how cloud computing impacts the cash requirements of startups

I wrote an article for gigaom on how cloud computing impacts the cash requirements of startups. Do check it out! I think cloud computing is the single biggest factor driving down the amount of cash needed to start a startup. And it’s not so much because it makes computing cheaper, but because you only pay for computing when you need it, after you use it. Anyway, read the whole thing here.

Speaking about cloud computing at TIECon today

I’m on a panel today at TIECon in Santa Clara called Is Cloud Computing the Right Approach For Your Business. The other panalists are Don MacAskill from photo-sharing site smugmug, James Lindenbaum from web-based ruby IDE Heroku, Kirill Sheynkman from cloud computing services provider elastra, and Sebastian Stadil from Intalio and the well-named silicon valley AWS users groups (AWEsome).
Here’s the description:
Our session theme for the Cloud Computing Luncheon is “Is Cloud Computing the right approach for scaling your business?”. Whether you’re launching a consumer internet startup or building an enterprise software-as-a-service application, making sure your application performs great and scales to the exponential growth that your business will see after launch is absolutely critical. No one wants TechCrunch to call them out for outages or a big customer to cancel an order because of slow performance. In addition, building the IT expertise and infrastructure to scale your application can be costly and complex. Enter the Internet giants – Amazon and Google today and potentially Microsoft and others in the future. Their business is all about large-scale infrastructure. Should you trust the lifeblood of your company to them or should you do-it-yourself in a traditional hosted or managed fashion? In this exclusive session, startup CTOs will present case studies on their experiences with cloud-based approaches versus traditional hosting. We’ll follow that up with interactive round-table discussions on various cloud offerings (storage, computing, database, etc.).

AJAX and Flash mistakes

I gave a little talk on “AJAX and Flash mistakes: lessons learned building SlideShare” at SXSW08 last weekend. The audience was great, and the conference in general was a helluva lot of fun (as always).
I talked a lot about the interplay between AJAX and server-side performance … how AJAX often seems like a performance solution, but often introduces new problems. I also talked about the need to design entire processes, rather than simple modal dialogs (which are so easy to design that your design skills for building multi-panel flows can get quite rusty if you aren’t careful).

Using S3 to Avoid VC

Last week I spoke at the Startup Project at the Stanford Faculty Club. About 300 people (a mix of startupists, VCs, and curious techies) gathered together to talk about Amazon Web Services. Check out the talk here:

Other speakers talked about using EC2. My favorite speaker was Joyce Park (of 106miles fame) from boozemail, a silly little facebook app that is growing like a weed (it lets you send virtual drinks to your friends on facebook). Sean Knapp (from a hot video startup called Ooyala) also presented, and Don MacAskill from SmugMug gave his crowd-pleasing “Set Amazon’s Servers on Fire, not Yours” presentation.
Randy Komisar from Kleiner Perkins also gave a great interview where he talked about “dashboard businesses”, where you measure user behavior on a cheaply-built live site rather than focusing on up-front analysis and business planning.
Good stuff, all of it! There was a similar event in San Francisco the next day, but I had to get back to work, so I didn’t go.

Speaking at StatupWire in Washington DC today

I’m talking at the startupwire group in McLean, VA (just outside of Washington DC). I’ll be talking about some of stuff that has happened (and some of the stuff we’ve learned) from the first 6 months of slideshare: if you’re in DC please drop by.
This talk will be interesting: we’re doing it via video skype + slideshare, with the result being projected on a big screen. The audience will see me, and I will see them, but it might be hard to make actual eye contact.

Creating Web-Based Presentations for your nonprofit

Anyone have any cool stories about nonprofits using slideshare?
I’m going to be giving a talk for netsquared on Creating Web-Based Presentations for your NonProfit. It should be fun (I’ll be sharing the mic with Cindy Li of Scraplog).
I’ve got a few stories and experiences to share, but I’d love to add to the list. Send me an email (jon AT slideshare DOT net) or just reply here.
p.s. The talk is on June 12, at the super-terrific citizenspace in San Francisco.

AJAX and Flash SXSW Talk

I gave a talk at SXSW a few days ago (AJAX & Flash: What we learned building SlideShare).
Here’s the slides. I also put my talk notes into SlideShare as comments, so if you’re interested in knowing what I actually SAID, go check it out here.

On a side note, SXSW is an AMAZING conference. The parties were out of this world: it really is “spring break for web hipsters”. I’m definitely going back next year…

Game Inspired RIA Design: Talk at UIE WebApp Summit

Game Inspired RIA Design: Talk at UIE WebApp Summit
I spoke a couple of weeks ago at the UIE WebApp summit in Monterey. It was a great event: lot’s of smart people working on building cool stuff. Some of the highlights: Bill Scott’s famous AJAX design talk, David Malouf’s talk on rich application design, Sean Kane’s talk about how Netflix was designed, and Thomas Vanderwal’s talk on tagging your world.
My talk was about game-inspired web design. Games, especially online casual games like bejeweled and the like, have been an important inspiration to the design of both mindcanvas and slideshare.
Rashmi gave a talk as well on designing for recommender systems.
The slides for both our talks are included below. If you’ve got any questions about my talk, comment on the relevent slide (on slideshare) and I’ll do my best to answer!