How to Scale Stuff, Introduction

I’ve been building stuff for a long time. Actually, I’ve been making mistakes for a long time, and gotten better at fixing them.

Somehow, I’ve been building stuff that lots of people use, which has taught me a lot about building systems that scale. Interestingly enough, one of the first things I helped build was about people buying things (Macy’s) and the biggest thing I helped build was about buying things (eBay).

It’s occurred to me I’ve made enough mistakes to be able to warn people not to make the same ones I have. So I thought, what better place than here, where people don’t have do read it if they don’t want to. Though if you’re in the business of building things which might have to scale one day, you really do want to read these, because the last thing you want is someone saying “You bonehead, you made the same mistake he made!”.

As a matter of record, I’ll almost always say “helped build” here. That’s because, with very few exceptions, all software is built by lots of people. Even software built by one person is really built by lots of people : Their inspiration, their first users, their alpha testers, their beta testers, you name it. If you want to play in a field where you’re always the only one, then this isn’t the business for you, and no one will thank you for pretending it is.

So. Here we go.

  1. #1 by Matthew on 2010.05.03 - 10:48 pm

    Interesting stuff. I seem to enjoy all the stuff you write. Just one thing to add to that true statement that even software built by one person really built by lots of people: They most certainly use header files and libraries that were built by others.

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