What do you do after founding not one, but two companies and watching them fail miserably all by the time you were barely out of college?
Move to the Valley, make shrewd investments in other startups and become insanely rich like Sean Parker? A Bit lofty perhaps. How about try, try again and succeed. Then reinvent yourself as a guru dishing out startup wisdom through your blog and publishing a book that ends up the top of the New York Times Bestseller’s list. That’s essentially what Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup did.
True entrepreneurs fail many times before they succeed and continuously find opportunities to reinvent themselves. Ries is one of them. He’s taken all that he’s learned from his failures, and later successes, from his college years in the 1990s right through the dotcom crash, and packaged them into a guide for startups to consult in their quest for world domination. Continue reading “Book Review – The Lean Startup by Eric Ries”
Join 12,100 others and follow Sean Hull on twitter @hullsean.
Recently at Surge 2011, the annual conference on scalability and performance, Google’s CIO Ben Fried gave an illuminating keynote address. His main insight was that generalists are the people that will lead engineering teams in successfully scaling the web.
Read: Why devops talent is in short supply
In a world where the badge of Specialist or Expert is prized, this was refreshing perspective from an industry bigwig. As tech professionals, or any professional for that matter, we don’t welcome the label of generalist. The word suggests a jack-of-all-trades and master of none. But the generalist is no less an expert than the specialist. Generalists can get their hands greasy with the tools to fix bugs in the machine but they are especially good at mobilizing the machine itself; with their talents of broad vision, and perspective they can direct an entire team to accomplish tasks efficiently. This ability to see big-picture can not be underestimated especially during times of crisis or pressure to meet targets. For a team to scale the web effectively, you’re going to need a good mix of both types of personalities.
Also: Why a killer title can make or break your content efforts
Continue reading “Why generalists are better at scaling the web”
Help! How To Become Slightly Happier and Get a Bit More Done
I’ve long overcome that sheepish feeling when browsing the Self-help section at the bookstore. Sure, How to Make Friends and Influence People or the Seven Steps to World Domination in your bookcase aren’t exactly the sort of titles to suggest a deep intellect but I like to keep an open mind when checking out the latest hardcover secret to happiness and prosperity. Basically I try not to diss a book just because it’s got “soup” on the cover.
I will concede that publishers have gone a bit overboard with churning out the number of self-help titles in the last 20 years or so. As with anything that proliferates you’re stuck with having to wade through the swamp of well, BS. HELP! How to Become Slightly Happier and Get a Bit More Done by Oliver Burkeman is ideal for those curious enough about self-improvement but too cool to buy into mind-body-soul mantras.
Continue reading “Book Review – Help! by Oliver Burkeman”
Could pro-waitering serve up some lessons on web scalability? Observing peak hour dining at a New York restaurant gave us some insight.
I was dining at a restaurant the other day with friends. It was a warm and cozy place, nicely decorated with a long, narrow dining room. The food was scrumptious, yet we were getting increasingly frustrated by the service as the night went along.
With some waiting experience behind me, I could immediately see the problem. The waiters, probably through lack of experience, were making the mistake of doing one thing at a time. They would go to a table, respond to one customer’s request, and go and fetch that item. Back and forth, back and forth they would dart, but always dealing with one request at a time. Continue reading “iHeavy Newsletter 84 – Restaurant Scalability”
Oracle starts charging for MySQL Add-ons
Exciting news, Oracle just announced commercial MySQL extensions that they’ll be offering paid extensions to the core MySQL free product.
To be sure, this has raised waves of concern among the community, but on the whole I suspect it will be a good thing for MySQL. This brings more commercial addons to the table, which only increases the options for customers. Many will continue to use the core database product only, and avoid license hassles while others will surely embark on a hybrid approach if it solves their everyday business problems. Continue reading “Oracle Announces Paid MySQL Add-ons”
One of the great things about the Internet is how it has made it easier to put great ideas into practice. Whether the ideas are about improving people’s lives or a new way to sell and old-fashioned product, there’s nothing like a good little startup tale of creative disruption to deliver us from something old and tired.
We work with a lot of startup firms and we love being part of the atmosphere of optimism and ingenuity, peppered with a bit of youthful zeal – something very indie-rock-and-roll about it. But whether they are just starting out or already picking up pace every startup faces the same challenges to scale a business. Recently, we were reminded of this when we watched Inc’s video interview with Birchbox founders, Hayley Barna and Katia Beauchamp. Continue reading “Scale Quickly Like Birchbox – Startup Scalability 101”
Deploying new code that includes changes to your database schema doesn’t have to be a process fraught with stress and burned fingers. Follow these five tips and enjoy a good nights sleep.
1. Deploy with Roll Forward & Rollback Scripts
When developers check-in code that requires schema changes, that release should also require two scripts to perform database changes. One script will apply those changes, alter tables to add columns, change data types, seed data, clean data, create new tables, views, stored procedures, functions, triggers and so forth. A release should also include a rollback script, which would return tables to their previous state. Continue reading “5 Tips for Better Database Change Management”
1. Object Relational Mappers
Software development has always made use of libraries, off-the-shelf components that are shared between different projects. These allow you to stand on the shoulders of others and build bigger things. Frameworks do the same thing, they provide a context from which to build on. Ruby on Rails for example provides a great starting framework from which to build web applications, managing sessions in an elegant way. Continue reading “5 Scalability Pitfalls to Avoid”
When migrating to the cloud consider security and resource variability, the cultural shift for operations and the new cost model. Continue reading “4 Considerations Migrating to The Cloud”
Spencer Johnson is a great writer. His business book classic was a real page turner. He takes a page from the REWORK book and that’s a good thing.
Who Moved My Cheese is a story about mice living in a maze happy and content that they have an unlimited supply of cheese. Then one day the cheese runs out. Continue reading “Review – Who Moved My Cheese”