure you are using tools fit for purpose. Your business has evolved and what worked during the first 6 months might not work now.
So you have launched. You figured out how to make money and you are ready to grow. A good tech stack for growth businesses is depicted in the diagram. Gowing the business usually requires more people. So your tech stack will need to expand to include user management tools. My guidance here is to make sure you figured out what’s available from Gsuite or Office 365 before adding new complexity. By the way, you should only use either Gsuite or Office 365. Never both. Remember to always avoid complexity. If you like us and many other businesses, you will have Macs and Windows. You should also understand Gsuite or Office 365 offering for user kit management before adding new tools. As a growing business, you will consider adding new customer channels. We added fairly quickly telephony and webchat and also integrations to other (non-core) services. You don’t want to build any of this unless it’s your USP which is very unlikely. Finally, remember to constantly review your technology stack to continuously remove legacy.
Tech Stack for Launch
So you are ready to launch an MVP or ‘open-to-all’ service? Scary, right? Preparing for launch it’s never easy. Bear in mind that no one has many users to start. However, if you have keen investors or an active board, the pressure is on. A good start tech stack is depicted in the diagram. The big difference is analytics and tools the business needs to make a success out of the launch. So a lot of new tools are added to facilitate timely and accurate product usage tracking. Finally, marketing and support tools will make or break the business so overinvest in figuring what works for you. Challenge arguments based on people’s previous experiences. (We used MailChimp at X). Also, remember to constantly review your technology stack to continuously remove legacy.
Stay on the bus
The title comes from one of the TED talks about a photographer changing his style as a response to feedback over and over, and never accomplishing much. The talk’s theory is called the Helsinki bus stop theory as it was told in the context of going back and picking up another bus from the (Helsinki) bus stop and not reaching the destination.
Often investors prefer startups to change “buses” fast so the testable surface area of ideas increases. But as in the TED talk enduring the feedback and building on could be the best way.
On one hand cryptoassets are losing value but there are still fat margins to be made by providing trading infrastructure (eg exchanges) for people looking for a bit of fun.
The author of this article is taking a longer term view about crypto: Will people in 2030 buy goods, get mortgages or hold their pension pots in bitcoin, ethereum or ripple rather than central bank issued currencies? I doubt it. Existing private cryptocurrencies do not seriously threaten traditional monies because they are afflicted by multiple internal contradictions. They are hard to scale, are expensive to store, cumbersome to maintain, tricky for holders to liquidate, almost worthless in theory, and boxed in by their anonymity. And if newer cryptocurrencies ever emerge to solve these problems, that’s additional downside news for the value of existing ones.
After building online mortgages website and backend systems (integrated with top UK banks) using microservices (Azure, NodeJS, Mongo, React) for the new project I picked a less ambitius stack while leveraging teams know how (Azure, NodeJS, MySQL, templated HTML). This article captures my thinking:
- Fail fast – they let development teams focus on delivering features (to prove or disprove a hypothesis) rather than a complicated microservice architecture
- It helps you to understand your requirements (UML diagrams and domain models are not perfect first time they need to evolve)
- Microservices are complicated to develop (e.g. graceful degradation, health checks, retries) and monitor
- Microservices dependencies are difficult to track
The Black Design resources let you conduct a meaningful user observation, engage in product design, and communicate value of your business.
Needless to say that advice here is relevant in 2018 as it was in 2012:
- Everyone starts on fulltime salary
- Process is very important
- Not a fan of remote working setup (I agree 100% unless it gives scale and capability hard to hire locally)
- Business development ways:
- Writing blog posts
- Giving presentations to general tech audiences (more beginners than experts)
- Being found on Google
Hiring, hiring, hiring. I’ve been hiring for the last 6 months non-stop. Before leaving my job I had to hire new CTO and a team of 6 in India as part of my handover.
At my new startup, I am setting up a team and I started hiring even before I started. I talked to freelancers from Upwork, super contractors in London, AWS solution architects, many outsourcing agencies from 20 to 200 staff in Serbia, Ukraine, Belarus, Holland, South Africa., LinkedIn contacts, Twitter followers, CTOs from London, Israel and Belgrade… and many recruitment consultants.
I posted jobs on job boards from LinkedIn to local job sites in Eastern Europe. I interviewed many candidiates in the first to final rounds, reviewed not as many CVs (engineers don’t know how to write CVs), built submitted code, performed many coding tests, talked to many managers. The key to success is to forget your ego and find value in candidates for the particular role you are hiring for. Forget your ego.
Complexity in banks
Banks cannot do what they want to do – innovate.
And banks do what they don’t what to do – manage legacy operations, processes and old systems.
As a result Banks are building new next to old. Fintech partnering with banks can create value at scale.