Archive for June 14th, 2007

How to destroy competitors’ business model. Web 2.0 style. Part 3 of 7

Build a Strong Infrastructure- Design for scale.The Web 2.0 landscape is littered with promising apps that crashed and burned due to an inability to keep up with masses of user generated content and traffic. Do not be cheap at the start and build a so so infrastructure. Else you will constantly be fighting the infrastructure as you grow. And you will have no time! Good infrastructure takes up front time, a lot of time to research, source, test, configure and improving as you grow. We follow these ideas:

  • Remove possible limits at design stage
  • Access best practices
  • Modular means flexible
  • Support the team

Remove possible limits at design stage

Ensure that you can support and add languages easily. Choose the right platform, an OS that is meant for enterprise solutions. Open source all the way. Design for unlimited growth with plug-in components for scale. Its better for the company in so many ways to scale horizontally vs.vertically. In your design think ahead about support needs and the cost. You will never lose today by designing for an extremely fast site, the audience wants instant gratification. Fight any type of technology lock-in as it will cause you grief further along. By choosing open source you will reduce all costs while enjoying rapid improvements from people not on your payroll. To do this you need to stay current and attentive.

Incorporate best practices

Monitor the space to be aware of daily alerts of innovations. The infrastructure folks need to be sponges for news and views in their space. Learn from the winners in the space, they are very open to sharing their techniques. E.g. if you ask Google a tough technical question, they are very quick to come back with a fix or response. Learn from losers as to what caused their ship to crash. There are lots of on-line interviews with these folks. Learn from also-rans as you can see them not grow as fast and stall due to many issues, some of them infrastructure related. Encourage the team to have rapid trials. Failure is a failure to try. A heavily traffic site is also a very heavily searched site, to win it needs to be the best database company as well.  Ensure you have no single point of failure, things are always doubled up. No machine should share anything from another machine i.e. “Nothing Shared”

Modular design wins
Front end modules are used in the areas that need regular cosmetic changes. That is language, form factor, look and feel (skin). You need to be able to quickly roll out unique looking and branded regional sites as well as demographic sites. It is possible to create sites that are correct to the dialect level.
Back end modules are used where the standard heavy weapons are stored. These parts are designed to be easy to update, but no need for any rip and replace. They serve all your front end modules. We are talking open source database, business intelligence, market intelligence, location intelligence, search intelligence, load balancing intelligence tools and add-ons.

Support the team
You can not fight the technology as you grow. You encourage and push for rapid trial of new features and add-ons. The development team uses targeted live trial areas for daily tweaks (just like Amazon). Tested apps are rolled out immediately and regularly. Change is constant. All changes have an easy roll back capacity.

Next. Small is Best