Simon Willison’s Weblog


184 items tagged “startups”


Which Bay Area startups are going to SXSW 2011? will be there—both myself and Nat.

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What is it like going through the Y Combinator program?

This essay is pretty comprehensive—it’s what convinced us to apply to YC, and our experience so far has been true to what it describes:

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What are the most recent Y Combinator startup companies as of 2011?

We (Lanyrd) are a YC startup! We’ve just announced our participation:

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What is a good business model for open source projects?


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What is the best way to find about the upcoming startup events in India?

There are quite a few events of interest to entrepreneurs showing up on Lanyrd:—you can also subscribe to our Atom feed for that page to hear about future events.

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What do people think of Tim Ferriss?

I didn’t make it to the end of the 4-Hour Work Week because I was uncomfortable with the morality of it (the Tae Kwon Do stuff, for example). If everyone behaved like that, society wouldn’t function.

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Where can I find a calendar of upcoming tech events in the San Francisco / Bay area?

Take a look at

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What are the main things a non-technical co-founder of a tech company should focus on while the site is still being developed?

Building the right product.

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If I’m bootstrapping a company and expect to get funding within months, what structure of company do VC’s look for?  C Corp, S Corp, LLC?

Apparently a Delaware C Corp makes everything a whole lot easier once VCs are involved.

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What are some ways I can get the word out about my startup/entrepreneur focused conference?

Add it to and make sure you list all of the speakers. Then anyone who signs in to Lanyrd and is following at least one of your speakers on Twitter will be told about your event.

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What are the differences between GDC and SXSW? Which one is better for a web entrepreneur?

I haven’t been to GDC, but it’s a game development conference. SxSW interactive is almost entirely web stuff, so it would be a better fit for a web entrepreneur.

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Why is Java perceived as not cool for startups? We seem to be getting a lot of feedback lately that a startup should be using Ruby on Rails, PHP, Python, etc., if they want to be agile and iterate quickly.

You should re-evaluate your beliefs. Dynamic language programmers spend a great deal of time thinking about code quality and maintainability. TDD (and BDD), which I believe was first popularised within the Ruby community) are extremely widespread, and profiling and debugging tools are widely used and constantly improved. A strong test suite provides far more effective protection against bugs than static typing and an IDE.

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What are some good book discovery and recommendation sites?

I really like—here’s an example profile:

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Would you recommend using Google Go with web.go, or Node.js for a new web server project which will involve high IO?

If you already know JavaScript, picking up Node.js is pretty easy. It also has a much larger community of web developers around it at the moment than web.go, which means there’s more example code / open source bits and pieces floating around.

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Is there a good online calendar for upcoming technology conferences?

We’re trying to build exactly this with—not just for technology conferences, but they are definitely our largest niche.

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Is it a good idea for new start-up to outsource Software/App Development?

It depends on what you mean by “outsourcing”.

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What would the level of interest be in a “FailConf” where people shared their business and technology epic failures and lessons learned?

It already exists: and

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What startups host 100% of their private code on GitHub? does.

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Is the 90-9-1 rule of user participation a myth?

Anecdotal evidence from crowdsourcing style projects I’ve worked on tend to support the basic principle (if not the exact ratios). The vast majority of the work on projects I have been involved with ends up being performed by a tiny subset of highly active users.

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Does Quora have the same problem as Stack Overflow?

Quora isn’t one community, it’s thousands of separate communities—a community for each tag, and then a community for each user comprising their followers. As such, I think it will scale much better than the Stack Overflow community did, without needing to split out in to separate verticals.

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What I’m writing here is the single most important take-away from my Sun years, and it fits in a sentence: The community of developers whose work you see on the Web, who probably don’t know what ADO or UML or JPA even stand for, deploy better systems at less cost in less time at lower risk than we see in the Enterprise.

Tim Bray # 6th January 2010, 8:20 am

Balsamiq: A look back at 2009. Peldi Guilizzoni from Balsamiq shares some numbers from 2009—$1.1 million profit on $1.6 million revenue, with a team of three people. # 3rd January 2010, 12:13 pm


StartupBoeing—Starting an Airline (via) Boeing’s guide to starting your own airline. # 15th December 2009, 10:38 pm

If you review your first site version and don’t feel embarrassment, you spent too much time on it.

Reid Hoffman # 21st May 2009, 9:56 pm

We advise startups to launch when they’ve added a quantum of utility: when there is at least some set of users who would be excited to hear about it, because they can now do something they couldn’t do before.

Paul Graham # 2nd April 2009, 10:43 am


Silicon Swings and Silicon Roundabouts. Matt Locke’s advice for anyone hoping to build a “Tech Hub” for startups, based on personal experience gained running a media centre in Yorkshire in the 90s. # 1st August 2008, 8:20 pm

Silicon Roundabout. Matt Biddulph maps the abundance of interesting startups and tech companies that have popped up around Old Street in London. # 28th July 2008, 1:36 am

How to sell your software for $20,000 (via) The best article I’ve read on software entrepreneurship in ages. # 28th June 2008, 9:21 am


Hello 2.0. Revver, one of the more established video startups, have launched their new version which is powered by Django. # 2nd November 2007, 7:03 am