We Make The Internet Work For You
I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about the changing landscape of the internet and the "Ancient Landmarks" of the internet. I've been getting a lot of correspondence about from people who are looking to create the next facebook with a $1,000 budget.
If you are a programmer than you probably are well aware that if it were possible to create facebook for $1,000 than everyone would be a billionaire. However, it's not rocket science to determine that it's going to cost more than $1,000 to create the next facebook.
Just how do online companies grow into billion dollar operations. Well the same way that any other business grows to that size. By making the right investments into the right people at the right time. You could create a basic prototype of a social networking website for under $1,000. However, to run a business that services many many people requires a team effort. One person cannot give that many people the attention required to gain the trust of a large group of people.
However, one person can program an application that is easy for a large group of people to use requiring less requests for support and less of a burden on your developer. So one of the things we focus on in our business is to help our customers understand the process. Over the course of 15 years of business we have seen many successes and many failures. There's just nothing worse than creating a nice web application for a client who doesn't understand the concept of how a computer is going to respond to 50,000 people and the security and infrastructure that needs to be in place in order to provide a 24/7 service to a large amount of people counting on the service to put food on their table.
The last position that you want to be in. Is the one where you have a nice web application built that works well for 100 or so people. Than you spend a large amount of money to promote the website and the promoting is effective sending a million people to your website, and you will never realize or even see it because behind the scenes all million of those people got redirected because the website simply couldn't handle the load.
Even if the servers can handle the load you still need to have a team in place to handle issues. Launching software to 50,000 people often exposes issues with software you just cannot test until 50,000 people are using the website. You can do robotic testing in house by creating a web robot that can simulate if your site will be able to handle the load but there is always going to be someone trying to hack into your system or worse yet multiple people are trying to hack into your system at the exact same time.
To run a successful web service requires a team effort. Depending on scale of course. Not every company needs millions of people to buy their products to be successful. Some businesses can make millions of dollars in sales and maintain only a few thousand visitors per week or month. However, to get up over that threshold and onto the big boy sites pushing millions of users is where you need expertise. As well as a team of people.
So how would you get started moving into this direction. The first thing you need is a prototype or just a website that "Works" and shows that you have a feasible service that people are looking to spend money on. That is logically possible to produce. You'd be surprised at how many people come up with idea's that aren't logically possible. After a while it comes to a point where it's not about writing PHP, or HTML, or whatever you need to run your service. It's about the hardware that it runs on and if its profitable to release the software to a million people. At that point the job becomes designing a web server that is profitable to run the service on.
The internet can be confusing to people because there are all kinds of people pulling everyone into all different types of directions. With varying degrees of experience. for a small business who doesn't need 50,000 people they can probably get away with hiring a less experienced programmer and putting together a budget website. That will probably pay for itself. There is an entire industry dedicated to turning out low volume wordpress websites, wix websites, and shopify sites. However, of $25 a month or whatever it is they charge for those sites. Your business is just another slot on a hard disk. You am thousands of other businesses like yours collectively take up a computer no bigger than a desktop computer in a server farm of thousands of computers somewhere. If your website starts interfering with the operation of thousands of other websites on the same server it's simply going to get turned off because the thousands of other customers service are a priority over your website. In those cases you'll probably find that the company hosting the website probably figured out what you had on your website attracting so many people. Than because they have the computers large enough to handle a large volume of people. They make a site similar to yours than launch it on a properly design computer network capable of providing the service.
To make a website with millions of users you need to start by figuring out what is the most cost effective way to get the computers needed to run it. Millions of people aren't going anywhere unless they have a place to go. It would be like trying to have a Grateful Dead or Phish concert in an apartment in an apartment building. There just wouldn't be any place for people to go, therefore it simply isn't possible.
This is exactly why we have our own in house servers now. This way your prototypes aren't on the servers of some big company halfway around the world where someone can take your ideas and implement it before you are able to put out the code. Here is an analogy that might make this concept easier to understand.
Lets say you make money by how much rain water that you can collect. That means the next time it rains you need to be able to quickly deploy a system that you can set up to collect as much rainwater as possible. You just don't want anyone to see your system before you are able to collect a lot of rainwater and be ahead of everyone else. So you work on putting together tubs and a drainage system. Now you don't want to leave the idea sitting on the lawn waiting for the next rain. Otherwise, someone will see it complain about it and by the time it rains everyone has built the system or similar system on their own to test out, a law or ordinance may get passed preventing you from collecting any rainwater because someone else did it carelessly. Causing other people to act. So before you even get a chance to deploy the system someone else has already ruined it.
However, if you keep the project under wraps, keep an eye on the weather report. Than spend some time studying how you can quickly deploy your system. Narrow it down so you can have your system set up in 15 minutes already have everything mapped out. Than when the next big rain comes you quickly run out there and deploy your system and collect as much rain water as possible. Before anyone even knows what happened. This way even if people copy the idea you've already been able to make enough money from that one rain that it will be hard for anyone to keep up with you. You've already made enough money off the idea to stay ahead of the curve.
There are ways to launch a project and there are ways to not launch a project. At Vermont Internet Design at the end of the day the customer is in control. Whatever , the customer needs is ultimately what we will build them. However, some clients who are looking for expertise and want to turn over the engineering to the engineers will get great value by doing business with us. Everything we do here is of great value in one way or another, sometimes we do take on smaller low budget clients if they are promoting a good cause of course. Anyways, just thought I would put out a newsletter this morning so I could release some "knowledge from the desk". Maybe stirring up some ideas.