Browsing articles from "July, 2007"

AWS: Everyone’s Doing It

It was reported earlier this year that Amazon S3 had reached 5 billion stored objects. AWS is cost-effective and easy. That’s why everyone’s using it.

Some startups use AWS as their primary storage/processing mechanism, while others use it as secondary. In the primary approach, just about everything runs on AWS. In secondary, AWS is used as a failover/backup mechanism. It provides additional storage or acts as a way to roll out extra features or services without adding to your own infrastructure.

What’s ironic is that this approach has been tried before but never gained wide-spread adoption. Sun, for example, has, which offers “flexible access to the pay-per-use computing resources of the Sun Grid Compute Utility.” But when you look at the site, it is targeted at “big” compute problems like computational mathematics, CAD, EDA, and financial services.

What AWS capitalizes on is an overall trend: the wave of low cost available infrastructure and resources, from open source to off shore development that are changing the ability to test new ideas and iterate products at incredible speed. AWS taps into this wave and helps expand it.

I frequently get asked by entrepreneurs if people are using AWS. The resounding answer is: yes.

Now I just hope Amazon is on a path to solve the resulting capacity challenges.

Jul 26, 2007

MeshWalk – July 25

We’re excited to be sponsoring the MeshWalk Palo Alto on July 25. Check out the site for more details on this great moving un-conference.

“MeshWalk Palo Alto on the theme of Entrepreneurship will be July 25th. Over the course of the day about 100 selected entrepreneurs will walk through Palo Alto and Sand Hill Road, meeting with investors and fellow founders and discussing the process of starting and funding a company.”

Jul 22, 2007

BR Is The New PR

We’re seeing announcements of a number of traditional media outlets facing challenges. One big reason for that is because BR is the new PR.

PR = Press Relations
BR = Blog Relations


A press release or story carried in the mainstream press is going to take you far. But to build business and drive traffic now, BR is a must. It’s not sufficient to post a few links here and there. You really have to invest and dedicate time and effort to blog relations. Not only is this important to drive traffic and users but it’s also important because it connects you in with your community.

Fail to do BR and not only are you not current on how to do marketing today, but you’re simply not connecting with your community.

As Doc Searls pointed out long ago, “Markets are conversations… that consist of human beings, not demographic sectors.”

PR was a one-way broadcast. BR is a conversation.

Jul 18, 2007

From Zero to Ten Million

The CommunityNext event last Saturday was great. I had a blast and met a ton of interesting people. It’s easy to moderate a panel when you have entrepreneurs who have such immense knowledge about what they are doing. Plus I got to meet Eric Nakagawa from icanhascheezburger. You should check out his wonderful site if you haven’t already.

Some takeaways from the conference and follow up meetings this week:

  • User acquisition is engineered. Just the way great products are engineered, user acquisition is engineered. It is not left to change, it does not “just happen.” It takes a lot of work to create viral, organic growth.
  • What is one key difference between true viral acquisition and seemingly viral acquisition? Not that it necessarily matters in terms of eventual business outcome, but true viral costs next to nothing for user acquisition . Seemingly viral costs something. You are paying to pick up users. One can argue it makes sense to get to some critical mass – say 1M users, if you have the capital to go do that. But true viral means your user/customer acquisition costs are about zero. The rest, after the operating costs of your people and servers, is all upside.
  • It’s a tough hiring environment right now. One of the best strategies for finding developers is to contact the engineers behind your favorite widget/app/etc. and see if they want to come work with you full time.
Jul 18, 2007