Over the past few weeks, I’ve been talking with dozens of technology leaders from startups and early-stage companies. I wanted to learn about the technical challenges they face today and understand what they feel they need to be successful.

Out of the hundreds of data points gathered in these conversations, the biggest issue I’ve seen is that these individuals (and their organizations) spend roughly 50% of their time just getting to the point where they can actually do work. In this case, “work” means writing code and supporting customers.

This half of their time is spent on countless technology infrastructure tasks such as DNS, network architecture and management, security policies, DDoS mitigation, firewall management, load balancing, CDN configuration, etc. All of these are important to the company’s success, but do not involve writing code and supporting customers.

Startups are too busy maintaining their IT operations to start up much of anything.

The question, “Who can take care of my infrastructure for me so I have time to  focus on my app?” became all too common.

As the provocateur, it was impossible not to ask, “Isn’t this why you architected and built everything in the cloud?”

Not a fair question, I’ll admit. I just had to to be sure that I did, in fact, know their answers:

I don’t have the time to spend learning someone else’s blackbox platform.

I need to know what’s under my apps so I know how to keep them streamlined and portable.

I need to know there’s a security expert watching over what I’m doing or simply there to do it for me.

My business runs 24/7 and I need to know I have real people supporting me 24/7.

The moral of the story? Choose your cloud partner wisely.

Your cloud partner should be supporting you. You shouldn’t be supporting your cloud partner.

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