Home Resources How Not To Run Your Own Technology Startup

How Not To Run Your Own Technology Startup


by Ian Smith of Captricity

This is not about running a startup badly, it’s about not doing the things that are not core to your business.  The world has changed a lot lately and just about every aspect of a technology company – and especially a web-based company – can be “moved out” to a web-based application provider at a lower cost than doing it yourself.

I came on board on Captricity at the beginning of September and I got to learn about a lot of these first hand.  I decided that making a list of these might help other people not run their own company.

Captricity isn’t endorsing these products in any way, nor am I.  These are just examples of various easily-available products that now can take away some bit of the pain that you used to feel when running a businesses or trying to improve an existing product;  all of these companies have competitors that offer different features, pricing, etc.  Your mileage may vary.

P.S. Three types of external providers are not mentioned because they are well known: open-source software stacks, domain name (DNS) providers, and marketing/social networking sites.

Real-time Communication (internal and external)

Hipchat – Intra-company chat with history (+mobile)

Skype – Inter-company chat and call

Free Conference Call – What else? Conference calling (we use this every day for ur 0945 meeting)

Join.me – Screen sharing and conference calling

Collaborative working and file sharing

Google Apps – Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Word Processing, Spreadsheet, intra-company document  sharing (Captricity doesn’t use the presentation tool although it’s available)

Dropbox – Inter-company file sharing


Expensify – Expense processing (+mobile)

Algentis – HR (payroll, benefits, taxes, etc)

Quickbooks Online – Accounting

Recurly – Recurring billing from within our application

Workflow & Project Management

Trello – Planning for business development, design, some strategy work

Pivotal Tracker – Engineering planning, tracking, task assignments (+mobile)

Pager Duty – Rotating list of people “on duty: to get alerts on software failures, escalation policies

Rescue Time – Recording time spent on various activities (not used by Captricity for billing, just recording)

Analytics, Reporting and Research

Google Analytics – General reporting on web site usage, traffic, origin, etc

Scout – Monitoring of server clusters’ health (load usage, memory usage, etc)

Mixpanel – Reporting on fine-grain, “in-app” events such as “user clicked on this button”

Pingdom – External monitoring of our applications, “Can folks on the Internet see our applications correctly right now?”

Airbrake – Reporting errors/crashed on server cluster (This is Python-specific but there are other tools for other stacks).

Lead Generation and Contact Management

LinkedIn – Leveraging each person in the company’s network

WriteThat.Name – Automatic contact updating and management

Salesforce.com – Sales lead and sales pipeline management

Captricity – We use our own service to capture leads off paper sign-up forms set out at conferences

Marketing and Communications

Mailchimp – Mailing list management, especially for externally-visible lists

WordPress – Corporate website, blogging

YouTube/Vimeo – Demos of our software or website

Zendesk – User-facing discussions and first-level support about features of (and bugs in) our software

Unbounce – A/B testing of landing pages

Twitter – Share new blogposts and exciting news quickly, search who else is talking about us and respond to interested users.

Facebook – Create a page to share news and new features and engage with users

Mobile Application Management

Test Flight – Managing deployments and beta testers of iPhone apps in development

Hockeyapp – For collecting crash reports from mobile devices and distributing apps for some platforms

Backend Support

Amazon EC2 – Computing, server management, hosting

Amazon S3 – Long term, reliable storage

Github – Source code control, code change discussion (+mobile)

Paper Trail – Log acquisition, merging from multiple servers, and analysis


Ian Smith is Chief of Technical Staff at Captricity.




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    • Now if someone would just make the ‘Funding’ App which deposits a pile of money, quickly and securely into you bank account….


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