Future of Web Apps – Ryan Carson

How to Build an Enterprise Web App on a Budget
Ryan Carson – DropSend

Definitely the most practicaal – reall figures and good advice.

Why it’s important

What’s the big deal? you don;t have to be big anymore…this has changed the landscape

Why now – broadband; people are comformatble with web apps. They provide ‘common aps’ such as mail; hardware is cheap; open source is cheap. Does not understand why you spoend money on a .Net app – why spend the money

Whats enterprise: mass market >1000 users

On a budget??? Under £30k

Dropsend – used for sending and storing large files – without having to explain FTP. 9500 users in 2 months; 5 servers; desktops apps with API; PHP. AJAX, MySQL

The most improtant thing: ensure your idea is financially viable; use common sense; be cautious about projections; are you still in business at 65%??? Aim for profit – not aquisition; forget about the bubble – if your stuff is good it’ll work

Budget: Diff budgets for diff apps;

Branding and UI: £5000 (with friends discount!)
Development: £8500 (Plum Digital Media) – offered some equity to reduce costs
Desktops apps: £2750
XHTML/CSS: £1600
Hardware: £500
Hosting/Maintenance £800/month – for 5 boxes – maintenance as well. can afford outages. a 99.9% uptime cost is far greater. Need to know what your company needs
Legal: £2630
Accounting: £500
Misc: £1950
Trademark: £250 (do it before you finish branding – you may not get your preference)
Merchant account: £200
Payment Processor: £500

Total: £25,680
Spread out over a long time, make sure you plug into cash flow

They had a size business – the Carson Workshops

The Reality: took them about a year to save the cash; use the time to learn and work at becoming mature as a company

Building a Team on the Budget: no money, so how to build a team? Don’t go to rockstarts, go for quiet talent; offer a small percentage of equity (2-5%); ask people for recommendations; outsource – but India did not work for them.

Scaleability on a budget: buy just enough hardware to laucnh (basecamp launched on 1 server). Don;t go overboard – wait to see the success; build it so it scales; plan but don’t obsess;

How to keep it cheap: don’t spend money unless you have to; No stationery – they wasted £1000; don’t do new shiny machines; no luxuries; no frou-frou features; before you spend £25 check yourself

How to keep it cheap: make deals; give a small % away; barter services or ads; use IM/Skype; do as much as possible yourself – wireframing – wireframing-marketing-bookkeeping-copywriting; get friends to help – usability testing; shop around – the first hosting cost was £12k/month

Pessimism has its place: you’ll go 10% over budget, three months over schedule, plan and ensure in cashflow plans

lawyers are expensive! always, every single time. Terms of Service – £1000; contracts for freelancers – £800; Privacy Policy – £15; (clickbox can give some cheap legal docs); Barter! take the free consultations

Cheap software is your friend: Project Management = basecamp; Bugtracker = Trac; Meetings = Skype and AIM; Version Control = Subversion; LAMP

Cheap Hardware: cheap box for dev £200

Marketing – don’t spend money: Blogs; word of mouth; viral; writing – articles in magazines;

VC? You may need it: if you need to expand quickly; if you canpt wait to save the cash; you need a really good reason to go that way – why give up 25-50%

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