The other day I had the pleasure of meeting Amazon CTO Werner, the man behind Amazon’s cloud service. As the father of the cloud I was curious to learn more about why and how he built AWS. Luckily he was happy to share:-)
The first insight is that Amazon built the cloud hosting service to deal with their own scaling problems. They quickly figured that if they could solve their problems, they could solve the server problems for others too. The rest is history.
AWS’s golden rules:
-Designed for flexibility. No lock in whatsoeveer that might hinder engineers wanting to us it.
-On demand. “Amazon was very seasonal so we needed to be able to upscale servers fast and downscale fast. Otherwise engineers would not give up the extra server capacity in slow times but hold on to it “just in case”. by building on demand we could use our sources better”
-Automated. Because otherwise engineers would try to predict demand, and that is not their area of expertise -Elastic. A core feature is not just that you can upscale capacity fast when you need it, also that you can downscale. This is critical for business success as it minimised losses in times of failure, which will in evidently happen designed
- Utility pricing - Transparent. The reality is that developers need to know where their data is to satisfy regulatory demands. So several clouds were required. Drink their own cool-aid? Yes, Since launch AWS lowered prices 14 times
Thanks to hack fwd, the european seed fund as who’se event Build07 i met Werner
More? @Werner @HackFwd I am writing another couple of posts relating to this so follow me on twitter if you want to know when more is posted @tahitahi
How to succeed - Key learnings from Startup Genome Project
In the last few years we’ve started getting data on how to build a startup. We now have quantitative data which founders can use to improve, tweak and accelerate their progress. Personally I am immensely interested in everything that can get us one step closer to success, and I think all founders should be focussed on working on their business instead of just in it.
Yesterday I met with Fadi Bishara from Blackbox and The Startup Genome Project. I am going to be doing a couple of blog posts based on that but here are the overall learnings. Very interesting if you ask me!
- Who learns fast, is more likely to succeed (building a startup is a learning process not a pre-destined itinerary. So those who keep listening and learning from the best do the best)
-Don’t work part time (statistically almost noone who tries to build a startup part time succeed. Of course there are exceptions, Foursquare for example, but they are exactly that - exceptions)
-Don’t start a company alone With a tech startup you have 70% chance of failure if you start without tech cofounder. 2 is in so many ways the optimum number of founders - much better than one and slightly better than 3.
- Do what you are good at. (choose the right type of market according to the skills inside the team - a team strongest on sales should go for an area where this is the key job).
- Pivot 1-2 times (pivot means changing your business a bit, like the customer segment, the business model ect. It is a part of the learning process. Statistically if you pivot 1-2 times you are way more likely to succeed than no pivots, or more pivots
More to come, for now follow Fadi bishara, Startup Genome Project on @fbishara
I went to Seedcamp week this week. As I am turning up to tons of other events over the next months. London is always summing with energy and opportunity as lots of Europe’s key investors, founders and new talent converge. Being there provides opportunity in itself as you meet so many useful business contacts.
My point is, that the first step in succeeding is simply turning up.
Visibility and reputation are two strong currencies if you want be successful. Attending events where lots of key people are congregated allows you to work on both simultaneously. Just being there shows you’ve understood what it takes, and talking to people allows you to demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about, which builds your reputation.
Whether you might need people later to get funding or do commercial partnerships it is always useful to have built a rapport with them in advance.
Lots of the most ambitious founders and investors were there during the week. Personally I made some useful connections to facebook and a couple of other services Everplaces could integrate with in the future. It would have taken many hours of hard work getting these relationships in another manner. So for me events like seedcamp is intensified work that allows me to do a month’s worth of relationship building in three days,
It goes without saying that the value depends on the stage you’re at with your company. If you still a startup, interested in meeting people who n fund you further in the future or commercial integration opportunities then events like seed camp are great. Also if you’re looking for investment opportunities. But at other stages of your company there are other just events you should be visible at.
So, I highly recommend turning up! In my book it’s the first step towards succeeding. Because you never know which opportunity you might come across. The only thing you can be sure of is that you won’t meet that opportunity if you stay in the office.
The six weapons of influence for a launch strategy
According to Robert Caildini six weapons of influence exists. I’ve been looking at them as we’re deciding how to launch Everplaces. Here they are, in order of importance for launch strategies. As I see it anyway.
Social Proof - People will do things that they see other people are doing. So, all your friends are using it then you’re probably going to want it too. This is hugely influential in launching and marketing technology products because people want to be the first among friends.
Liking - People are easily persuaded by other people that they like. (Apparently this also goes for people they think are hot!)
Scarcity - Perceived scarcity will generate demand. For example, saying offers are available for a “limited time only” encourages sales. This is the concept behind the “by invitation only” launch concepts
Authority - People will tend to obey authority figures. Think celebrity/ expert endorsements of a product. If Jack Dorsey wants it. I want it too!
Reciprocity - People tend to return a favor, thus the pervasiveness of free samples in marketing. Networking is partly based on this principle.
Commitment and Consistency - If people commit, orally or in writing, to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honor that commitment because of establishing that idea or goal as being congruent with their self image. So Robert says. I have no idea what that means.
Want to learn more? Interesting article by Smashing Magazines here on building viral webpages
Follow suggestion for launch strategy: @smashingmag @renate
Babyboomers - the next demographic layer in adoption of tablets?
My mum got a kindle today. And my dad an iphone. They are totally non-techies. Is this a sign that we’ve hit the the next wave in user adoption of tablets and smartphones?
It made me ponder whether we have reached the tipping point of these two technologies. And marvel at how fast this happened. I mean, when 50-something, retired, middle class people with no technical skills or tech interest whatsoever start buying the products then it generally means adoption has reached a new layer of demographic.
Why some tech products spread fast?
The beauty of both the iphone and the kindle is that it is easy to use. That does wonder for word of mouth. It means that technically-inclined people recommend them to non technical family members. Because we trust it will make their lives easier, not the opposite. As such we bridge the gap between early and later adopters and spread it to the next layer.
Another reason is that these products make sense non-technically. It is not gadgets for the sake of gadgets, they are actually useful for a purposes ordinary people have. For people like my mother who reads three books a week and travels a lot the Kindle is a lifesaver. My father is a curious souls who enjoys being able to check the weather, maps and stuff like flight time arrivals. All of this, the iPhone makes so much easier than the previous (non-smart) internet phone.
And they are excellent consumers…
This age group often couldn’t care less that an app costs $1. They’ve made their money and are now happy to spend a little to have what they want. This makes them an interesting user group whom most tech companies are over looking. I mean, there’s lots of babyboomers and most of them have money to spend.
While we’re talking about demographics, here’s some stuff I’ve found interesting recently:
- 31 percent of iPhone users are 35-49 years old
- In total, 74 percent of iPhone users are over the age of 25
- More than 70 percent of users on both the iPhone are male
- In line with the older demographic composition of iPhone users, they also have higher incomes (78 percent of iPhone users have an annual household income of at least $25,000)
- When the survey below was being done iPhone users planned to buy lots of stuff using it. (clothing (57 percent), entertainment (47 percent), and travel (45 percent))