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Advice about continuing with .NET

OK -bring it on.The prototype/alpha (effectively the core) has been built in .NET. We now have to make a decision: continue development within the framework or pivot. Theis onepiece of data to use in your assessment:the product is B2B and will need CIO/HR approval :) Discuss.

20 Replies

Jeff Muller
2
0
Jeff Muller Entrepreneur
Senior Software Engineer at URS
Based on what you've said so far, I don't see any reason to switch. If it solved the problem, there really is no reason to change. If it is not allowing you to meet your business requirements, then I would consider changing. Otherwise, it would be wasted effort to port something that already works.
Louis Hatzis
0
0
Louis Hatzis Entrepreneur
Entrepreneur, Startup Mentor and Digital Marketing Leader
There are pitfalls when choosing a technology stack as with anything. Everything is a tradeoff and comes with pros and cons. For a startup, shipping the first product is a bigger problem than scaling to x number of users or y number of developers.

Developing tech startups using both sides of the world (open source vs .NET), my choice was always based on my team's core expertise. In a perfect worlds I would suggest you go with widely adopted Open Source technologies as they are free and it will be easier to find developers who are familiar with them.

But as Jeff said, since you've developed a core product on .NET, you should probably stick with it.

Matt Mireles
3
3
Matt Mireles Entrepreneur • Advisor
You will have a difficult time recruiting talent to build your .net product. Recruiting for a startup with .net is like dating with an active case of chlamydia. Is it possible? Sure. Is it advisable? Hell no. My advice: Admit to yourself that you've made a rookie mistake. Fix the mistake. Move on. Don't look back. -- Sent from my iPhone. Pls firgive any spellng erors.
Shawn Burke
2
1
Shawn Burke Entrepreneur
CTO, Buddy Platform
Prototype, alpha, and core are different things.

Sure, build your prototype in whatever you want, that's quick. A prototype "should" be just that, and in a perfect world you'd throw it away and take the learnings to build your real implementation - now that might be your alpha or your core. Obviously, this doesn't usually happen, but it's an important distinction when thinking about things that will have a large effect on the the business.

Then implementing the product that you want to sell has a different set of issues.

Microsoft stuff is definitely easier to get into some corporate IT environments, for sure. Much of this really depends on the specifics of the product you're building.

However, as a startup, there are some major downsides to choosing that stack.

First, is that things (VS, SQL, etc) tend to cost money, even with BizSpark there is a cost of time if not money.

Second, is that choosing these technologies typically limit your flexibility with other parts of the business: it makes it harder to run on linux-based cloud providers, today's toolsets (GIT, Chef, etc) weren't designed primarily with Windows in mind, MS products are often designed for enterprise usage rather than broad scale.

But the real issue here, I think, is hiring. The pool of .NET Developers is getting smaller all the time, and engineers that label themselves as .NET Developers often have a different skills profile than what is optimal for a startup. If you want full-stack, cutting-edge, 10x developers willing to work for small pay and big dreams, those folks tend to be using a very different toolset. Are there great .NET devs out there that you'd want to hire? Absolutely, they're just a lot harder to find.

Michael Barnathan
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Michael Barnathan Entrepreneur • Advisor
Co-Founder of The Mountaintop Program, Google Alum
Ordinarily I'd say "if it's working, stick with it", but the great problem with the .NET platform is that it will most likely tie you to Microsoft platforms - Windows, SQL server, etc. etc. This will introduce additional scaling costs as the business grows. I've seen it happen firsthand, even working at one at one point. I've seen businesses that could not grow their infrastructure because of it.

As a few others point out, the developer pool also tends to come with different skillsets than your typical startup pool.
Matthew Berk
0
0
Matthew Berk Entrepreneur
Founder, CEO/CTO at Lucky Oyster, Inc.
Hi Lydia! Unless you have a major new customer who's offering to pay for the product because of what it's built on, then there's no reason to switch.
Ken Woodruff
0
0
Ken Woodruff Entrepreneur • Advisor
Software Architect
Is this a web application/SaaS or something your customer's will run on their own systems? --Ken
Douglas Tarr
8
0
Douglas Tarr Entrepreneur • Advisor
Entrepreneur and Software Architect
As a .NET developer (over 20 years) who has built one successful company on .NET (PayScale) and am working on a second (CorpQNA) I have a different view point than many others here. :)

There are a lot of .NET developers
Scott Hanselman estimates there are 8 million .NET developers. This is an estimate. That said, if it is even close, you don't have to worry about the .NET developer pool "shrinking".

There are many developers who are vehemently opposed to .NET and think it is a mistake. You will find language and platform wars wherever you go. .NET is a rich, well designed platform with lots of libraries, modern features and support

Matt's comments are unfortunate and somewhat incendiary. You will rarely convince people like that to work for your .NET startup. I experience this kind of attitude more in Silicon Valley than any other place. But, people are willing to say these kinds of insulting things (chlamydia, "rookie mistake") on message boards but never in person. :/

Microsoft TCO is on par with Open Source
What Michael said was once true about scaling costs, but not any longer.

TCO on Windows Azure (for server apps) is comparable to that of AWS. 1GB of SQL server is $10 / mo. On AWS with MySQL RDS a Micro on-demand instance is $15 / mo.

BizSpark gives you up to 3 years of hosting on Azure for free. This deal is better than what AWS offers

Visual Studio Express 2012 is Free. http://www.microsoft.com/visualstudio/eng/downloads#d-express-web

Your website will still use open source + PaaS
Some of Matt's comments are true. Some are just not. Git works fine with .NET, as does Chef

Much of your infrastructure may be outsourced to third party providers. You may have to develop iOS and Android clients. You may need a rich HTML5 + Javascript client side solution. You might use Amazon CloudSearch or SOLR to power your websites search engine. You might use Pusher or Node.js to power your real time chat application.

Don't write code that requires Windows Licenses per client
If you are distributing client code that requires Windows licenses, then that is certainly prohibitive. But I don't know of anyone who does that anymore unless they absolutely have to.

Open Source tools have problems too

Lydia Loizides
0
0
Lydia Loizides Entrepreneur • Advisor
Founder and CEO @GGGrit

Amazing input - thank you all.These are all valid responses. To answer a few core Qs from the group:

Matt - HI! No, no customer who cares one way or the other, this is a resource/investorPOV (yes, mainly from SV)

Douglas - MSFT folks have shared many of the same data/industry inputs and no, no WIN licenses per client

Ken - web app. We had envisioned it as B2C but our traction in the enterprise and as a hosted platform solution for 3rd parties. Think shadow IT/HR ;)

Michael - can you elaborate on the vertical?

Jeff, Louis and Shawn - got it. I think I am leaning that way of leavecore well enough alone, good web api's

Matt - Rookie mistake? harsh dude! Be nice ;)Easier said than done with 4 pilots in the pipeline

Sari Louis
0
0
Sari Louis Entrepreneur
Entrepreneur
Just adding my two cents here: a lot depends on where you are. There's a negative attitude inSiliconValley towrad .Net (from both investor and available talent pool) that I haven't seen elsewhere to be honest. So it might be something to consider.

I have developed on a ton of platforms over the last 20 years, and for me personally .Net strikes the best balance overall. That's why I have developed my product on .Net and see no reason to change that to be honest. That said, I am in DC, and again attitudes are different here than in SV. Unless you're facing specific resistance from investors or finding talent, I don't see why you should switch either.
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