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Non-technical founders wanting to develop this:
3 points by avillat 1764 days ago | hide | past | web | 7 comments | favorite
I'm from Mexico, so I apologize for any grammatical non-sense.

We are non-technical founders, so in the past few weeks we've done an extensive research on which programming language, system, framework, etc, we should use to develop our idea.

Our project includes two parts: 1) an online platform that allows users to compare products and services without all the chaos of an ever expanding internet. First, we will test our platform with telecom services in Mexico: mobile and fixed telephony, broadband, pay-tv, and related products: handsets, tablets, etc. We are starting there because is an industry we have experience with (we are bankers in that sector). The platform's goal is to assist consumers and save them time, and hopefully money. Our model for this Comparison engine is FindTheBest.com (founded by the same guy that created DoubleClick).

2) In addition to this, we will have a Tech magazine to review products, write about new launches, product unboxing videos... pretty much like Engadget or The Verge. Our goal with this magazine is to build a community around our comparison platform, and for traffic purposes.

I've contacted many local agencies and all of them liked the idea. However, everybody suggested very different approaches (and different prices).... We are pretty confused right now!! Some suggest to use a CMS like Wordpress, Drupal or ExpressionEngine, others suggest building a CMS from zero (whatever that means), and others say that Ruby or Python is the way to go.

What we want is flexibility and scalability (some agencies swear by WP because it is easy to use and easy to build... ok, but can we build a comparison site like FindTheBest in WP?), because we are starting with telecommunications services, but then we can move to resorts, financial services, or whatever.

We know that many programming languages can be used, and that trade-offs exist, but in your personal opinions, how would YOU develop it and why?


"We are non-technical founders, so in the past few weeks we've done an extensive research on which programming language, system, framework, etc, we should use to develop our idea."

I think you're asking the wrong question. You're pretty clearly not going to be able to answer it ("others suggest building a CMS from zero (whatever that means)"), and probably won't understand the tradeoffs and compromises inherent in the advice given by people who are competent in the right areas to answer it.

Find the technical people you're going to work with first, then let _them_ tell you what the right tools are, because the right tools are as much about what the tech people are great at using, as they are about the problem domain. If I asked a few of my lead dev colleagues, I'd get different answers - Tony would say "Perl/ModPerl/Apache/MySQL", Ed would say "JavaScript/Node.js/MongoDB", Rob would say "Java/Postgres". Mark would say "Start with Wordpress and a few plugins, then extend or write your own plugins to get the rest of the way". And they'd all be right. For projects they were leading. And they'd all have good reasons why the others were wrong.

If I had to guess, I'd say your two big challenges are going to be 1) getting the data into your "comparison engine" - you'll need someone with a track record of connecting to lots of different ecommerce APIs and a strong background in automated webscraping, and 2) finding someone who's got a demonstrated capability of writing and editing your Tech magazine. Find those two people first, then use whatever tools they're most productive in. Having the non-technical founders do some research and choose the tools is only going to reduce the pool of candidates available to solve your hard problems.

I suggest you guys hire a competent tutor (could be a CS student) to teach you general programming concepts / how a computer works / how the internet works etc. Take few months to get yourself acquainted with the technology (you don't need to master it). Then, hire a competent programmer and ask him these questions. Or, come back here and ask again. That way, you'll be in a better position to understand the answers people may throw at you (asking questions doesn't make sense if you cannot understand the answers, does it?)

I've seen many non-technical people try to start tech-related startups without having the slightest idea about programming / computer science and fail miserably. The only way to ensure that it doesn't happen to you is to be on the safe side by understanding the innards of the tech part of things first.

Good luck!

You might be interested in learning more about Priceonomics (http://priceonomics.com/), a company does price comparisons for a bunch of stuff. I don't know what their engine is written on but it's certainly something custom, and that's most likely the way you want to go.

They also have an amazing blog (http://blog.priceonomics.com/) where they showcase products and nifty stuff they do with them. They use Tumblr for this part of the site but you might as well go for Wordpress or whatever you prefer.

No matter what you choose, you want to separate both parts of your site, and the comparison engine will most likely be a custom solution (Ruby, Python, PHP, doesn't matter).

Programmer in Queretaro :) I don't think WP is good for this project - albeit flexible, but you will spend more time hacking it to your spec instead of starting from the ground up.

For a beginner - PHP/MYSQL. A giant community with free tools to help you get started.

Hola bbissoon. De alguna forma puedo contactarte? Saludos!!

Merry Christmas! Yes, you can check my profile - my email is there. I don't speak fluent Spanish but I can flow fairly well lol.

Thank you all so much for your answers, I really appreciate it.

I think you are correct. I should firts educate myself on the basics, and then contact technical people to ask these same questions.

Best wishes!

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