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Enterprise Applications and Open Source

(Execuse my second language, English)

Hi,
I am thinking of starting my small software shop that target small and medium companies. No real-time criticial systems and no NASA-type solutions, just business solutions.

I am a well-versed software engineer using Microsoft technologies (.NET, SQL, etc.) and just jumped in the LAMP world.

The question now is, should I wait for a year or so to learn how different LAMP technologies work or start designing and crafting whatever apps I have in mind using MS platforms and tools?

Thanks Joel.

Confused
Thursday, March 25, 2004

I am thinking of starting a small construction shop that will target small and medium companies...

I am a well-versed plumber using all modern forms of pipes, joints, connections, and fixtures. I've just started playing around with electronics on the side.

The question now is, should I wait for a year or so to learn how to be an electrician, or start work on plumbing?

;)

Seriously -- you're selling your skills. Sell the skills you have, not the skills you don't have.

Joel Spolsky
Fog Creek Software
Thursday, March 25, 2004

But what if Plumbing supplies and plumbing license were very expensive, while electrical supplies and electrical licenses were very cheap or free?

Ken Klose
Thursday, March 25, 2004

You're not paying for the fixtures, your clients are.

As a plumber, I'd rather have rich customers that want the fanciest gold-plated everything than have the cheapo customers who are always looking to cut corners. More profit in that.

Joel Spolsky
Fog Creek Software
Thursday, March 25, 2004

Joel, but I am still a plumber and not becoming a electrician with different tools.
Someone might argue, even, with tools that find a wider acceptance.

What do you think?

Confused
Thursday, March 25, 2004

Seems to me the original question was more like "I'm a plumber, looking to go independent. Should I wait to see what happens with this new-fangled PVC pipe, or should I stick with the old traditional metal pipe?"

Of course, if you're going to start a business, you better have a business plan and a strategy. Find a couple good books on starting a business. The business end is the most important, since it frames the technical decisions.

How much and what type of risk do you perceive in the two alternative choices, and how much risk are you willing to take? Partly its your confidence in yourself: how quickly do you think you can become an expert in LAMP? Partly its your confidence in LAMP: How much time and effort will LAMP save over traditional .NET tools, and how reliable will it be? For each choice, how long until you have a viable product to offer, and how long to recover your investment? Do you have sufficient resources to carry yourself until you reach the break-even point?

If you feel LAMP gives you a significant advantage over traditional .NET tools, use LAMP. If not, can traditional tools produce a product that will make money? If not, polish your resume and find yourself a paying job/contract instead.

David Lathrop
Saturday, March 27, 2004

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