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Books & Articles I wrote.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


Microsoft Startups

Folks - today i found a gem of a site over at http://microsoftstartups.com.

In most of the startup projects i have done, except in my early Perl days, i have used Microsoft software - that is innovation inside and outside of the firewall. My frustration is that the software is always a language or a framework that they built rather than an idea on top of an existing framework. So there is a new "shopping cart application" from the ground up rather than building on top of an existing application to create a new way to do it (without re-writing the basics). When it does exist, it's often based on Perl or Java and even then you rarely hear of the framework in all of this (of course it doesn't always have to be based on a complex framework, but there are cases where re-writing a transactional web services infrastructrure should just be regarded as insane).

Well, I am really interested in innovating ideas and *when* that required writing code and so on then great - but i'd rather do the innovation part than writing the framework that exists... which is why Microsoft (in my case) looking closely at startups is really exciting.

My current project is farily low level, but wants to remove some of the complexity from end users... but still, to accomplish this I really need a bunch of framework stuff and based on my background there are some obvious solutions. Unfortunately in the past i have seen these solutions are part of a corporate or ISV environment rather than in startups - outside of the OS, database server and the .Net framework, i've never been convinced that building higher level products into my solutions is a good idea - so you start writing things from scratch.

It's probably why Google decided to build their own hardware and OS and run everything from that (or at least one of the reasons). Perhaps when they started had a particular framework solution been more inviting/obvious then they could have spent their time on innovation of ideas rather than low level stuff (although like Google News, they get their employees to help out there now things worked out). Google worked, but there must be many others writing stuff from scratch aswhen you are a startup in software you really ask what the basis for your product is and that comes down to how closely aligned you see the other baseline products with your own goals ... which is probably why LAMP works well with the Open Source community of lot of whom are happy to provide their own free time, but less well with entrepreneurs who want to create a business.

In any case this is a very cool move by Microsoft and my bookshelf now makes sense - technology + business at my architectural/code level thinking is somewhat linked. It is a possible move to SaaS as the basis for other SaaS products that are themselves an incremental innovation! Surely that is what Web Services were all about a few years back :)

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