It’s not the Technology

Robert Scoble: “Microsoft’s technology just isn’t used by many serious web companies that I know. Stack Exchange and PlentyOfFish are two notable exceptions and neither is located in Silicon Valley and they hardly are companies with the scale of MySpace used to have (more than 50 million users).”

Stop right there. There may be a lot of problems inside MySpace, but pointing the finger at a technology stack just isn’t logical. People blamed Twitter’s problems on Ruby, I seriously doubt it had anything to do with the language. Microsoft creates serious, large scale, server software. As a platform .NET is just as good as any LAMP setup you could point a finger at. So don’t point a finger at the technology stack, point it at the team behind the code, and the management.

Watch out! It's a blog fly!If the team is not able to design a complete system that can scale you’re eventually going to run into a brick wall. I’m not sure why MySpace can’t convince quality Software Engineers and Infrastructure Engineers to come to work for them, but that will kill a large scale system faster than anything. Couple that with a large amount of turnover and you’re in for a catastrophe. Scaling for a million users is challenging, much less 100 million, and it takes constant care a feeding, just like a child.

I can buy the argument the team wasn’t right. I can buy the argument the team didn’t understand the technology. I can buy the argument the system was poorly designed. I just can’t buy the argument it had anything to do with the technology stack.

Update: From Jeff Atwood on Twitter.

“look, if Facebook and Wikipedia can build generational empires on PHP, quality of tooling is *utterly irrelevant*. It just is.”