Bootstrap Engineering for Startups

As in any company, our engineering team at SingleHop is the most important group of the bunch. We make the the automation happen and admins jobs scalable to thousands of servers. We provided the client initiated reboot and automated server provisioning platform. The list of tools that make SingleHop one of the best IaaS platforms today can go on and on.

Alright...I know the developers reading this are smiling and the system admins are ready to close this tab. Let me backtrack by saying my name is Rick Talavera Jr, VP of Engineering at SingleHop. I truly know that it takes every team from every department to make this company the rock solid solution that it is. I have a biased for our engineers because they are a talented and selfless group of nerds. Although I would love to believe we are the most important group, I know its a company-wide team effort. Our group would be lost without the invaluable knowledge of the system admins and the back breaking work from the dc ops group. We are in debt to every department in our company.

Like many startups and small businesses, we didn't always have this large team to lean on. We were a small team who found a problem and we developed an amazing solution that grew to become what is know as IaaS. We know that time is money and money never sleeps. We needed servers at 3 a.m. and we didn't have time to wait for a tech to install them for us. We needed them up and running by 3:05 a.m. Automation was the solution and the key was vision.

Okay so now you have a problem and you have the vision to create the solution; but how do can you execute without a large team on your side? I like to call this process bootstrap engineering. Bootstrapping in business means starting a business without external help or capital. Bootstrap engineering is creating the proof of concept solution at the most basic level with very limited resources. After your creation comes testing and a beta release. Do not set out to solve the problem from every angle because you have no idea what every angle is. You need to test and try to use your solution in production.

Lets break this down and start a company called “Guaranteed Click”. The example problem is that many companies run CPC ads and never optimize their word usage. If you don’t optimize your CPC ads then you are wasting time on lost impressions. We all know what wasted time means...wasted money. The vision is that we will provide our clientele of CPC advertisers the automated platform that will analyze the words they are using. We will replace them with more effective words that communicate the message better by staying current with industry trending keywords.

We can easily spend a year or more developing a platform that will index industry trending keywords and automatically update your CPC ads with new verbiage. The platform will have tracking logic on your landing pages and determine which verbiage is effective by measuring bounce rates and site time. We will take words that create high goal conversions and put them at the top of our trending list. All of this while showing real time statistics to our clients and auto sharing the weight we put on keywords with all our platform users...... The thought of all the pieces needed to make that work is exhausting and would require many countless engineering hours. The bootstrap engineering approach would be to allow a users to enter their CPC ad verbiage into our intelligence engine and get a list of suggested modifications based on publicly accessible research data that we retrieve from a 3rd party api like google trends. We share this engine to a handful of beta testers and form partnerships with search engine marketing consultants. We gather feedback from the output of our beta test and create a more valuable product by auto updating the CPC campaigns. We have a product that we can start charging for now. The race to hire the best engineers in the industry begins with our new found cash flow.