Site Reliability Team Lead at News UK

View My GitHub Profile

3 November 2014

Quick Good Or Cheap Choose Two

by Mike

I often go to start-up events and I am still suprised how few people even bother to do even basic sanity checking about their business idea.

Either something like:

"I want to build the next Facebook" "How much budget do you have?" "About £500 and that includes marketing"

Where they have no idea about manpower or infrastructure costs, how they will monetise it or anything else… Or:

"I want to build a site where people can get little fixed-price jobs done" "You mean like fiverr.com?" "You mean there is already a site like that?"

Never even bothering to do basic research… Or:

"I want to build a site where people can buy our [dog] products, but I need it completely writing from scratch" "Why?" "Our software should be what makes us unique!" "So you want to sell this e-commerce platform to other people?" "Nope, it will be ours and ours alone" "Why don't you customise an open-source platform?" "Because other people can copy us easier"

Where they just don’t understand why they are asking for what they are asking for.

The main thing most of these people have in common is that they are not playing to their strengths. Their strength is certainly not software development or website design but they think they know enough to manage a project in these fields. Unfortunately, most of these people end up with developers that know little more than they do and a project doomed to fail.

They have failed to even do the basics of validating that the market exists and who the existing players are, what problem they are trying to solve and if they have defined requirements (like writing your code from scratch) why this requirement even exists.

For me the thing that saddens me the most is that many of these people have sunk weeks and weeks of evenings and weekends, planning what they want the site to look like without even bothering to lay the groundwork; frequently not understanding that most of what they have designed is just composed of basic design patterns.

Spending an hour with an expert (me or anyone else) could have saved them a lot of wasted time and in some cases money.

If you do feel that an hour or paid time with myself would help you get your ideas straight, then you can contact me on mike-at-technomonk-dot-com (replacing the necessary parts) or +44(0)7950892038 / skype:darkflib


The phrase in the title comes from an old idea in that you can only have 2 of the 3:

There is some truth in it, but with the advent of frameworks and open source platforms like Wordpress and Drupal, it becomes less so.