Nice CPU stats - I could mine dogecoin effectively on the Pangolin, not so much on the (albeit 5 year old) MBP. It seems to be roughly equivalent to an AWS m3.xlarge instance. Trackpad is flush with the case, which prevents food crumbs & dirt from getting stuck in it like it did with the MBP. Pretty rugged construction. Haven't had any reliability issues and I've had it a year or so. Good display. Has a numeric keypad and the cursor navigation keys, unlike the Mac. Linux "just works", since Ubuntu comes pre-installed with auto updates. Often a lot easier to get many UNIX programming packages working on Ubuntu/apt-get than on MacPorts, and you don't face deployment issues because of the OS being different from other UNIX systems
Wireless sucks - it won't work with 5GHz at all and often has reception issues with 2.4GHz in my crowded apartment complex. Keyboard and trackpad takes some getting used to, because of the keypad your hands are over the left side a lot. I miss the MagSafe power adaptor, I used to trip over my cord all the time. Battery life isn't as good as on the Macs. Can't do iOS development, and can't use Mac-only software like many games.
On the whole I'd say the Mac had slightly better quality, but the Pangolin (at half the price) gave better value. If you're on a budget I'd definitely give it a try.
I wouldn't want to drop it though...
I'm a Thinkpad fan myself (T61/X230), although that comment by 'zanny isn't wrong. If you're going to go the Thinkpad route, make sure you read reviews of the screen options for the specific model you're interested in.
(I'm currently using Fedora20 on a 2009 MacBookPro amd ot feels like a real kludge.)
I would start by reading/listening to everything by patio11.(google patio11)
Another great resource is:http://startupsfortherestofus.com
You're in a unique position as most of us are seeking financial independence and you already have it. So that will give you a different perspective/drive I expect.
Learn programming if it interests you . . . if you enjoy it/have a knack for it you'll enjoy it.
I would recommend learning html, css, js, jquery, php/mysql then rails and laravel. Start with TeamTreehouse.com to get started.
If you enjoy programming you'll have fun going that route.
Another angle is hiring developers instead of being the developer to get your ideas up and running.
I'm a fan of B2B SaaS so that's my ultimate goal.
You're already comfortable financially so you could be looking to do something more along the lines of helping humanity.
There are lots of opportunity to leverage technology and software to help businesses and to help people. So I would explore some ideas them pick one you are passionate about and start validating it and exploring how to make it happen.
I don't think I would intern . . . you'd probably be a better fit for investing in entrepreneurs or starting your own idea.
As far as figuring out what's going on behind the curtain . . . I would start by emailing/contacting people doing something similar to what you have in mind . . . connecting and networking with people in that area/niche . . . eventually you'll connect with the right person to show you what's behind the curtain.
You're in a great spot . . . don't forget about taking some time to travel, enjoy the world.
congrats, good luck with your next venture.
Once you've figured what fuels your passion or makes you jump out of bed in the morning, clarity of next steps will emerge.
If you are driven to be a founder, ceo - you will need to start finding a core team to build a company. New companies need a core team before it can get a core idea.
If you are looking for impact - have a look at ashoka.org or acumen.org. This might give ideas on developmental impact.
If you are looking to double your money, I'm clueless but I'm guessing there will be someone on wall street who knows the exact recipe on how to do it.
Spend some time thinking about what these might be, and leverage the friends and acquaintances you still have in industry. Be careful about confirmation bias and the unwillingness of friends to call bullshit on your bad ideas, though. Your friends will be loathe to say "your idea sucks," so you'll need to come up with a better litmus test than that for determining if you're on the right track. Asking for money is probably a good one :)
Patrick McKenzie (patio11) and Amy Hoy write about this and related topics quite regularly. Spend some time reading through what they've written:
How to get startup ideas:http://paulgraham.com/startupideas.html
The rest: http://paulgraham.com/articles.html
What are you most passionate about? What do you see "broken" in the world and want fixed?
(I'm passionate that higher ed is a great idea poorly implemented, so that's my startup's focus.)
Go try to build something. Anything. You'll find things that are broken very quickly and can easily be the seed of a new business.
I'm skeptical that you could generalize the process. But even if you could, it wouldn't make any sense to offer it as a service to startup founders, because you would then control the biggest value creation step. They would be nothing but idea sources, and ideas are worth very little. Instead you would just use your fantastic process to churn out your own products, possibly paying small royalties to people who come to you with good introductions & ideas.
Or let me put it another way: every angel fund, startup accelerator, and VC would love to have a magic way to "quickly and accurately determine if an idea is on the right track". That's what they spend all their time thinking about. Do you really think they're missing something obvious?
I was so mentally set in my idea that I consistently gravitated to the next-simplest explanation when I encountered sad evidence. And even though I believed I was being smart and understood customer development, I was following a checklist of things I thought I was supposed to do and was confused when we stagnated. I pretty much was asking to learn my lesson the hard way. :)
It seems very plausible that new products and services can be built to help founders be more effective at customer development. However one major obstacle if you outsource customer development too much will be dodging bullets as the messenger.
If I had used a CD service I'd probably assume the person was doing it wrong. They don't get my product, they are bad at sales, they aren't finding the right customers, etc. And then I'd wonder why I was throwing away my money (out of my personal pocket) for a service that wasn't "working". Unless you're a customer development superhero there might even be a little truth in all those things it's going to take you a while to orient to the company's vision and market.
Another issue is that you'll probably see adverse selection from your clients. Folks who are good at customer development or stumble into promising early traction probably aren't going to hire a consultant for that stuff. So you're going to get people who either have an aversion to talking to customers and/or have hit a wall finding customers. And it's quite possible that the stuff you'll try is very similar to the stuff they tried and failed. So most of your clients might be biased towards failed startups, which may create a lot of churn and make it harder to gain inbound leads.
2. Well this seems like one of those questions you could always say yes to. "Do you think you should have saved more money in your 20s?" "Do you think you should have worked out more over the past 5 years?" Who isn't going to say yes?
That being said, the failure of our business came about because the business model of the market we were serving shifted, as a result of a new piece of technology. Our customers didn't anticipate this shift (customers don't know what they want until they see it in some cases) and we, when the other business model came about, didn't recognize its significance. So, alas, I don't think customer development would have helped because nobody had invented the thing that killed us at the time we would have been doing customer development.
3. YES! I would love to buy a customer development as a service type service. Part of the problem for me is that customer development is sometimes very hard, it's not always easy to identify the customers for a particular idea.
Steve Blank's not saying the other 90% were good ideas.
Read stuff like this by Ramit Sethi:http://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com/find-your-dream-job/All of it is pushing you towards his paid course, but the free content is really good.
Then, once you have the right mindset and know to sell yourself, you can apply for remote jobs:https://weworkremotely.com/http://careers.stackoverflow.com/jobs?allowsremote=true
Three of the four spaces listed here seem to be active: http://hackerspaces.org/wiki/London
Here's another organization with a list: http://www.hackspace.org.uk/view/Main_Page
If you're just looking for a place to work on software, perhaps a coworking space would be more appropriate. These all seem like detailed lists of shared office spaces:
usually the dev will just poke around for that time and make small changes and debug it a few times to see how it works. 4-5k lines i would say 2-3 days tops before they are comfortable with it.
Most YC companies use CircleCI, so we get to see some of the diversity. While I haven't got concrete stats on this, I think it leans slightly more heavily rails than usual (and usual is about 50%). Bear in mind that that's skewed in some ways: if they were using C# for example they couldn't use us.
As you scale to the point at which Heroku is expensive, move over to AWS.
Java: https://angel.co/companies?incubators=Y+Combinator&teches[... 15 companies)
Python: https://angel.co/companies?incubators=Y+Combinator&teches[... 31 companies)
I basically used this same technique for the CodingVC blog post that was mentioned elsewhere in the thread.
Server: C#, Databases: MongoDB and SQL Server, Messaging: RabbitMQ, Clients: LibGDX and Java on Android, Web client: AngularJS
However what makes the most sense for a RPC style call is a POST.
Setup a website that goes over projects you've done in school or personal projects. I got my last job because my portfolio website looked good and I had some past projects that 'showed' stuff on my resume. Most other people just had "I know c#". I had a project I could show off/describe.
1. University, certainly the good ones, have two goals - to grow the next generation of Professsors whose research will give multiple orders of magnitude payback to society, and to grow more rounded, more stable highly trained "future leaders". It's still a fairly reasonable approach, and I would strongly advise you to stick with the opportunity to grow and experience more as a young human than you will get almost any other time.
So, do work hard, but also sleep around, take time to travel cheaply in the long holidays, meet interesting people not because they might be useful in your future career, but because they are interesting. Sleep with some of them !
2. Portfolios and networking - it's a bit blah! I would recommend that you do two things - experiment with different languages, build interpreters or compilers (start with a simple text markdown, build you own DSL) and just as importantly contribute to some open source projects - get your hands dirty with documentation, test frameworks, source code screw ups and bug triages.
If you want to impress me with your just out of college CV then proving you can work well with other professional developers, can put a decent commit together and not piss off my senior leads is useful, and demonstrating that you can look square at the trade offs with functional and OO, what makes life hard when building an interpreter and knowing how to go from AST back to source code
Well that will get you the interview at least
Below is a long email / blog-post-to-be that was in response to a similar question from a Greek graduate (and temporary taxi driver)
(Ok that's too long for HN submit form ... It will get rewritten and posted somewhere - but really - work hard, work with other people, work on gettin breadth of experience and why clever people have not yet settled on one language - and don't forget to meet interesting people and sleep with them (now my favourite phrase of the day)
Yes, the salaries are as "good" as the interviewer said. Yes, you'll have major visa issues since you don't have a degree. Not everyone needs to move to Silicon Valley to be happy.
And frankly, don't move for the money. A good analogy I heard is: if you want to try to play in the big leaves, come to Silicon Valley. Failure rates are higher, but at least you'll find out how good you are. Would you take a shot at playing in the Bundesliga or keep being the best player in your local club?
Cost of living in the Bay Area is high but misunderstood. When I decided to move to San Francisco, I estimated that I would pay 25% more rent, earn a 50% higher salary, and not need a car. I told people I was moving and they said, "But it's so expensive! How can you afford that?" Because math. 
One source of salary information, probably relevant to you, being a non-US type, might be the H1-B database: http://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/performancedata.cfm (select Performance Data tab, download latest PERM spreadsheet)
See, for example, this blog post: http://realtimecollisiondetection.net/blog/?p=107
The biggest problem for you will be getting a visa. There are relatively few startups who would go through the trouble of sponsoring you a visa, unless you bring something really exceptional to the table. Your profile doesn't strike me as something that would be considered by "big" companies who typically sponsor H1B's since they often filter by college degree.
That is assuming you are eligible for a visa. An H-1B visa requires a Bachelor's degree or equivalent experience. Your experience may be sufficient, but proving that is easier said than done. As far as I remember 3 years of experience are generally considered equivalent to one year of college, which would mean that you need 12 years. But you shouldn't trust me on this and look it up instead.
That said, you should aim for 150K+ base salary, plus a lot of bonuses and stocks on top of it, so in the end, 250K+ should be achievable. This probably rules out most of startups for you, unless you're for the equity.
48K EUR - sounds like Berlin, right? ;)But I think you can negotiate up to 65-70K EUR if you really try.
It boils down to a 10 line Bash script and the Markdown.pl script.
It is very very basic, but I have used it to back a blog and various other content sites.
I personally use github pages for now, to archive my writing:
> node.js compatible hosting looks expensive for my purposes
DigitalOcean offers node.js-ready VPS for $5/month
For example, here is a blog post about a law firm complaining about the law being enforced:
Edit: http://learnaholic.me/2012/10/10/backing-up-postgresql-with-... for scheduling, too (if you want to leave cron alone)
Their interface isn't the greatest but it works.
With bitgym, we originally tried to make cardio-gaming a thing . We still want it to be a thing, as when tried in a properly curated environment with the right expectations, it was far and away the best experience for users seeking fitness. As such, we've had to start from their current experiences, and engineer something that they can relate to better as we slowly progress towards our vision of getting everyone to play VR mariokart to stay fit.
It's slow work, but it's definitely something a few people love, and they are quickly seeing things the way we do :]
Just an anecdote, we aren't roaring away with success yet, but it seems to be working.
 http://www.bitgym.com https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id483991355
The best thing I found was actually Twitter. I setup a search column in Tweetdeck that would pop an alert on my desktop if anyone tweeted "Heroku" and "SSL" in the same tweet. I'd then just @message them and ask if they'd want to try the alpha (Heroku has strict phases with increasing numbers of users you need to onboard before they'll release the add-on to General Availability).
If someone agreed to be an early tester, I'd try to "upsell" them into taking the time to do a Skype onboarding call with me where I'd just watch them in real time try and add a SSL cert to their app. This was likely the fastest and most productive thing I've ever done to rapidly improve the product, hugely benefical.
1 - https://addons.heroku.com/expeditedssl
If its a good product that will get you +250 users (we got about 330 while we were still in private beta).
Beyond that we sank a couple hundred in ads at a $0.2 CPA to gain our beta base. Then a month later we got placement on techcrunch, venture beat and a few other major outlets while still in private beta
Even if you can't use the same strategy, maybe it gives you an idea for your customer field :)
Ironically, in large scale (SAP-class) enterprises today, the integration problems are often relate to the fact that they are running multiple ERPs they picked up through acquisition and run customized business rules that cannot be cost effectively moved. Look at large scale master data management tools to get a sense of this type of problem.
Much of my work involves mid-market ERP from Microsoft, Sage, Infor, etc. These vendors can give a smaller company an entire integrated suite of tools, with great support, an ecosystem of ISVs fully implemented for $200-300k, including consulting. That remains a compelling value proposition and less risky than hiring programmers, who these companies have no idea how to manage.
One company to watch is Infor. Their strategy involves traditional ERP (usually products tailored for a vertical) at the core, with ancillary products integrated through standard middleware or APIs and delivered through Amazon cloud services.
ERP provides stability through support.
ERP provides common ground so you can speak with other companies, partner with 3rd parties, and easily hire people with knowledge of your system.
ERP provides standard interfaces for slapping together more ERP tools.
ERP provides security models, governance models, and provides the means for meeting industry specific compliance requirements.
SAP in particular (and all ERPs to some extent) provide a shockingly massive amount of business logic. They facilitate a vast array of industries, business processes, and provide a robust system for tracking your business data in a semi-stable/rational way.
Where SAP in particular has gone wrong is that they're entrenched in their own proprietary technology. They're victims of their own highly successful code base and cannot easily get out from under it. They'll lose eventually but whether it takes them 10, 20, or 100 years to lose remains to be seen.
I'm a developer at heart and I can say, with confidence, that I would rather spend money on SAP than build a home grown system knowing full well the mess that SAP is. With the right team (i.e. damn good developers with industry experience) I could probably build something better and I've talked to a few people about it in the past but you are talking a true uphill battle from both a technology and a sales perspective.
Having said that, if anyone feels the need to take on the ERP space, feel free to contact me as I'm certainly not adverse to the idea. I've thought about it plenty and there are definitely attack vectors available.
The 'E' stands for Enterprise, which means this is a big installation. I think 2 big reasons to choose an ERP over an in-house solution are:
1. They want support. They want to be able to hire people or pay consultants that already have experience with the ERP system. Building a system that your enterprise entirely depends upon introduces a level of risk. Having a big company like SAP there to support you reduces that risk.
2. They want something built for their industry. ERP systems are typically designed around the generic business processes for a given industry. The technical type of people that can write code might not know how to design a system to properly match the business processes of the company.
Yes, at the heart of an ERP is a database, but there is more to it than that. There is access/control concerns as well as audit log concerns. There are various industry/government mandates (like HIPPA or FERPA) that need to be adhered to. There are all the interconnections under the hood to make everything work. ERP systems are so complex that usually no single person understands the entire thing. You might understand a module or a component, but it typically takes a group of experts to have a working knowledge of everything.
And yes, ERP systems are really expensive. You have to buy annual licenses and support contracts. The hourly rates for support are expensive too.
Yeah, its a database with a GUI.
> I haven't seen how SAP can do anything that any database (mysql, postgre) with a webframework (django, rails, etc.) couldn't do.
Sure, the difference is that the ERP has already had a lot of resources investing in (1) researching what large enterprises users are likely to need it to do, and (2) implementing the specific code to do that.
And lots of money marketing that investment to enterprise decision makers.
> Am I missing something here?
> I don't see why anyone would go with these vastly expensive ERP systems rather than hiring a few programers and using something like django or rails.
Convenience record, perception of a proven track record (though ERP implementations aren't exactly historically problem-free), having an stable institution committed to support when inevitably things do go wrong, and likely a combination of you underestimating and purchasers overestimating the amount of programmer time and cost that would go into implementing the functionality any individual purchaser needs from scratch rather than starting with the canned modules of the ERP and doing any needed customization.
Both rational and irrational factors are involved.
> ERP's seem like outdated over-priced nightmares to me.
They are designed for the massive enterprise market which has a different preference for the degree and types of risks that purchasers are willing to take on, and the price they are willing to pay to mitigate them, than many other markets, and where the decision-makers are usually pretty far removed from the details of technology.
Finance (GL, Fixed Assets, AR, AP, consolidated reporting)
... a long list of other things
Take all of these features then add an appropriate security model, then add the need to support localized business logic for each country (which you must have to meet local legal requirements) and spice up a bit with business specific customizations.
Do ERP systems have problems? Absolutely. However, like pretty much any developer when I've encountered a lot of systems I've thought "I could design something better than this" - in the case of a large ERP system (mind you, not SAP) I did realise that it was a few orders of magnitude more complex then any small team could really handle.
NB I do think there is a huge opportunity for someone to do for ERPs what Salesforce did for CRM systems.
People choose to use existing ones instead of making their own because it's usually a lot faster and cheaper.
There is also Oodo (formerly OpenERP), https://www.odoo.com
Either of these is better than starting from scratch, due to the existing apps/templates.
Here's what worked for us:
- after selling a website, we sold the mandatory support and maintenance contract. We considered this service the foundation, or level one of our recurring revenue stream. This is fairly easy to sell and renew. The recurring revenue we got from this was enough to keep us afloat.
- after selling support and maintenance, we upsold the client to "levele two": services which grow our client's online business. The types of services we offered in this plan: everything that needs to be done to reach client's business goals, and that we could deliver well. This was harder to sell (because the type of client needs to be just right for this kind of service), but the amount of money coming in every month is substantial. This is what makes the agency grow in long term.
Here's what didn't work for us:
- web hosting. We've been offering this for more than a decade and in the end, all things considered, it is just not worth it. A combination of support + maintenance + growth-oriented services is a much better bang for the buck. We sold most of our servers and hosting accounts to a specialized hosting company and focused on what we did best.
For the exact details about building, pricing and selling support and maintenance services, check out my book: https://www.simpfinity.com/books/recurring-revenue-web-agenc... the part about growth-oriented services is coming soon, matter of weeks)
I love talking about the subject of recurring revenue, it's a passion of mine. I'll gladly answer any questions you might have.
I'm a fan of bundling which sounds a bit like what luckyisgood was getting at.
Every consultant wants diversified and/or recurring revenue. This is why just about all of us inevitably create (or try to create) products of our own. Eventually, many consultants get wind of the idea of retainers, which can have the predictability of SaaS but without needing to build and market software first.
The issue arises with how most consultants put together retainers. It's usually something like "I'll sell you in advance 20 hours a month of my time for $2000."
Here's the problem:
Any first grader can figure out that you're effective hourly rate is $100, which is probably less than your real rate but hey, it's a retainer and it'll relieve your need to always be selling, so that's OK for most.
Since you'll be making $100 an hour on this retainer, your income potential becomes constrained (you're now on the hook for 20 hours a month @ $100/hr) and the client knows what your hourly rate is. "Brennan, I need more this month. I'll pay you $2500 for 25 hours" or "Can I just pay you $100 an hour when I need you?"
And this is where the retainers of a lot of the consultants I've talked with go south, and the relationships sour.
A better approach (which is something patio11 and I talked about during an event we hosted last year) is to instead sell bundles which could include your time, and hosting and make these bundles really tricky to divide.
I could sell a client on:
- Backup management
- Framework / security updates
- A/B test experiments and management
- Up to 20 hours of upgrades and modifications
Now it's not so easy to divide the invoices I'm sending my clients monthly by X.
And I could charge... $5000 a month for that. Or whatever would make it so that my client gets both the peace of mind they're looking for (smart guy managing hosting, backups, security issues, etc), a product that's becoming more valuable (running a/b tests, analyzing their funnels, etc), AND a pool of time for me to do whatever random updates they need.
When it is a new company (is going to launch in 1 month for example), i propose them to set a launch page (basic one, created in max. 15 minutes) for 100 , to collect emailaddresses.
The launch page includes a text email to all of your visitors when they subscribe and say that this proposal doesn't include HTML (for images), because that is custom work and more difficult.
When the moment arrives, i ask them for the text they want me to send to their visitors.
In 70% of the cases, they ask to include a picture of the team.. I explain them that this was not part of the deal, but that i can change the message to a HTML email for 80 (if provided the assets first).
So, selling a website earned me another 180 , a happy customer (the launch page is added publicity)
How do you upsell?
When you offer "hosting"... do you offer intelligent systems? advanced low level networking? CDN? anycast DNS? disaster recovery plan? peak resistance? awesome monitoring system with 24/7/365 support of the solution? 0day level security solutions? nanosecond performance? 99.999% SLA? penetration testing as proactive maintenance? multidevice testing of every change or patch? development, staging, validation and production environments? storage engineers? database tuning? project road-map with weekly (or daily) reports and meetings of a team of engineers analyzing infrastructure usage, logs, new threats, proposals and evolutions? an awesome web interface for ALL customer facing controls? a problem free experience?
Or are we talking about cheapo domain+cert+shared resources "online presence"? If yes, than maybe just stick to one provider and seek for a "reseller plan", to minimize costs, and as said in other comments, start offering a "maintenance package" as part of the products/solutions to get some recurring revenue.
When you get a great team of operations and support engineers with outstanding knowledge and passion for "systems", they stay motivated, and they are not mismanaged, you will be able to monetize them (and their "toys") with "hosting", "cloud", "online presence", "services" or whatever name, in team with the rest of the solutions you sell.
Infrastructure is a complex and expensive topic. If you do it properly, you can move money. You just need more customers wanting your system solutions/team, than the cost of it.
Otherwise, there is many competence and "third party" services, and the average position is to re-sell that, and focus on the ego of "i'm a designer/coder, systems is a second class stuff I cannot convince you to payme more for that".
The margins are decent IMO. You can get a decent sized VPS or dedicated server and easily have your costs under $2 per user per month. Then you charge the customer $9-29 per month.
They key will be automating the setup process. If you're doing traditional hosting, you may also need some sort of control panel (they all suck, btw).
We also sell other SaaS tools for photographersallowing them to sell and share photographs. We upsell them to our website clients.
It's hard to define fairly easy to create recurring revenue. We were profitable from day 1 but it took more than a few years to clear $1M in annual revenue. And now there are a lot of well-funded competitors (wix, squarespace, etc.). So, my advice would be to find a niche, figure out what they need, and focus on them.
I have a few ideas (below). This is random, but I would advise you to avoid restaurants. I've tried it. Many others have too. They owners are too busy, have little money, and most just don't care that much.
Some other ideas I've had:
* A static website hosting service based on Jekyll. But a web-interface somewhere allows you to create new jekyll posts/pages.
* Wordpress hosting for landing pages. I like Unbounce but it's expensive. Create a WordPress theme with 12 different page styles and let me make an unlimited number of landing and lead-gen pages for it.
* Elementary school websites. As a parent of 4, I've yet to see a good one. I'm sure there are existing players, but if you can carve out a niche, there are COUNTLESS other things you could build for them. Start with some private catholic/christian schools near you. They have much less red tape in their buying process. If you have some sales chops, aim at the district level so you can bag a few schools at once.
Call it cloud, thats where the money is.
Except one thing.
DreamHost staff are generalists. They're probably good at fixing hacked WordPress blogs, but they will never be able to compete with you when it comes to in-depth troubleshooting of the exact application that you built for your client. At best, all they can do is direct your client back to you. At worst, they'll misdiagnose the problem and damage your client's website.
You, on the other hand, are a specialist. You know the website inside and out. You can take one look at an error message and figure out exactly which line of which file is causing the issue. You know when the software stack will need to be upgraded, and you know which parts are the most likely to cause trouble after an upgrade. You know when the client is expecting traffic spikes, and you know that when that happens, DreamHost is likely to suspend your client's website.
Your hosting package, should you choose to offer one, must take advantage of these differences. It should be part of a long-term support contract, not a standalone product, and it should be massively overpriced, like, at least an order of magnitude more expensive than the off-the-shelf equivalent. In exchange, the client gets a server stack that is perfectly tailored to their app (nginx, node.js, redis, you name it), a guarantee that they will never receive a canned answer in response to an urgent support request, and a guarantee that their website will not be suspended in the middle of the biggest marketing campaign of the year.
And of course you should be ready to fulfill such expectations. Don't use cheap servers to host your clients, get some Linodes or Droplets instead. There will be no in-house email hosting, it should be outsourced to Google Apps or some other company that specializes in email. Don't mess with cPanel, your clients can call you if they need to make any changes. Everything should be premium-grade, because there's no money to be made in the low-end market. Make your customer feel like your offer is actually worth the combined cost of hosting and support that you're charging them for.
I don't specialize in anything particular. I do both web and desktop apps for my client. They are a small suite of systems for collecting certain types of physics data, mapping it, and performing a basic analysis of subsets of that data. Other than setting up the servers (system administration is a weak spot for me), I've built everything of consequence in the project: from designing the database schema, to implementing and even improving the client's proprietary algorithms, to building a smooth, intuitive (as intuitive as this can get) UX around Google Maps. But it's mostly done now and I'm bored with the project.
Any tips on how to get out of such a rut?
Along the way I was able to run a website that delivered the retail customer website of a billion dollar company using my code.
How something as silly as hosting helped make it happen..
I have hosted customer apps and sites in a datacenter since about 98. Networking, security was something that there was little choice to avoid picking up in addition to software development.
Forget about today, even 15 years ago (man it's weird typing that), hosting was quickly becoming outdated. Yet, there was still an earnest need that was going unfulfilled.
The need I see repeatedly is for complex/custom hosting of Web apps and websites instead of the basic ones.
Example today? Even something as simple as Wordpress is a pain to reliably host when there is traffic for the average person. Someone deciding to master WP has lead to a fantastic startup with WPEngine which sits on the premium end compared to it's peers.
This isn't for everyone: assuming you have the ability to develop your skills as needed, and with the right support, you can tackle your slice of the complex/custom/app hosting market.
Even small businesses with custom workflow or website apps often end up needing their own vps or dedicated server to maintain. If you're this passionate about hosting, I'm trusting that you have or are pursuing dedicated hosting skills.
Putting together a managed server hosting package that may or may not provide application level support can be quite stable income assuming the line is clearly drawn between code induced issues vs infrastructure induced issues.
How much is on the other side?
On the low end I have changed a few hundred a month, all the way up to a few thousand a month, so a customer can have a sys and app admin rolled into one.
The right kind of customers definitely have a peace of mind budget, where they want the discipline and consistent availability of someone who cares about them more than a contractor. The bottom rung of customers don't scale very easily, either.
Here is a list of interview questions to ask a developer evangelist candidate:
It's a chance of giving up 2.5 weeks of pay to keep a 4-year company going longer term. If it flops, you're out a couple weeks pay but hopefully can take it, you've kept your staff on for a couple extra weeks, etc. If it succeeds, you've delayed pay for the executives by a few weeks (it may not be lost - much will depend on structure, etc. but if you're salaried and the startup is independently incorporated, it may be legally obligated for those 2+ weeks of pay), you've shown the staff that you're willing to give up your own pay to keep them on (loyalty!), etc.
* Who owns the other 70%?
* Who will pay the employees? Servers? ...
* Have a plan for the 3rd week. What would you do if the funding doesn't appear?
Google  and Dropbox  have started using it successfully. And we all know the scale at which they operate.
Another thing to consider is this will provide a back end and allow you to use any type of front end that you wish.
We use node extensively, great overall for quick to market and i/o type operations but requires some decent design choices to make it perform and easily maintainable.
PHP is good and you see tons of very scalable sites using it. It has issues, and done poorly (like anything) it can be a real bitch to deal with.
ASP.NET is the last one I would ever use at this point (although I spent years writing large systems in it). Mostly because of cost to deploy and scaling it can be a royal pain in the ass on top of expensive. Not that it can't be done, and done big and good. Just expensive to me compared to the other options.
Rails, I don't do anything with today. Not a bad platform from my understanding, quick to market, but generally not thought of for high performance applications. But again, design probably is the biggest factor here.
Frankly if I needed all out CPU performance for say an image filter or something along those lines, I'd write that functionality in C/C++ and connect it to any one of those frameworks. At which point I'd pick the web framework that got me to market the fastest.
If you have someone else building it, make sure they pick the one they are best in, or seek them out for being the best at what they do. Don't go to an ASP.NET shop and ask them to do it in Rails because you think that is the right framework. They might be able to do it, but unless the framework is a core competency it will never be as good as it should be.
Rails is a framework
Django is a framework
Node.JS is a platform/framework
ASP.NET is not a framework, but a language
PHP is not a framework but a language, HHVM is a platform
That being said: you did not specify what exactly you are planing to do. For most scenarios, the choice of the environment doesn't really matter. What DOES matter is that you find someone that is proficient, has experience and knows the pros/cons in whatever framework he is using.
If you really need minimal memory and CPU footprint, i'd suggest you choose Go.
If you're going to hire someone to do it, asking them what their preference is might be better than saying, "We're going to use x."
There are many factors at play with creating and running a SaaS-based business, and often technology plays a minor role. Even less important is how fast your chosen backend runs.
By the time you run into a technical scaling problem where you are stuck with a less-than-optimal solution, you've already solved much, much harder problems like finding customers, scaling a team, raising money, etc.
So decide how big your org will get, look at the skill sets of developers available in your local area, and partner with someone that has experience with both. Then let them make the decision on the tech and trust them.
Then you can focus your energy and attention on what's really important for your new business.
Radio Lab (science) -- http://www.radiolab.org/
THE science show to listen to. If you're going to listen to anything from this list, this is the show to listen to. It's very well produced and always interesting. Their most controversial show was Yellow Rain (http://www.radiolab.org/story/239549-yellow-rain/).
Freakonomics (science/economics) -- http://freakonomics.com/
I often consider this show to be Radio Lab's counterpart. Their headline is "exploring the hidden side of everything". Every single episode is fascinating (here is the show "Cobra Effect" to get you started: http://freakonomics.com/2012/10/11/the-cobra-effect-a-new-fr...). The shows all lean toward a very economist-like way of looking at things, so unless you're in the field, you'll enjoy much of the insights that come about because of this.
Planet Money (economics) -- http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/
Just a well-produced podcast about money and its long-reaching tendrils. Shows usually focus on interesting stories about money/finance that are in the "background" and go otherwise unnoticed by the population at large.
TED Radio Hour (everything) -- http://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/
Basically a radio version of TED talks. However! It's very well produced and every show is basically made for radio. It's not just TED talks with the video part stripped out.
This American Life (everything) -- http://www.thisamericanlife.org/
The most downloaded podcast for a reason.
The Irrelevant Show (comedy) -- http://www.cbc.ca/irrelevantshow/
Fantastic comedy sketch group from Canada. Their most famous cast member is probably Mark Meer (Shepard's voice actor in the Mass Effect games). While some of their sketches can fall flat, more often than not they make me smile. Their humour has a very Canadian slant, so unless you're living in Canada, sketches about, say, Canadian law and politics, might be a little more difficult to decipher. :)
Wait Wait Don't Tell Me (comedy) -- http://www.npr.org/programs/wait-wait-dont-tell-me/
The only show that actually manages to consistently make me laugh out loud in public. It's a news trivia show with a panel of well-established comedians and writers that participate in the game. Highly recommended.
Honourable mentions include:
To the Best of Our Knowledge -- http://www.ttbook.org/
Snap Judgement -- http://snapjudgment.org/
Intelligence Squared -- http://www.intelligencesquared.com/
Science Friday -- http://www.sciencefriday.com/
Ask Me Another -- http://www.npr.org/programs/ask-me-another/
* ATP: http://atp.fm
* Giant Robots: http://podcasts.thoughtbot.com/giantrobots
* The Changelog: http://thechangelog.com (disclaimer: co-host)
* Ruby Rogues: http://rubyrogues.com
* Debug: http://www.imore.com/debug
Non-tech but also lovely:
* We Have Concerns: http://wehaveconcerns.com
* The New Disruptors: http://newdisrupt.org
* The Incomparable: http://www.theincomparable.com
* IRL Talk: http://www.irltalk.com
Roderick on the line: http://www.merlinmann.com/roderick/
Back to Work: http://5by5.tv/b2w
Infinite Monkey Cage: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00snr0w (science, brilliant! no interspersed advertisements)
Hardcore History: http://www.dancarlin.com/disp.php/hh (when I need to get away from technology and science; professionally produced, no interspersed advertisements)
* Trivia: Good Job, Brain! http://www.goodjobbrain.com/
* Video games: Idle Thumbs https://www.idlethumbs.net/ -- they also had a book club that was fun
* Poetry Magazine podcast: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/features/audio?show=The%20Po...
* New Yorker podcasts: http://www.newyorker.com/podcasts
ted radio hour http://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/
linux outlaws http://sixgun.org/linuxoutlaws
accidental tech podcast http://atp.fm/
- Rich Roll Podcast (Lots of life inspiration & healthy eating advice)
- Tim Ferriss Podcast (Interesting random people and perspectives)
- An occasional episode of Joe Rogan Experience. I don't find Joe all that highly-intelligent, but I find his views, questions, and interviews interesting and thought-provoking.
- The Nerdist (Good, informal interviews)
- Trail Runner Nation
- Zencast (Everything by Gil Fronsdal)
I don't really listen to any tech podcasts anymore. I'll catch ATP on occasion, but for me they're all a bit of a waste of time, immersed in minutiae. I can catch all of the important bits I want with a 5 minute glance at my Twitter stream, or Techmeme or The Verge or wherever.
I also don't listen to every episode of the above podcasts. The only time I have for podcasts is during commuting and I take frequent breaks from any podcasts/music as a form of commuting meditation, left alone with my thoughts. That happens at least one day a week, and I've gone as long as 3 weeks of commuting in silence, with nothing playing.
Some people might still enjoy some Non-Tech ones below:
* NoAgenda http://feed.nashownotes.com/rss.xml
* The Smartest Man in the World - http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheSmartest?format=xml
I like Tim's style, very insightful and I think he gets some great guests.
FLOSS Weekly: http://twit.tv/show/floss-weekly
Tech Weekly: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/series/techweekly
Linux Voice: http://www.linuxvoice.com/category/podcasts/
Ubuntu UK: http://podcast.ubuntu-uk.org/
I find a good laugh important after a long day at work!
MKBHD: https://www.youtube.com/user/marquesbrownlee (reviews Android phones and talks about various tech news)
Rich Roll Podcast - Cool if you're into endurance sports, health, spirituality in a general sense.
MTNmeister - Outdoor related podcast (backpacking, climbing, etc.)
Enormocast - Rock climbing podcast, interview style.
BS Report with Bill Simmons - Sports focused.
Debug - Tech related.
DLC - Gaming related (video and tabletop)
Entrepreneurship: Stanford's Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders lecture series<http://ecorner.stanford.edu/podcasts.html>
"Every two weeks Bad Voltage delivers an amusing take on technology, Open Source, politics, music, and anything else we think is interesting, as well as interviews and reviews. The show is presented by Jono Bacon, Jeremy Garcia, Stuart Langridge, and Bryan Lunduke."
* Security Now: http://twit.tv/sn
Something you can listen while jogging or cycling, when reading is practically not an option.
* All Songs Considered: http://www.npr.org/blogs/allsongs/ - another good music podcast
This is a series about what happens when someone who knows nothing about business starts one. It's called StartUp.
I use node regularly for side projects and this podcast is both educational in Node's history and use, as well as inspirational.
Give it three episodes because you'll hate it after one.
Those two alone are more than sufficient to fill your time and fill your brain.
Linux Action Show
* Startups for the rest of us
* Bootstrapped with kids
- Forever Jobless
- Mad Marketing with Marcus Sheridan
- Smart Passive Income with Pat Flynn
- Empire Flippers
- The Nathan Berry Show
- Kalzemus Podcast (like twice a year there is a new ep.)
Those are the ones I haven't got tired of yet.
I used to like Startups For The Rest Of Us and The Foolish Adventure, but I sort of grew out of both of those as they got repetitive or I started to dislike the hosts (familiarity breeds contempt).
Great Lives - 20 minute biographies of famous dead people
The ranges cover mom and pop shops in small towns as well as big tech companies in Silicon Valley. Hopefully it's a good starting point!
That would be about $65/hour based on his hours.
I've been writing my own blog for 7 years. It still takes me at least half a day to write each of my posts (about 500 words). I post infrequently because of that. After all these years of writing on my blog, I only have a couple hundred subscribers. If I outsource it to post more regularly, would I be more efficient and effective? Probably.
The thing is, my writing is noticeably better over the years. I started out just brain dumping ideas and try to slip in screenshots whenever I can so my posts didn't look too pathetic (e.g. this one in 2008 http://www.quantisan.com/trade-of-the-day-bailed-out-of-a-wr.... Nowadays, I do the opposite. Getting your idea across simply and effortlessly for the reader is most important (e.g. this one from March, http://www.quantisan.com/more-problem-solving-less-solution-...). In recent years, my posts are getting more likes, more shares, and have been on HN a couple times.
Writing is like programming. Anyone can do it but to be good at it, you need to keep doing it and put in the effort to improve. Or, you can spend $300 for somebody else to do it for you.
1- Posts should have relevant pictures/video attached (Go to google > images > usage rights > and choose rights accordingly)
2- Make sure you read the articles afterwards to check any errors
3- Have a list of articles you want to write about each week and send them to your freelancer
4- Even better, if your freelancer can come up with ideas for your Blog posts
5- Compensate your freelancer accordingly (ie bonus if articles are really good)
6- Hire more than one freelancer if you want continuity. If one of your freelancer goes on holidays or is not interested anymore, you should have a backup ready.
So my answer is yes :)