Exponential decline and fall

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A panel at the Wharton Business Technology Conference inspires mobility guru Russ McGuire to ponder bygone days:

My key reflection from this panel was that in 1995 I founded an Internet startup, had to buy a $20,000 Sun server and pay $1000 a month for T1 access to the Internet. In 2001 I founded another Internet startup, bought a $2000 Sun Internet appliance and payed $100 a month for business DSL. Today I continue to launch Internet-based projects (because I love it) but today I'm using Google Apps (for free) to set up the basic infrastructure, and am beginning to mess around with Amazon Web Services for a very scalable and affordable solution instead of a server or traditional hosting. My how the world has changed in a baker's dozen years!

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As someone who has been working a new startup in Oz, I can tell you that this is only half of the story. I created my first commercial website, an online catalog for a distributor of safety and DOT products, back in 1994. While the hardware and expenses were high -- even then we were hosting -- the expectations were low for functionality. We could get away with things that we just can't today.

This latest startup is probably going to stall because of the massive requirements for functionality in its market. 37Signals may be able to create half an application, but in some markets that's just not possible.

All said, the software requirements for 1995 were much less expensive than those today. What I save in hardware I have to spend in software development or integration. Even sending it to a house I know in India wouldn't bring this project quite into what we thought initially.

Hardware is cheaper but the TC for successful IT has been more stable than his comment would imply. We've saved some but not extraordinary amounts, partly because of the rise cost of developers.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 3, 2008 8:13 PM.

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