A couple weeks ago, we met with Rajiv Ramnath (Associate CSE Professor at OSU and co-author of Android 3 SDK Programming For Dummies - affiliate link) to present a general overview of Quaffic and request he act as our technical advisor. A natural part of the conversation was about our current technical stack and deployment strategy. I proceeded to explain the different architectural components and particular technology/framework decisions we had made to get the application to its current state. Seeing as we were talking to a guy who is well-versed in the technical jargon and wouldn’t be fooled with fancy terms like “mobile API” and “SDK,” our explanation came with a bit of a disclaimer and was honestly lacking in confidence.
He asked how we were going to deploy the backend. We explained – with another disclaimer – what we knew and the different services we were considering. After sharing this, he shared something interesting with us. He said,
“Have confidence in your knowledge and abilities, and don’t get overly caught up on your technology stack. You and Eric have both graduated with degrees from an established program. You’ve done some research. Continue with what you know and realize you have the abilities to successfully adapt where you need to adapt.“
A simple but encouraging word. This is what we needed to hear, and I think this is just one small example of the many reasons advisors are of such value to a new startup. I wouldn’t say we were exactly losing sleep or time due to indecision, but there was definitely unneeded energy being spent determining whether or not our stack was the right stack and whether it would scale, be fast enough,
and sound sexy enough to get us some VC funding, etc.
Being in a situation where you’re able to make literally every single decision for an application is an interesting place to find yourself after spending years working within the confines of company architectures and/or university classroom boundaries. I’m a frequent follower of Hacker News, and I feel like literally several frameworks I’ve never even heard of show up in the top 25 articles on a weekly basis. In addition to those are ones I hear about non-stop but have never really used before (Node.js, Django, RoR, MongoDB, PostgreSQL, and the many ”code-once-deploy-everywhere-including-windows-3.2″ frameworks come to mind). Also given the first comment I read will contain a convincing reason for why the article is completely inaccurate, I’m met with enough options to make me start shaking (paradox of choice).
There are a plethora of resources out there, and there are plenty of people who are more than willing to share information. It’s a matter of accurately assessing where you are and being able to sift through the endless stream of data to be able to actually do something with it. We’re still working to find the balance.