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josh's clients aren't stupid, they're smart

josh's clients aren't stupid, they're smart

Posted May 7, 2011 9:11 UTC (Sat) by tialaramex (subscriber, #21167)
In reply to: josh's clients aren't stupid, they're smart by b7j0c
Parent article: Scale Fail (part 1)

The original boss of my current company used to say "Nice problem to have" about such things. But there are definitely places where this attitude caused us to make needlessly bad decisions.

You see, there are actually three ways things can go from a startup. It can crash and burn (doesn't matter what you planned, every dollar spent making it scale is now worthless), it can explode with success (everything that doesn't scale means incredible pain and expense) but it can also trundle along steadily growing by increments.

The latter is boring, not many books about it, no amazing slide show presentations with violent asymptotic charts. But it's probably reality for way more engineers. In this scenario there isn't enough money to solve problems by throwing money at them, you will run out.

And it's for this reason that you ought to do a little bit of thinking about the things Josh mentions on a new project. You don't have to solve every problem now, that leads to paralysis, but you need some awareness of which bits of the system will need work in six weeks, or in six months with the kind of steady growth that means there's no risk of unemployment but you also won't all be rich.

Smart clients would be coming to Josh because they actually do have a specific scalability problem in PostgreSQL, and they expect him to fix it so that they can avoid spending a lot of money on faster servers as a workaround. Paying a PostgreSQL consultant to tell you that you'd got a switch port running at 10 Half duplex is not smart.

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josh's clients aren't stupid, they're smart

Posted May 7, 2011 14:47 UTC (Sat) by b7j0c (guest, #27559) [Link]

josh should be so lucky as to have clients with problems as obvious as a misconfigured port switch, he shouldn't balk at the easy money. chances are most startups now are hosting on rackspace or ec2 or joyent and none of them ever even sees their servers or networking gear.

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