My latest photos on flickr

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Java Fact

Java went to Mars. Java, the software developed by Sun Microsystems Inc. in the mid-1990s as a universal platform for Internet applications, gave NASA a low-cost and easy-to-use option for running Spirit, the robotic rover that rolled onto the planet's surface on Thursday in search of signs of water and life. Proof.


Friday, January 20, 2006

Solaris Fact I

The Auto-pilot program on planes made by Boeing or Airbus runs on Solaris with Sparc. (I wonder what would happen if Windows was used...."Excuse me, Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking. You will experience that we are plunging towards the ground for a some time as windows is restarting, so please fasten your seat belts"

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

To Startup or not to Startup!

Joel gives out tips to budding entreprenuers in his foreword to Bob Walsh's new book, Micro-ISV: From Vision to Reality.
Here is a snippet

Number One. Don’t start a business if you can’t explain what pain it solves, for whom, and why your product will eliminate this pain, and how the customer will pay to solve this pain. The other day I went to a presentation of six high tech startups and not one of them had a clear idea for what pain they were proposing to solve. I saw a startup that was building a way to set a time to meet your friends for coffee, a startup that wanted you to install a plug-in in your browser to track your every movement online in exchange for being able to delete things from that history, and a startup that wanted you to be able to leave text messages for your friend that were tied to a particular location (so if they ever walked past the same bar they could get a message you had left for them there). What they all had in common was that none of them solved a problem, and all of them were as doomed as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

Number Two. Don’t start a business by yourself. I know, there are lots of successful one-person startups, but there are even more failed one-person startups. If you can’t even convince one friend that your idea has merit, um, maybe it doesn’t? Besides, it’s lonely and depressing and you won’t have anyone to bounce ideas off of. And when the going gets tough, which it will, as a one-person operation, you’ll just fold up shop. With two people, you’ll feel an obligation to your partner to push on through. P.S., cats do not count.

Number Three. Don’t expect much at first. People never know how much money they’re going to make in the first month when their product goes on sale. I remember five years ago, when we started selling FogBugz, we had no idea if the first month of sales would be $0 or $50,000. Both figures seemed just as likely to me. I have talked to enough entrepreneurs and have enough data now to give you a definitive answer for your startup.

That’s right, I have a crystal ball, and can now tell you the one fact that you need to know more than anything else: exactly how much money you’re going to make during the first month after your product goes live.



In the first month, you are going to make,


$364, if you do everything right. If you charge too little, you’re going to make $40. If you charge too much, you’re going to make $0. If you expect to make any more than that, you’re going to be really disappointed and you’re going to give up and get a job working for The Man and referring to us people in startup-land as “Legacy MicroISVs.”

That $364 sounds depressing, but it’s not, because you’ll soon discover the one fatal flaw that’s keeping 50% of your potential customers from whipping out their wallets, and then *tada!* you’ll be making $728 a month. And then you’ll work really hard and you’ll get some publicity and you’ll figure out how to use AdWords effectively and there will be a story about your company in the local wedding planner newsletter and tada! You’ll be making $1456 a month. And you’ll ship version 2.0, with spam filtering and a Common Lisp interpreter built in, and your customers will chat amongst themselves, and tada! You’ll be making $2912 a month. And you’ll tweak the pricing, add support contracts, ship version 3.0, and get mentioned by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show and tada! $5824 a month.

Now we’re cooking with fire. Project out a few years, and if you plug away at it, there’s no reason you can’t double your revenues every 12-18 months, so no matter how small you start, (detailed math formula omitted – Ed.), you’ll soon be building your own skyscraper in Manhattan with a heliport so you can get to that 20 acre Southampton spread in 30 minutes flat.

And that, I think, is the real joy of starting a company: creating something, all by yourself, and nurturing it and working on it and investing in it and watching it grow, and watching the investments pay off. It’s a hell of a journey, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.