Meditations on programming, startups, and technology
Currently Browsing: Startup World

A Review of the TV Show Start-Ups: Silicon Valley

Several years ago I remarked to my wife about how mainstream media was largely ignoring the world of startups. The amount of coverage in books, news, television and movies was sparse for such a revolutionary industry, let alone one with a track record of producing billion dollar companies. In some ways it still is, but things have slowly improved, as I conjectured at the time. Startups have garnered much wider...

The Real Reason Italy Sucks at the Startup Game

For a long time now Italy has been experiencing political and economical turmoil that would require several drastic changes in order to reboot it. Italy needs a new class of politicians who truly care about the real problems that the country and its people are facing everyday. It desperately needs to reform the educational, tax, and labour systems, as well as a substantial reduction of bureaucracy at every level. In...

My Technical Blogging Book Is Now Available in Beta

Technical Blogging: Turn Your Expertise into a Remarkable Online Presence is now available in beta. This first beta includes about 200 of the estimated total 250 pages. Most of the information you need to know is already included in the existing chapters. Early feedback has been great and helped shape the book. The reception by early readers and reviewers has been nothing short of incredible. Here is one: My career...

The Great Web-Reality Divide

A couple years ago Tim O’Reilly invited a Web 2.0 expo audience to “stop throwing sheep” and start doing something worthwhile. More recently, a post with the title America Lacks Meaningful Innovation went so far as to question the ability and willingness of American companies (particularly web companies) to be innovative. Nearly three years on and today we’re throwing birds instead of sheep. Damn angry ones...

Why would you use a commercial database anyway?

Yesterday was the 25th birthday of the Free Software Foundation (FSF). Over the past 25 years they’ve managed to deeply influence the world of computing and technology. The ideas promoted by the FSF’s foundation and leader, Richard Stallman, have certainly veered on the radical side. However, even if you don’t agree with this group’s ideology, I’d argue that we are afforded a lot more...

Adobe AIR as the cross-platform solution of choice

Adobe has just made an important announcement: We are pleased to announce the immediate availability of the Adobe AIR 2 runtime. Starting today, you can download and install the new version at get.adobe.com/air/. Adobe AIR is rapidly becoming a very viable solution to the desktop cross-platform conundrum. MicroISVs pay attention, this new release includes a native processes API, WebKit, multi-touch and gesture...

Startup for sale on eBay (and it’s a great deal)

One of the best programmers I know is selling a web application on eBay, that he’s been developing and running for the past three years. Given the starting price and considering what one lucky person or company will walk away with, I must say, it’s an amazing deal. I’m writing about his auction here so that I can help it get the proper exposure it deserves and because I think it’s an...

In defense of ad-based business models

In the past I have been a strong advocate of web business models a la 37Signals, where you get to charge your users for a product or service that is provided. I still believe deeply in the viability of such an approach when it comes to making money online (in fact ThinkCode.TV will essentially do just this) – after all it’s the Internet equivalent of what we’ve been doing for thousands of years...

Startup Interviews: Zooppa.com

What follows is an interview with Nicholas Wieland, CTO of Italy-based Zooppa, a fast growing social network for creative types. This is the second in a series of interviews I will carry out with interesting figures from the micro-ISV and startup scene. If you have a compelling story to tell, own or run a tech startup, and would like to be featured, please drop me a line via email. 1. I’d like to start by...

Startup Interviews: Balsamiq Studio LLC

What follows is an interview with Giacomo “Peldi” Guilizzoni, founder of Balsamiq Studio LLC, a fast growing micro-ISV. This is the first of a series of interviews I will carry out with interesting figures from the micro-ISV and startup scene. If you have a compelling story to tell, own or run a tech startup, and would like to be featured, please drop me a line via email. 1. Before starting Balsamiq you...

Better Software 2009 and Pycon Italia Tre

In May I will be presenting at two conferences in Italy. The first is called Better Software 2009; it’s dedicated to the world of software development, Agile methodologies, Web 2.0 and a bunch of other buzzword compliant technologies. This conference will be held on May 6 and 7 in sunny Florence. If you speak Italian and happen to be in Europe, you can register here. Italian conferences tend to be fairly...

Do you really need Venture Capital funding?

One distinctive characteristic of software startups that really sets them apart from other new companies in different fields is the exceptionally slim amount of capital required to get started. The ability to bootstrap is what makes our industry such an incredible business opportunity. Anyone with a good idea, decent technical skills, and a dose of business sense can come up with a profitable venture, without having...

Developers are blinded by the light

Blinded by the light, revved up like a deuce, another runner in the night — Bruce Springsteen Humans are exceptionally bad at calculating odds. We let our limited experience strongly influence our perception of the likelihood of an event. For instance, we tend to vastly overestimate the odds of dying due to a terrorist attack, accidental firearm discharge, or a hurricane, and vastly underestimate causes of...

Random thoughts on software piracy and open source business models

In a recent blog entry, Jeff Atwood discussed the subject of software piracy, bringing up the example of a succesfull indie game called World of Goo, whose estimated piracy rate is about 82% (initially reported as 90%). Perhaps in an effort to appeal to the ethical side of his readers, Jeff underlines how “this is not a game that deserves to be pirated”, how it’s developed by a team of two indie...

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