How to launch a web startup

Paul Buchheit is a web developer who I admire greatly. He has worked on some of the best web applications ever made:

  • Adsense, responsible for 99% of Google’s revenue
  • Gmail. The ground-breaking email system which solved the spam problem and helped to made Ajax popular
  • and, a popular life stream application where all of your online content can be funneled and commented on. (Unfortunately for Paul, FaceBook is currently in process of stealing all of friendfeed’s basic functionality).

Paul recently did an interview with the folks over at where he spoke about his advice for launching a startup we application.

The main points he made were:

Launch a light version

Paul’s point is backed by 37signals who advocate this method inĀ  ‘Getting Real’. On the web, it is generally best to create a small, light product (possibly a beta version) which works. Later, look to add features, but by then you’ll be in a good place to know which.

Look for leading products with major flaws

When working for Google, Paul noticed that the largest web based email supplier, Yahoo was actually making their product worse. He saw it as a great opportunity to develop a competing product, so Gmail was born.

Create a product that people like so much they want to talk about it

This is something that Seth Godin would definitely agree with. Make your product remarkable, so that your customers spread the word. Secondly, ensure your customers have the ability to tell their friends about it easily. Not only does a remarkable product get popular but it is also the cheapest form of marketing.

Follow your passion, build a product you want to use

If you need a product but it doesn’t exist, you are the most ideal person to build it. You can guarantee others need it too, and you already know what is required. So what are you waiting for?

Go off on your own

Releasing products at a big company can be considered cheating, as popularity is almost inevitable. Building a succesful product on your own is much harder and also more satisfying.


Paul has made some excellent points here and his tips agree with other respected web application developers, but what else did you expect from the creator of some of the best web apps ever?

There has been 2 responses to “How to launch a web startup”

  1. so great is actually your very best posting in mymind

  2. slub says:

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