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Stories Served, One Cup at a Time.

A business is most profitable when focusing on the parts that actually make money. Everything else needed to run the company should have the best cost-performance ratio, and be easily usable with as little as possible manual maintenance.

Of course, any company may have its own recipe for infrastructure, services to use, and ultimately, what to sell. However, right here, we are going to share our take on it.

Publish parts of your work as Open Source

  1. Use Open Source and publish Open Source.
  2. Choose free licenses like the MIT license for as much stuff as you can.

A lot of Open Source is free software, meaning you don't need to pay anything to use it. We use a lot of Open Source software with free licenses because its quality is controllable and often even better than paid products. On top, every dime you don't spend, you don't have to earn back later.

We also publish a lot of Open Source Software. In fact, anything we can't directly sell to customers, we try to open source under the MIT license (if it doesn't mean any real-world major security concerns). As a result, others can use large parts of our software for free for whatever they like to do with it. This includes selling it to third parties.

You might ask: Why? The answer is: Software you don't sell and don't publish many times is lost cash flow. When open sourcing those software parts, it'll make us considerably large amounts of money in the long run, because downloads on npm and interaction by the community are a credential we can use to appeal to actual paying customers. Additionally, Open Source builds trust. Tech-savvy people can look at our code and decide for themselves if it makes sense or not, and if our code quality is maintainable and future proof.

Use Third-Party Services

Use third-party services if you can't automate something easily yourself, or if you need too much time (and thereby money) implementing it yourself.

We use a lot of third-party services

  1. Cloud Resources: We buy cloud resources and don't possess any servers of our own. This allows us to scale flexibly. New VPS servers are provisioned within a matter of seconds in today's world, so one can keep costs low, and yet meet the demand of new customers at any time (given your software stack supports scaling)
  2. Accounting services: Get a tax accountant: Tax law is hard, and you don't want to be accused of tax evasion. On top, you profit from society. It is the infrastructure that allows you to make money in the first place, so you have to pay the correct and fair share of taxes. If there are legitimate ways to save money, you should do it, cause the competition does it as well, and you need to stay cost-competitive.
  3. Travel Services: Business people need to travel. You should have some easy ways of booking tickets. Make sure those services give you valid VAT invoices billed to your company, so you can get back VAT for those expenses.
  4. Amazon: Use amazon for everything you need in terms of supplies. It makes your invoice trail neat: You can setup purchasing policies only allowing purchases with downloadable VAT compliant invoices.
  5. Hardware: Don't buy too much hardware on your own. Only loyal employees are worth their own machines, otherwise, start with rentals to keep the initials spending bill as low as possible. That makes it a lot easier to shift gears when you route your business in a slightly different direction

Automate repeatable tasks

If there are steps that can be automated reliably do so if the amount of time saved in a month warrants the cost of doing so. In our case we have automated everything from finance flows, invoice recognition and matching, to deployments of new code. This way we concentrate on what fails due ML lack of confidence or tests not running through for new code.

Validate ideas

Often times people say you are crazy even when pursuing an excellent ideas. That can make it really hard to validate ideas. However, if you find the people that would benefit the most from your solution, you are in the best position to validate you idea beforehand. Don't be shy to talk freely about your idea. For every idea stolen from you, you can weed out 100 ideas that wouldn't have made anyway. That still leaves enough room for you to pursue something that is worth your time. Often, only if you solve real problems you will make real money.