AWS Official Blog

Top Ten Mistakes Startups Make Building Technology

by Jeff Barr | on | in Thought Pieces | | Comments

Have been thinking about startups and technology, for the obvious reason that Amazon Web Services seem to serve Startup needs so well. That led to some discussion, followed by more thinking, and finally an inevitable top ten list.

But rather than just saying these are the top ten mistakes that Startups need to avoid, it seems like the perfect opportunity to ask all of you what YOU think the top pitfalls are. Feel free to share your actual experiences, or those of your “friend.” What do you think? Love to hear your comments. Just asking that you restrict your list to technical reasons: well save the business reasons for another list.

Theres a zillion ingredients in startup success. The purpose of this list is to identify ten technical pitfalls to avoid in a Web startup.

  1. Failure to anticipate success, and failure to architect for it. (You cant anticipate all the bottlenecks in advance, or at least you cant afford to out-engineer them.)
  2. Failure to plan for failure (a.k.a. over-investment in hardware leads to inability to exit one idea and move on the next one.)
  3. Bad Location (Internet Alley instead of Internet Highway means that your bottleneck is bandwidth, latency, and second-tier operational environments).
  4. Technology Religion: (The louder someones opinion on a particular technology, the smaller the chance that their opinion is well reasoned.)
  5. Late adoption (Contrary to the “bleeding edge” cliche, early adopters are able to use technology as a differentiator that accelerates them out in front of the competition.)
  6. Failure to use technology as a strategic weapon. (Viewing technology as overhead or strictly as an operational expense is the fastest road to making decisions for the wrong reason.)
  7. Failure to plan results in an urgent care center rather than an online business. (You cant just throw stuff together and expect success.)
  8. Selecting the wrong bank, and the wrong payment gateway. (There are many anecdotes about gateway horror stories)
  9. Staying in the closet too long. (Startups are about success, and they thrive on new business. Its better to iterate on what works rather than hide behind a beta, because success never finds your plan, it just finds you.)
  10. Adding audio to your home page. (Doh!)

— Mike