5 min read
Choosing the tech stack

As a startup, choosing the right tech stack can be a daunting task. With numerous programming languages, frameworks, and libraries available, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. However, making the right decision is crucial for the success of your project. In this blog post, we’ll explore some key factors to consider when selecting a tech stack for your startup.

Keep It Simple, Stupid (KISS)

The KISS principle is a great starting point. Write down the top three programming languages that come to mind, and rate your team’s proficiency in each on a scale of 1 to 10. Choose the language that your team is most comfortable with and start building. Remember, ideas are everywhere, but execution is everything.

Nature of the Problem

Consider the nature of the problem you’re trying to solve:

  1. For high-level software like websites, API servers, and chat apps, opt for high-level languages such as Python, PHP, Ruby, or JavaScript.
  2. For low-level software like databases, web servers, storage systems, queues, and embedded software, consider low-level languages like C, C++, Go, or Rust.
  3. For a mix of high and low-level requirements, languages like Go, Java, and Swift strike a good balance.

Choosing the wrong level of language for your level of problem can slow down your progress and leave room for competitors to replace you. How? Let’s say you want to build a simple web application and choose Rust as your preferred language for building it. Undoubtedly Rust is a great programming language andI am not denying it, however, your pace might slow down as the language is hard to write and it’s primarily a systems programming language best used for designing software like firmware drivers, or databases.

Leverage Your Team’s Expertise

Choose a tech stack that aligns with your team’s strengths. 99% of the time, this will help you achieve your goals faster. For startups, the CTO, in my opinion, should be a hardcore programmer and a good systems architect. Decisions made by an experienced programmer are typically good and could be great if they are also a skilled manager and recruiter. Certainly, the extra skills can be worked on and developed for a fair execution.

Open-Source Software and Community

Select a tech stack with a thriving open-source community and ecosystem. This ensures that your questions get answered quickly and you can move faster. Look for languages and frameworks that are widely used by companies, have strong organizational backing, and have active commit activity on their repositories.

Avoid Overthinking Scale and Performance

Don’t over-optimize your tech stack for future scale prematurely — Premature Optimization is the root of all evil. While some languages may be perceived as slow, such as Python, PHP, or Ruby, many successful companies have built scalable systems using these languages. Performance can be improved through caching, tweaking, and optimizing. Focus on solving the problem at hand and address performance issues as they arise.

Strike a Balance with Technical Debt

While it’s important to be mindful of technical debt, don’t become obsessed with it. Use linters, formatters, test suites, and code quality tools to maintain a clean codebase. Treat programming languages as tools in your stack, rather than strict paradigms.

Application Performance over Benchmarks

Benchmarks are useful for understanding language-specific performance, but the overall performance of your software depends on various moving parts, such as databases, web servers, and load balancers. Focus on optimizing the application as a whole rather than obsessing over individual language benchmarks.

Develop with Fewer Moving Parts

Follow the principle of doing more with less. Choosing a framework over a collection of libraries can simplify development and reduce complexity.

Nothing Lasts Forever

Remember that rewrites happen, debts are paid, organizations grow, and new players enter the market. Be prepared to adapt and evolve your tech stack as needed.

Closing Thoughts!

  1. Build effective systems by correcting them at the definition level.
  2. Establish a tiny playbook for development to align your team.
  3. Implement basic CI/CD and use Git for version control.
  4. Work on what you’re passionate about, but remember that passion is an overrated word these days.
  5. Iterate faster based on feedback.
  6. Ideas are everywhere, but execution is everything.

Choosing the right tech stack is crucial for the success of your startup. Consider the nature of the problem, leverage your team’s expertise, and select a stack with a thriving community. Strike a balance between performance and technical debt, and be prepared to adapt as your startup grows. With the right mindset and approach, you can build a solid foundation for your startup’s success.