Celebrity Guest Post #2

A while back I posted a not-so-feasible idea outlining a way to tip site owners for content that you enjoy.  In the comments I got a great link to an awesome tipping site and in turn found a great blog run by a team of four entrepreneurs.  One of their RSDs (rock star devs) Reinier Zwitserloot sent me a very interesting idea this morning.  As someone who works for one of the major companies below, I know how important it is for companies to get “high potential” startups on their radar and open up a good channel of communication/goodwill with these guys.  Check it out and please contribute some feedback in the comments section!   

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I stumbled on a ‘startup’ idea of sorts that I don’t have time to do, 
but I think it’s at least relatively simple for the right people and 
could be lucrative. Unfortunately it’s better suited as a side 
project by a larger company, particularly one of the big 5 to make it 
easier to monitor and buy out other startups, or Sun or IBM due to 
their status as server providers.

Here’s the idea:

A fully catered, preferably somewhat sponsored (this is where the 
side-project of a big company angle comes in, they have the bankroll 
to do it), server park for startups.

here’s the issue: Any startup needs at least 1 rack computer and pay 
monthly colo fees. Even skimping heavily, you’re in the can for about 
800 dollars initial investment and then 30 bucks a month. For 
robustness you really need another off-site rack at the very least to 
receive backups from the main system.

This is somewhat unfortunate because most startup tank inside of a 
year, OR they grow horns and take off inside of a year, requiring a 
lot of time, money, and expertise to scale up. Either way the 800 to 
1500 dollar server + colo setup is either no longer needed OR 
inadequate.

All of these are more or less solved problems. The quick tank 
scenario is best handled by RENTING the whole machine, which some 
internet providers do allow but isn’t too common, and Sun, IBM, 
Google, and other companies have many experts on scaling web services.

Thus the idea:

Sun, Google, IBM, or a new startup sets up a ‘startup internet server 
park’. The basic deal is that you pay 200 dollars or so every month 
for the following resources:

A modern, capable machine with root access – no virtual hosting, the 
real deal. You also get limited access to an offset box for receiving 
backups. That’s a much better deal for startups compared to spending 
700 up front for a mediocre machine. Your money also includes 
insurance against massive traffic boosts – you get more servers and 
an expert to help you balance the load, plus a deadline to move on – 
to keep the focus on new companies instead of trying to host 
established ones.

Sun or IBM could really impress the tech world by doing this, plus 
they can make the future large companies of the web world already get 
acquinted with their hardware and preferred OSes. Google/Ebay-PayPal/
Yahoo/Microsoft/Amazon can create goodwill and closely monitor 
startups for buying out. The startups in question will already have a 
positive feeling with them for basically sponsoring the hosting.

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4 responses to “Celebrity Guest Post #2

  1. Great idea. I see where Reinier got the idea from as he is currently in the state of his startup where he is ordering a colo, etc. I (also one of Four Starters) am also working on a little project and run into the same issue for now on finding a good temporary server for the startup phase.

    Would be really interesting to see if any of the big companies will be willing to take up this idea. I am afraid though that they will get more requests for a colo than they can handle.

  2. The problem with this idea is that you have to constantly find new customers. Startups that are successful will migrate away out of need for something more robust and larger while startups that go out of business simply will quit paying their bills.

  3. @Colin: I don’t think finding customers is an issue. First of all because they will probably have more requests than space, as the servers are a good deal for startups.

    Secondly the whole business doesn’t need to be profitable, as the really profit is in staying close to new startups, in case you want to invest/buy in them.

  4. Hello! I’m MikeDoe! Check out my site!

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