Friday, March 4, 2011

.Net as an Awesome Startup Platform

This is the short (10 slide) deck from my presentation at the Denver Tech Trifecta.   I used slideshare to share the presentation.  If you click the menu button there is a View Fullscreen option. 

First, this is all my own personal opinion, not the views of Microsoft or anybody associated with the Tech Trifecta. If it seems a little terse that’s because most of the content was spoken.  I favor short slides and lots of talking with code demos. The main theme of the presentation was that classic ASP was an awesome startup platform. Then Microsoft pushed out ASP.Net WebForms, and they took over corporate software development, but they lost the startup community.  I think the reason is that it takes too long and costs too much money to build anything real with WebForms (it’s also painful to make significant changes to an existing app).  Open source tools like Ruby/Rails and PHP on the other hand provide a much faster and lower friction development experience, plus they’re free.

But now that’s all changed.  Microsoft is supporting startups in a big way with the BizSpark program which will basically give your startup every product that Microsoft makes for FREE for 3 years. The biggest and most important change for me personally is ASP.Net MVC. Three years ago I was ready to throw away a decade of work on Microsoft platforms and go do Ruby/Rails.  WebForms is a never ending source of bad code and frustration for me. Then ASP.Net MVC came along and it was like a love letter written to web developers.  Every place I turned the MVC Framework had given me just the right levels of abstraction and access to support me in what I needed to code. Plus there’s no ridiculous artificial page lifecycle that tries to make the web look like Windows, awesome!  I love MVC and because of it I am excited to keep building on the .Net stack.  Unfortunately, now that I’ve experienced the light, I cry every time I’m forced to go back and work in WebForms.  One place that I do think the page event lifecycle model works well is Silverlight.  Silverlight gives you the ability to write apps with a user experience that is so good that I think building with it will become a competitive advantage for line of business apps.   All these changes add up to Microsoft once again being an awesome platform to build your web startup on.

Startup Links

For those who are just looking for the resource links at the end of the presentation, here they are.  These are all great startup resources and well worth checking out, especially if you live in the Boulder/Denver area.  -rudy

newtech Meetup
About 4 tech startups present in Denver and Boulder every month. The Denver meetup meets on Auraria Campus. The Boulder meetup has free beer!

One of the first Y Combinator style accelerator programs for early stage startups.

Open Angel Forum
Angel Investors meet in Boulder about twice a year to hear pitches from early stage startups and possibly fund them.

Weekly email digest by Chris McCann that tracks all of the tech startup related events in the Boulder / Denver area.

Lean Startup
Best practices for launching a startup by Eric Reis. Must see video here:

Feld Thoughts
Amazing blog by Brad Feld, Boulder resident and vocal venture capitalist.