A technology stack is a fancy way of saying the products and programming languages used to build the behind-the-scenes piece of an application. Just like car companies source technology from a variety of vendors, so do startups, many of which are open source products.
Three weeks ago I was talking to an entrepreneur and he was looking at acquiring another company. Only, there was a big problem — the target company’s technology stack was Microsoft-based with ColdFusion as the primary programming language. Now, ColdFusion was amazing last decade but has been antiquated for several years now. Building a new startup around a ColdFusion-based app would be a bad idea.
Here are a few tips when choosing a technology stack:
- Analyze the expertise you currently have and the expertise you have access to either locally or globally through your connections (e.g. Ruby on Rails is awesome but there’s a serious talent shortage right now)
- Three of the most popular programming languages for startups, based on the entrepreneurs I talk to, are PHP, Ruby, and Python with Java and .NET being more big-company oriented
- Ask the five entrepreneurs you trust what technology stack they are using and if they recommend it
- Using a simpler stack with faster time to market is the best approach when you’re starting out as you can always introduce fancier technologies later and deal with things like scaling when you have that high-class problem
Choosing a technology stack is an important decision and should not be underestimated. I recommend using whatever gets you to market fastest and is enjoyable for your team to use.
What else? What are some other tips when choosing a technology stack?