I have been reading recently about the “Lean Startup” concept, which is funny since I have been working with and been part of more than a few without knowing there is a nifty catch phrase for them. So now I am all up on the lingo and hash tag #leanstartup I can speak on it. Today is the perfect time to take a gamble and dive into a lean startup. Being that there are so many free tools and services you can use along with very inexpensive solutions to infrastructure that were not available even a few years ago. By using the power of Open Source software, free online services, and cloud computing one can build a scalable and very cost effective lean startup.
Let’s first look at your new companies hosting and servers. being that you are lean you may most likely be working from home. So let’s look at hosting and services you will need in order to host some of the Open Source applications will will talk about in a moment. In my experience the basic things you need to get going in terms of setting up shop are the basics:
For the latest project I have been working on I have been building a “virtual office” intranet using Amazon Web Services. One thing I wanted to add was a simple way for people to update continuously on projects they are working on as well as having a good place to exchange ideas as a group. I came up with using WordPress with the micro-blog theme Prologue. The theme allows for people adding a post at top of main page. So this will allow us to avoid having users login to the back-end admin section. One thing I did to do this was add this hack to wp-login.php to allow people to login then be redirected back to main page of site to post micro-blogs.
To integrate the new internal micro-blog was to hook it into our LDAP infrastructure. I found the Simple LDAP Login plugin to allow users to authenticate to our Fedora Directory Servers. Another addition to make it more Twitter like was to add the Prologuer Bot being that users will be utilizing Jabber/XMPP for internal instant messaging. The bot allows people to post and read from the WP/Prologue site. Another thing to keep in mind once you setup the site is to edit the permalinks structure to be custom with /%author%/%post_id%/ structure. Another bonus to the Prologue theme is it has RSS links next to tags and authors to allow users to easily follow messages in their favorite RSS reader.
Using internal micro-blogging can be a very effective means of exchanging information and ideas. I look forward to seeing it in action and being of value to the company.
UPDATE: If any of you wish to use WordPress/Prologue for private group micro-blogging you can setup an account on WordPress.com then edit your themes to be the Prologue theme. To lock down access go to Settings > Privacy and select the “I would like my blog to be visible only to users I choose” option and add users who can access it. This may require people to also signup for a WordPress.com account of course. There is an option to signup for just a username for those who do not wish to have a blog in addition.