This past Wednesday, in the last of the amazing speaker hackNY guest lecture series, we had the lucky opportunity to listen to team of partners at Union Square Ventures, composed of many of the biggest names in venture capital on the East (and West) coast. As we progressed through the Q&A session, complemented by a spectular, shimmering view of the setting sun over the Manhattan skyline, someone brought up the inivetible (and important) concern of whether this new start-up acropolis of Manhattan would make it. That is, beyond the hype and the parties and the geek-chic hipster glasses, would this bloom-and-burst of web apps amount to any valueable ecosystem?
Someone answered, and I forget who, that it was exactly these little failures, these short-lived spurts, that lead to a strong and stable economy. He compared it to Chad Dickerson, CEO of Etsy (also an amazing speaker that we got the chance to listen to on Monday, and head of a company that I have had a huge crush on for years now)’s technical dogma of continuous deployment. At Etsy, engineers are required to continuously deploy– in other words, push out new code as quickly as possible– even if that code may not be perfected yet. The code is expected to be flawed and eyes and ears are kept alert to catch and patch up any holes. The argument, which at first appears counter-intuitive, is that this methodology actually leads to a more reliable product, especially for something on the scale of Etsy.