IT Strategy for a Web Startup

As we near the completion of a major web application for a startup, it's time to reflect on the factors responsible for the success.
  1. Cloud Computing. The hardware cost for development was less than $750 including the cost of a laptop.
    • We used Google App Engine for the most part but not exclusively.
    • For confidential documents, we used Amazon S3, preferring to go directly between the browser and Amazon, bypassing Google. Any doubts about whether Google will mine those documents were neutralized.
  2. Staying conceptual with the implementation.
    • Google App Engine was great for helping us stay conceptual. They take care of scalability, backups, OS versions, patches. All the stuff that drags you down.
    • Amazon EC2 is too low level. One has to worry about scalability, backups, OS versions, patches. We should have gone up a level by using a service like Rightscale. We haven't yet, but it's still an idea worth pursuing.
    • For the same reason, we would consider Amazon RDS over doing our own database management.
  3. Open Source Software. Most notably, jQuery. Their slogan is "write less, do more". The reality matches the slogan. A rich milieu of available software allowed us to assemble components rather ...