In Silicon Valley, obviously there are a lot different views on technology. Although generally they are on the same direction, the minor difference are huge enough. I had conversation with three different people, and their view comes from aggressive, neutral and conservative. Here is the story (without revealing the name, while sorry for not giving the credit).

New Technology! Always! As Fast As You Can!

I visited a startup, and they are not officially launching their product yet. They are using the latest technology. Here are some:

  • Meteor.com
  • Underscore.js
  • Backbone.js
  • MongoDB
  • Node.js
  • Python & Ruby

Although some of them are not that new, they claim PHP is dead many years ago, and don’t tell interviewer that you are using PHP. MySQL is dead…

They claim that most silicon valley startsup are not afraid of leveraging the latest technology. And they even doing their best to keep up with the latest builds of the technology. They update the servers every several days to patch it and upgrade it to the latest version, with the risk of something broken. If it does, fix it. They found out that consistent integration is easier to do than holding for a long time.

With the new technology, every is fast. Most of the frameworks claim to do what people are doing at fraction of the time. They does!

Technology is the Layer in the Stack that does not Matter That Mach

I had another conversation with a technical CEO who just sold out his company at great valuation. He mentioned that 5-10 years ago, the core of a technical startup is technology. There is a clear line about what can be done, and what can’t. For example, the variety of drivers of Microsoft Windows system, and the file system Google built. They have to build their own servers, their own storage, and their own almost everything to handle the challenges of the huge volume of traffic and data. The 5 mil-second counts.

Currently, however, shift to a new model. The technology on Internet has developed that storage, and coding is not the hard part. Technology is more hybrided with art. Just as Apple demonstrated, a lot of new startup CEOs are not technical background but can control the messaging, the vision, the valuation proposition so well. Instagram and Foursquare are those type of company.

Technical company is so strong in technical and they can build everything so fast, and they don’t need to think that carefully before what to built. The not-so-technical company has the constrain that they have to think more carefully and decide what to give their users. This value is higher in the value stack than technical value, just like the lightness of an electronic bulb is not that important to the massive audience as the Addison time.

Be Careful of Engineers who uses New Technology

Another senior technology guy suggested this. He said that most of the startups failed because of leveraging new technology to quickly, the most recent example being Digg, by jumping into Cassandra too quickly to kill the company.

He claimed that every framework is promising to look at surface, but it needs a lot time to validate the feasibility. There are HIVE, and PIG camp before, and Facebook and Yahoo! were at the back. Now, PIG is gone, and a whole batch of companies, and engineers were left there with a lot of codes that does not work.

Their philosophy is to choose a technology that is at least used by a bigger company for at least one year to adapt to it. There is a consistent technology framework in the company that everyone use, and not many. Any new technology adapted at production server needs to be reviewed by himself.

Me?

I believe it is completely another Horse Crossing River problem. The three point of view are all valid. They are just the pro and con of new technologies. I would say, the companies in China needs more mentality in the first bucket, not the third at the current stage. After technology is over-used, we need to remind us for the third one.