Starting a Tech Business. A Practical Guide for Anyone Creating or Designing Applications or Software

  • ID: 2218446
  • Book
  • 258 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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"Alex′s book deploys decades of the best ideas towards a practical, immediately usable recipe for building technology–based businesses. I particularly liked Alex′s list of challenges entrepreneurs face across the life of the venture, with playful names like The Lawn Gnome of Indolence, The Hydra of Operational Readiness, and The Whale of Scale, to name a few. I also liked the case study that Alex used throughout the book showing exactly how to use the tools in each chapter. This is a big book. But don′t be daunted. It dives into the detail that is missing in most other entrepreneurship books to show you how to do it." TOM KOSNIK, Professor, Stanford University

"Some books on high tech flirt with the details, but this one goes all the way. Alex shows how attention to a highly manageable set of specifics dramatically increases the effectiveness of a tech venture." JAN LINDNER, former CTO, Sierra Online Games (a division of Vivendi)

"Readers of this book will steer clear of many, many bumps on the road to success." SCOTT HOFFPAUIR, CTO, BroadSoft

"Starting a Tech Business is both a primer for first–time entrepreneurs and the book experienced execs should keep handy too." MARK VOGL, Executive Director, Bay Area Video Coalition

Starting a technology–enabled business is cheaper and easier than ever before. Starting a Tech Business supplies the tools prospective entrepreneurs and managers need to avoid common pitfalls and succeed in the fast–paced world of high–tech business. Get practical checklists and frameworks that business owners, entrepreneurs, and professionals can apply to any web–based business idea. You′ll learn how to move a product idea to market quickly and inexpensively and to tap into the stream of wealth that a tech business can provide.

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Acknowledgments xi

Introduction xiii

Who Should Read This? Why? xiii

What Is a Technology System? xv

Leveraging Industry Shifts xvii

What Will I Get out of These Chapters? xviii

Who Is the Author? xxvi

Chapter 1 The Idea: Confront the Lawn Gnome of Indolence 1

Conception 1

Reality Testing 3

Footprint 25

Platforms 26

Engaging Moonlighters 28

Beta Customers 30

Checklist 33

Specialty Reading by Topic 33

Chapter 2 The Strategy: Saddle the Racehorse of Blind Progress 35

What Strategy? 35

Squaring the Four Ps 36

Company Strategy 40

More on Catalysts 47

Iterative Management 48

Bringing It All Together 56

Checklist 60

Specialty Reading by Topic 61

Chapter 3 The Product: Pin the Butterfly of Incoherence 63

Thinking Like a Designer 63

User Stories 67

Using the MVC Framework for a High–Level Design 73

The View 76

The Model 86

The Controller 93

Iterative Learning and Design 95

Pulling It All Together 96

Checklist 97

Specialty Reading by Topic 98

Chapter 4 The Architecture: Unravel the Python of Monolithic Architecture 99

Industrial Revolution 2.0 99

Designing an Architecture 100

Understanding Integration 102

Architecture Piece Parts at Enable Quiz 104

Evaluating Piece Parts 115

Understanding Open Source 117

Understanding Development Tools 119

Checklist 128

Specialty Reading by Topic 128

Chapter 5 The Team: Dodge the Magpie of Discord 129

Who Are These Software People? 129

Roles and Skill Sets at Enable Quiz 133

Evaluating New Hires 142

Evaluating Third–Party Firms 148

Motivation 151

Going Offshore 152

Contracting 155

Internal Tools 155

Checklist 158

Specialty Reading by Topic 159

Chapter 6 Getting to Beta: Discipline the Chihuahua of Unruly Development 161

From Here to There 161

Planning at Enable Quiz 166

The Reality 176

Documentation 180

Checklist 191

Specialty Reading by Topic 192

Chapter 7 Beta! Slaying the Hydra of Operational Readiness 193

Process, Process, Process 193

Process Example: Enable Quiz 200

You Are My Beta 217

Checklist 220

Specialty Reading by Topic 220

Chapter 8 Scaling the Business: Riding the Whale of Scale 221

The Launch: Is It Working? 221

Partnerships 228

Focus, Focus, Focus 233

The Chasm and the Hockey Stick 235

Managing Feedback at Enable Quiz 240

Learning When (and How) to Say No 241

Post–Mortems 243

Scaling 244

What Now? 245

Checklist 247

Specialty Reading by Topic 248

Index 249

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ALEX COWAN is the founder and CTO of Leonid Systems, a software company providing solutions to the world′s largest communications providers. He has worked with companies ranging from start–ups to Fortune 100s, improving their competitive advantage in a fast–changing high–tech landscape. He lives in Aptos, California, and can be reached at

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