Starting Up

I was reading this post today from Guy Kawasaki about five lessons for startups. I like reading what Guy Kawasaki has to say and this is no exception. Unfortunately, it's a brief posting but it gets the point across:
  1. Cash is king.  Enough said :-)
  2. Make progress.  Sometimes people (i.e. myself) stare at the computer screen for an hour wondering what to do.  Maybe they'll read the news but that's not going to help with step 1.
  3. Try different things. Unless the options are expensive, it's usually cheaper to do than to decide.
  4. Ignore naysayers. Better to have tried and failed than to have never tried at all. That sounds like the logic of the formerly successful. Those who failed badly might say otherwise.
  5. Do unto others. I would modify this a little bit by saying that one must always understand what is being asked of another - even if one doesn't really want to do it. Empathy is the important part of the equation.
On a side note, on the right bar of Guy's post is a link to Sun's startup-friendly server program. This is a great idea because it gets people locked in early. Sun makes some of the best hardware on the planet next to IBM and HP. As any Sys Admin will tell you, Dell is the worst - but that's a different story. Unfortunately for Sun however, I think the age of normal people touching these machines is coming to an end. There has been talk of this future by people such as Nicolas Carr in his book The Big Switch

I've only read excerpts so far, but the main thrust is that we are moving to an age of utility computing in which compute power is managed by large providers such as Amazon and Google. The interesting point is that this has all happened before with electricity. In 'the beginning', electricity was generated in a power plant that would service a given factory. Only later, did larger power plants get built which would then service individuals and companies through the electrical grid. The same thing is happening with compute power that once happened with electrical power. Long story short, I'm using Amazon EC2 and I love it. When I need higher uptime (say 99.9%+), I will then set up another system on an independent utility. 

People say things to me like, "You'll lose control. There's no future in that setup." I reply simply that not only is it more efficient to have somebody else manage this, it's also more reliable. None of these utilities will ever hit 100% reliability but that can be managed just like the data center I used to work with managed power outages by having electricity come from two different grids. Don't get me wrong, utility computing is only the right option for new web sites/services. Internal systems, highly sensitive systems, and existing organizations don't yet benefit from this option. Anyway, to tie this all together, Sun is doing the right thing to get startups that aren't in the vanguard to use their introductory offers and then build a relationship over time. Maybe they'll find even better ways to monetize their customers in the future.