Middleware in Startups

Today startups are a hot thing. Everyone is founding company x or y and the media makes it seem as if there is another Instagram every other week. However, this is not the case and Instagram is the exception and not the rule. The startup infrastructure is a complex system to navigate but successful navigation results in potentially lucrative and/or celebrity status.

Most people think startups are a simple thing: have a great idea, and if you build it and have a good enough an idea users will come flocking to the product. However in between the bottom layer of having a great idea and the top layer of having users flocking to use your product is a complex process that can take years to navigate and reach the top layer. We can refer to this complex process between the bottom layer and the top layer as the middleware of a startup.

Once you have an idea people just think that you should go build it. But that’s an enormous waste of time because how do you know if people want it to begin with and how do you know you are building a product that will ultimately generate revenue and profit. Once you know that people want the product or service and that it has the potential to start generating revenue, you have to put together the team, a business model for potential investors, and actually start to build the project. Now these sound like simple things but take an enormous amount of time, energy, and determination to accomplish. Once the product is built you have to acquire users and  continue product iterations and updates. Incorporating a startup sounds like a simple process right? But how do you know if you want a C-Corp or an S-Corp? Or should you incorporate in your State or in Delaware where taxes are lower? These all seem like simple questions, but are not as straight forward as they actually seem.

The middleware of creating a successful startup is a complex process that is very difficult to navigate. The middleware of starting a startup is constantly changing based on the time period. For example, 15 years ago a technology startup would need to raise millions of dollars just to pay for the server space of their application, something that a startup does not need to do today. Furthermore, because the startup infrastructure is comprised of humans, perhaps the most vital component of the startup infrastructure, it is changing based on the people who are involved in the system. Being able to manage and navigate the middleware that comprises the startup infrastructure determines whether a startup will succeed or fail.  


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5 Responses to Middleware in Startups

  1. cbaughma says:

    I have never thought of looking at a start-up this way, but I think your post takes on an interesting perspective in business start-ups. It’s an interesting point you raised in that people are the main middleware elements, for if there is no market for a product, then there will be no people to sustain the business. I agree that the development of technology has changed the start-up infrastructure because companies no longer need to invest in large servers to survive.

  2. mfrohman says:

    Although a non start-up business and a start-up have the same structure of creation, I like that this author differentiates between the two and does not group them together. This author makes it known that a start-up significantly differs in its creation as it is an idea that has never been done before, while the creation of another business could simply be the same idea with another name on it. I worked for a start-up last semester and was amazed by the work that was required to go into it and how it differed from the well established company I worked for the previous summer. Overall, I agree with the author in that a start-up is much more complex of a process than most people tend to think.

  3. philippark says:

    I agree with the author that the middleware of startups are indeed changing with the time and people who are involved in the system. One word that I would like to add to describe a main middleware of a startup is execution. Many entrepreneurs create a startup having a strong idea in their mind, that people have a need for that application or program, but their startups still fail. This lies in the execution. The company must be able to envision exactly what the beginning idea was and create a product that is exactly what was thought of.

  4. jayraina says:

    I would say the most prominent middleware component of any startup is the team that’s part of the startup. This team makes the most difference from the bottom level to the top level. The team determines the success of the start up more than anything else. I think it’s interesting how you mentioned a market for the product as being a component of the middleware – which is very important as well.

  5. hoffalex says:

    “The middleware of starting a startup is constantly changing based on the time period. For example, 15 years ago a technology startup would need to raise millions of dollars just to pay for the server space of their application, something that a startup does not need to do today.”

    Interesting that you mentioned the transient nature of the middleware of startups. One thing to consider is the fact that not only does the middleware involved in the creation of startups vary by time period but it also varies based on the individual companies as well. Different startups would necessarily require different resources and different expertise. As such, some varieties of startup are less influenced by the change in time period than others. For example, if a certain time period was marked by rapid advancements in biotechnology and comparatively slower advancements in robotics, than the middleware of biotechnology startups would be significantly more affected than the middleware of robotics startups.

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