Forum: Ruby on Rails Riding the Rails to acquisition

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John W. (Guest)
on 2006-02-08 15:59
(Received via mailing list)
Guys,

I think many of us on this list would consider ourselves entrepreneurs.
I'm willing to bet at least 40% of you are working on ideas for
startups...hoping that you just might have the next Flickr, Oddpost,
del.icio.us, etc.

Me too, for what it's worth. Rails is good for this, in that it enables
you to move quickly (after the learning curve) and it's currently buzzy,
which will lend your startup a certain amount of press and blog buzz
right out of the gate, if your app is of any value at all.

As an entrepreneur in the current tech landscape, what is the end goal?
I posit that there are two things that could ideally happen to a
startup: create a profitable company and application that is sustainable
on its own, or create a popular application that generates a lot of buzz
and gets acquired by a larger company (as in Yahoo/Flickr, Yahoo/
OddPost, Google/Blogger, etc, etc). Sure, there are other possibilities,
such as creating an application that does just well enough to pay the
bills and sustain your livelihood, or, create an application that can't
and folding, but I think we'd all agree that the first two are
desirable...either way, you become financially wealthy and have freedom
to focus on the problems you want to solve going forward.

My question is, how much do you think the selection of Rails, which
truly is a new technology and not very widespread (yet) in terms of
corporate acceptance, will impact the attractiveness of a startup hoping
to be acquired? I'm a huge fan of Ruby and really enjoy Rails, but I
don't want to make decisions early that will taint my options
downstream. Surveying what has come before us: Flickr is written in PHP,
which Yahoo uses across the company. OddPost appears to be written in
DHTML and Python, and while not PHP we all know Python at least
currently trumps Ruby in use in corporations. del.icio.us is written in
Java...again a widespread and openly adopted technology.

I think as time goes on, this will be less of an issue with Rails, and
truthfully it might not be an issue now, but I would like to hear
opinions from the community.

Thanks!
John
San (Guest)
on 2006-02-08 17:49
(Received via mailing list)
Coming from a guy who's been through this once before:

The VC's could care less what you build the app in.  It's all about
time-to-market and monetization.  And no acquisition is going to be put
off because someone says "Sorry, we only buy companies that write code
in PHP".

What matters? For a public web-app, if you can beat everyone to the
'network effect' or if it's a corporate app, if you can quickly shrink
the sales cycle from months to weeks, then that's what you're measured
on.

If Ruby/Rails is your magic sauce, then great.  If you're a PHP or Java
or Lisp shop, that's great too.  In the end it's what you deliver that
matters.

The only place where I can see a 'non-Java' solution hitting a little
resistance is if you're selling enterprise software without attached
hardware.  You'll probably get some raised eyebrows from the IT staff
when they're evaluating your project (Ruby/Rails is still pretty
anonymous in corporate IT shops).  But honestly, save yourself the
hassle and bundle the software with a cheap rack PC and call it an
'appliance'.

No one ever asks what the Google Appliance is written in ;)

My only suggestion: don't build for acquisition, build for the long
haul.  Acquisition is a nice option, but it's a lot less heartache if
it's just one of your options.

As for me, Rails is my sauce.

-Sanford
Jarkko L. (Guest)
on 2006-02-08 17:51
(Received via mailing list)
On 8.2.2006, at 15.58, John W. wrote:
> currently trumps Ruby in use in corporations. del.icio.us is
> written in
> Java...again a widespread and openly adopted technology.

It's not an issue, end of story. The companies ? at least the
companies you'd like to get bought by ? are smart enough to look
beyond the chosen technology. They are not the kind of MBA customers
selecting the platform based on buzzwords.

If something, I think using Rails would be an advantage. It shows
that you've the guts to divert from the mainstream. Just look at all
the buzz Rails has gained in the webdev world. David and Dave are
busy speaking at Amazon, Yahoo etc.

//jarkko


--
Jarkko L.
http://jlaine.net
http://odesign.fi
Steve O. (Guest)
on 2006-02-08 18:08
(Received via mailing list)
Following on what Jarkko said, Amazon is interested in rails. DHH had a
blog
posting on Amazon's internal use of rails:
http://www.loudthinking.com/arc/000558.html

Steve
http://www.smarkets.net
Jay L. (Guest)
on 2006-02-08 18:44
(Received via mailing list)
On 8 Feb 2006 13:58:55 -0000, John W. wrote:

> either way, you become financially wealthy and have freedom
> to focus on the problems you want to solve going forward.
...
> I'm a huge fan of Ruby and really enjoy Rails, but I
> don't want to make decisions early that will taint my options
> downstream.

At AOL, redesigning the mail system, I chose to do it entirely in PL/I
using Stratus minicomputers, because that's what the company was already
using for everything.  In turn, we chose those because we already had
them
from the shell of a previous, failed startup.

We did pretty okay.

Did we have to redesign it again later?  Yes, of course, continually,
like
any project.  And ended up porting every single piece of it to a
different
platform - live, mind you, with no outages.  I think there's still one
or
two old mail processes running on Stratus, but other bits are on Linux,
Tandem, Sun, SGI, HP, Alpha, Sybase, and god knows what else.

So if rails is the right framework for your project and style, then use
it.
Don't overthink.  Just code.

Jay L.
Giles B. (Guest)
on 2006-02-08 19:33
(Received via mailing list)
If you want to build something so valuable a corporation will pay
millions to get it, you need to be smarter than they are to begin
with, and to make much better decisions than they are already making.
Otherwise they could build it themselves.

Therefore you need to disregard the entire corporate decision-making
process and start from jump with a much better decision-making
process.

Here's one: make your decision based on the technology. That right
there is a better process than the process the corporations use.

Go here:

http://www.paulgraham.com/articles.html

And read everything related to startups and programming languages.


Giles


ps: and yes, use Rails!

On 2/8/06, Jay L. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> using Stratus minicomputers, because that's what the company was already
>
> So if rails is the right framework for your project and style, then use it.
> Don't overthink.  Just code.
>
> Jay L.
>
> _______________________________________________
> Rails mailing list
> removed_email_address@domain.invalid
> http://lists.rubyonrails.org/mailman/listinfo/rails
>


--
Giles Goat Boy

http://gilesmakesmusic.blogspot.com
http://gileswritescode.blogspot.com
Dee Z. (Guest)
on 2006-02-08 23:23
(Received via mailing list)
John W. wrote:
> currently trumps Ruby in use in corporations. del.icio.us is written in
> Java...again a widespread and openly adopted technology.

Java? Surely del.icious was not written in something so 'enterprisy', I
would bet on PHP instead.

Your most important capital is time, not the platform's level of
acceptance. Choose rails if you believe it to minimize time needed for
development. Otherwise choose something else.

zsombor
Marcel Molina Jr. (Guest)
on 2006-02-08 23:24
(Received via mailing list)
On Wed, Feb 08, 2006 at 11:23:57PM +0200, Dee Z. wrote:
> John W. wrote:
> > currently trumps Ruby in use in corporations. del.icio.us is written in
> > Java...again a widespread and openly adopted technology.
>
> Java? Surely del.icious was not written in something so 'enterprisy', I
> would bet on PHP instead.
>
> Your most important capital is time, not the platform's level of
> acceptance. Choose rails if you believe it to minimize time needed for
> development. Otherwise choose something else.

del.icio.us is Perl.

marcel
John W. (Guest)
on 2006-02-08 23:44
(Received via mailing list)
On Wednesday, February 08, 2006, at 3:35 PM, Marcel Molina Jr. wrote:
>del.icio.us is Perl.

You are absolutely right...sorry to spread misinformation ;)
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