Technical Terms Every Founder Needs To Know!

A lot of times we run into founders that are building their first company. While they are perfect when it comes to their enthusiasm, passion and will to succeed, sometimes they lag on knowledge of technical jargons and terms that developers may use when they communicate to them.

Now, at this point, it sometimes becomes difficult for founders to fathom and they find themselves in a situation to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea- whether to nod along or to ask and seem foolish.

Well, fear not, I have created here a ready reckoner to all the frequently used terms by developers. This is intended to help founders understand and communicate in a better way.

1. Frontend/Backend/Database/Architecture/Hosting/APIs

A platform usually has 2 parts.

  • The front end is the interface the people interact with. Like on the Facebook page, the things that you see are the front end.
  • The backend is things that are running behind the scene- like database, the logic, the hosting etc.

So what is database and hosting?

Database is the record of all data that is put in an organized manner.
This would consist of user profiles, user data such as posts and photos and would usually have different levels of access.

Hosting is putting your website or app on a server so that it is available on the internet.

Putting all of the above together forms the architecture. Software architecture is the putting together of the various systems- frontend, backend, database etc and setting them up to work together.

APIs are the bridge through which two parts of software or two different softwares talk with each other. When you access Facebook, the backend and frontend are connected through APIs as well as when you use the platform to send messages or do a transaction where Facebook and some other platform is involved, then too you are using API.

FB architecture in layman language by PravinFig: FB architecture in layman language

2. Cloud/IP/Deployment/Servers

As discussed earlier, the application runs on servers. Servers are actually computers only but rather than having to invest in buying your own computers to act as a server, you use these computers from companies like Amazon, Google etc. These companies have invested in putting together millions of such machines that you can rent from them on a pay as you go basis.

Since you do not own these machines, such hosting is called cloud hosting.

IP addresses are how your website is recognized on the web. Typically we type in a website address to access it, but for the internet, these names are having unique addresses in the form of a combination of numbers.

Google’s IP address is 216.58.217.206.
So if you copy paste this number in the browser you will be able to access Google.com

When you host your website (submit it to the server) you get an IP address. It’s like a home address. You can find ip addresses from your windows (Open command prompt and type in “tracert”) or Mac (Go in spotlight>Network Utility> Double Click and to traceroute) as well as from websites like Uptrends.

Once your platform is being built, you take 2 servers- Staging and live.
The staging server link is shared by the team and used for testing. Whenever new changes are made, they are added to the program that is hosted on the staging server. This way everyone in the team can test the platform. Once changes are verified and tested they are added to the live platform which means your users can start using the new features.

When the Facebook team builds a new feature, they are first tested internally by them on the staging server. If bugs are found, these are fixed. Such a loop keeps happening, until the team finds that no bugs are there and then the new module is added to the existing platform and people throughout the world can use the new features now.

staging and liveFig: Staging and live

You may have seen that Facebook even deploys to few people first and then to others. This is possible because of the staged rollout strategy for mobile apps as well as the web. This is super useful when you have a large audience from different part of the world.

3. Query/Authorization/Authentication

A query is a way to get something from a database. Since your database has a lot of data. Querying is the formal way the system can get data from a database.

The system requires data all the time. For example when you log into Facebook, the system asks that database if there is a person with username “XX” and this is his password “YY.” If the same is true, show his page.
That’s how you get to see your page.

Similarly your every action like checking photo, liking or commenting or even deleting is an order to the database through the query.

Authorization is about giving particular permission to a user and authentication is recognizing the user. Authorization is followed by authentication. When as a user you can access some things within Facebook while you cannot access their backend or some other things, this is due to authorization. Identifying you due to your username and password is authentication.

4. Logging/Monitoring/Analytics/User behavior

Logging is about keeping logs of the actions happening in the system. Logs are helpful to find out what actions occurred in the systems and when and then be able to identify if there was any unexpected behavior during any of the actions. Logging is very useful to do root cause analysis of crashes and bugs.

Analytics includes capturing user data and understanding from where users are coming, where they are spending time, what all actions they are doing on the platform, where they are exiting. Collecting this data helps you understand user behavior. Using user behavior, you can make changes to flow in the product. You can also change the communication, highlight things where you want users to go and make strategy and marketing plans accordingly.

Monitoring is the process of collecting information by looking at logs, user behavior, usage, performance over time as well as at particular time.

So these are the different things that would be useful for you at different stages of your product journey. Further, I advise if you come across any terms that you do not understand, don’t feel shy to ask. While sometimes it may feel like developers are speaking a different language, you will find most of the things are simple to understand, once you have the basic understanding. Always ask and Use Google.

10 Business Terms to Know As A First Time Founder

01

MSA (Master Services Agreement)

A Master Service Agreement is a contract that specifies performance objectives and outlines the responsibilities of both parties.

02

SOW (Statement Of Work)

The Statement of Work is a document in which a specific description of the services or tasks is mentioned for a particular project that needs to be done. A MSA can have one or multiple SOWs.

03

KRA (Key Result Area)

The Key Result Area is the goals that the parties set to achieve when they set up a contract. The KRAs lead to KPIs which is the results that would define success or failure of the engagement.

04

KPI (Key Performance Indicator)

A Key Performance Indicator is a type of performance measurement tool; companies use it to evaluate how effectively they are achieving key business objectives. Organizations use KPIs at multiple levels to track progress towards goals, and successful marketers constantly evaluate their performance against industry-standard metrics.

05

SOP (Standard Operating Procedure)

Standard Operating Procedure is a documented process in which step-by-step instructions are written that describe how to perform a routine activity. Employees should complete all the instructions in the exact same way so that the business can remain consistent.

06

SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle)

Software Development Life Cycle is a framework which defines task performed at each step in the software development process. The development team follows the SDLC structure within the software organization for improving the quality of software and the overall development process.

07

Kick-off

A kick-off in business means the time when work starts. Kick-off is the first meeting with the project manager and the client of the project to discuss a strategy or plan before launching a project.

08

Project Sign-off

Project sign-off is a formal document that is signed by both parties, post completion of the engagement/project. This document ensures that the freelancer or team has delivered the project as per the client's request and the client accepts that they have received all the deliverables as per the SOW.

09

SRS (Software Requirement Specification)

A Software Requirement Specification is a document that consists of all the required features and high-level design related to the project requirement. The development of SRS is based on the agreement between the customers and the contractors.

10

NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement)

The Non-Disclosure Agreement is a legal contract that establishes confidentiality. The parties involved in the agreement sign the contract and agree not to disclose sensitive information to others.

Ayush Jain

CEO, Mindbowser

Ayush works closely with customers guiding them on their idea and execution.
Reach out to Ayush on ayush@mindbowser.com

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