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Startups Should Not Buy Servers, Says FaceBook CTO

In a BBC interview, the executive says most Silicon Valley startups are now using the cloud rather than buying their own hardware.

In a BBC interview, the executive says most Silicon Valley startups are now using the cloud rather than buying their own hardware.Recently it was the turn of Bret Taylor, CTO at Facebook, to be interviewed by the BBC News Business site, which each week poses three questions to a high-profile technology decision maker. One of the questions (the third) was, "What's the biggest technology mistake you've ever made?"

His answer: to buy servers for a startup. Previously he was co-founder and chief executive of FriendFeed, a social networking aggregation site that was acquired by Facebook in August 2009. In the startup phase they had to decide whether to buy servers or use a cloud hosting service like Amazon.

Buying the hardware was cheaper but he ended up having to maintain the servers, often in the middle of the night. Paying someone else to do that chore would have been worthwhile, and at this point most Silicon Valley startups use the cloud, he told the interviewer.

The other questions, in case you were wondering, concerned his current biggest technology problem, and what he thinks the next big thing will be. The proliferation of platforms is the biggest problem, he said, and gaming based on FaceBook as a platform will be the next big thing. (Personally, I don't see it.)

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