Today's startups are all about bringing to market a great idea, as quickly as possible, and scaling their business to gain adoption and market share before their idea gets replicated. And today, there is less margin for error than ever.
In an increasingly open and fluid world, it is increasingly difficult to keep a secret. Ideas -- the primary currency of startup nations -- are free flowing. When you, wannabe or confirmed entrepreneur, get a brilliant idea, the time window to act upon it is short. It's therefore critical that you are able to bring to market a first iteration of this magic app, innovative platform, or new service, in order not only to put a stake in the ground, but also to start measuring user reaction and to collect feedback.
Acting upon this feedback is the other side of the coin: Users and consumers are now used to getting their voice heard, and a startup that's paying no attention to its users, that's not acting on what it's been told, can anticipate a short lifespan.
Engineers are expensive
In startup-rich areas like Silicon Valley, London, Berlin, Paris, and Tel Aviv, good engineers -- the ones who have what it takes to work in a startup -- are sparse and expensive. You should make the best use of their time, which means don't ask them to reinvent the wheel.
Basically, when thinking "engineer," don't think "developer," but "architect".
Need a rock solid platform
First impressions are often the only impression that stays. An app or service that does not work as advertised, that does not scale under load, is a guaranteed recipe for losing customers and failing to grow. Simply put, you can't afford its solution to break. You won't be given the benefit of the doubt; you will immediately be disqualified.
Basing the software stack on reliable, proven architecture and infrastructure is the first step toward success.
In the world of platforms, you should maximize the reuse of components and services that others have built.
Needless to say, the platformization trend starts with IT infrastructure. Modern applications run in the cloud, and are accessed in the browser. But cloud platforms are available that provide more than just computing power: the range of Platform as a Service is broad, from databases to business process management to Application Platform as a Service to API Platform as a Service.
Many services can also be plugged into a solution. Payment services, accessible through APIs, are a great example. Embeddable business intelligence and reporting tools also exist. Communication gateways (voice and text) are only an API call away.
Let others build it for you
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.