Open security disclosure

Published June 7th, 2005 edit replace rm!

I have always been interested in security and cryptography and have always been annoyed with the security disclosures or lack of them that most web applications offer.

Therefore I am making StakeItOut’s Security Page
painfully public for the world to see. I think it is better for small fish like me to be honest and not end up in a situation with some huge liability on our head.

BTW. I am writing these kinds of things bit by bit in Backpack as I am putting most of my focus on site functionality at the moment. Backpackit is just great for these kinds of things. The next wave of beta testers should be invited in, within the next day or two.

Look for competition last

Published June 6th, 2005 edit replace rm!

Joseph writes this peice Look for competition last where he postulates that worrying about competitors at an early stage is a bad idea.

I find a lot of people that have great ideas and concepts, but they throw them out because they do some research, and find a plethora of competition. That’s a big mistake.

If there weren’t competition in an industry, there wouldn’t be a market. So, when you’re thinking about ideas, DO NOT plan your business by looking at your competition. Plan your business by using your mind and your own resources. Think about what you and other people would want as customers of your new business and build from there.

This is all excellent advice and fits right into my rants about The evils of business plans and bootstrap a business versus playing a business .

BAP#3: The evils of business plan

Published June 6th, 2005 edit replace rm!

More Bootstrap Anti Patterns:

In the last startup where I worked, we halted all my development work to work on various revisions of our business plan a total of 3 times. This worked out to about 4 months of lost time.

In my post mortem of the now failed venture, I believe that focusing on business plans, possible partnerships, lawyers, governments etc. and not on getting ourselves to a live production state (read in business) was what killed it.

The business plan was something that became of outmust importance anytime there was someone waiving a potential sizable check infront of us. The fact of the matter though was that the business plan was nothing more than an unreadable sales document.

We never used it in daily life, which is what it should be.

Most people go out and buy or download business plan templates. There are millions of them out there. They all claim to be tried and tested. The only problem is that they are very time consuming and will never reflect a dynamic growing business.

I think it is much better to create a freeform Business Plan Backpack and ofcourse use Stake It Out to help glue it an other sites together. Here you have a way of exchanging real ideas and maintaining it easily.

Dont worry about top-down, bottom-up marketing numbers, nor outlining the “team” and how you magically will have 135,000 signed up users in 9 months. It doesn’t matter it is all made up anyway. Do not waste your time here.

Small is the new big

Published June 6th, 2005 edit replace rm!

Seth Godin hits it again. Small is the new big he claims. This is what I’ve been claiming for years now:

Small means the founder makes a far greater percentage of the customer interactions. Small means the founder is close to the decisions that matter and can make them, quickly.

Small is the new big because small gives you the flexibility to change the business model when your competition changes theirs.

Small means you can tell the truth on your blog. Seth Godin

In Bootstrapping a business versus playing a business I write about the importance of sticking to the core business and not going through the trappings of acting like a “big business”.

I think that is one of the big lessons we all should have learnt from the dot com boom/burn. I see almost all the successfull startups follow the small route, but unfortunately there are also many who keep going down the traditional eternal loop of writing business plans and seeking funding, while they really should be focused on their business.

What we really need now is a CEO, CFO, HR person etc. No!!! Focus on your business is the only thing you need.

Ruby on Rails makes throwing out and rewriting a nobrainer

Published June 6th, 2005 edit replace rm!

In an epiphany saturday night gin and tonic in hand I realized a completely new way of integrating external web services in StakeItOut.

This way will make it a lot easier for me to support more different webservices as well as allow my users to add support for their own web services and share them with others.

I will write more about this later, however it made me think about one of the benefits of using something like Ruby on Rails for application development. It makes it less painful to throw away code and start afresh.

My first version of StakeItOut was made in November, 2004. I have scratched and started over 4 times now. This has mainly been because I’ve made changes and simplified the business model. It is funny though, that now I am actually back to the original idea that I had last summer.

Besides these major throwaways I have done several major changes to the current version. I decided to encrypt everything 2 weeks ago, which meant a major rewrite of some of the core code. This was harder than I had expected, because the crypto libraries are poorly documented in Ruby. I will write a blog post at some point documenting how I did this. And now this major web service change. I figure though that before I go to Reboot I will have it working.

Is throwing away old code a bad idea. Well, in the financial world where I work in the daylight hours it is standard that no one dares rewrite old code. That however is also the source of most of the production problems that we have at work.

Rails makes it very easy to rewrite code. It is so simple to start over again and the experiences you earned from your last iteration makes it ridiculously fast to get started again. The current version started 4 weeks ago, where I cut out a whole bunch of content creation code that I had worked on. The new version is much simpler without any internal content creation. I figured it was much better to allow people to use their existing sites such as Backpack. It is focused on a core of secure sharing of web services.

Bear in mind when you look at these 4 weeks and remember that I am working a day job as well and I was away on vacation for 1 week. Even though I am considered by some a J2EE expert, I don’t think I could have done it that fast in J2EE.

About me

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My name is Pelle Braendgaard. Pronounce it like Pelé the footballer (no relation). I live in Managua, Nicaragua. I am the Technical Lead at uPort a Self Sovereign Identity Platform built on Ethereum.

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