Tips for start-ups looking to save big money sans being cheap

Want to change the world with your start-up? You can, and you don't need to blow a big wad of cash to do it.

There was a time when working at a start-up meant scrimping and saving one's way to untold wealth...or simply a self-inflicted pink slip. No more.

With all the VC money washing entrepreneurs' cars these days, it's hard to find much frugality in the Silicon Valley start-up.

As it turns out, however, there are great ways to save money without being an obnoxious miser, and Jason Calacanis, CEO of Maholo, has listed 18 of them. Here are a few of my favorites:

1. Buy Macintosh computers, save money on an IT department....

16. Don't waste money on recruiters. Get inside of LinkedIn and Facebook and start looking for people--it works better anyway...

18. Outsource to middle America: There are tons of brilliant people living between San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York who don't live in a $4,000 one-bedroom apartment and pay $8 to dry clean a shirt--hire them!

The other tips are good, too, but I find these three above highly pertinent to my own experience managing Alfresco's U.S. operations. We're a highly distributed bunch, and so the only way to measure success is through actual productivity, not face time or the number of e-mails sent back and forth. We don't have office space, though we're thinking of getting some here in the "near shoring" capital of the world, Utah--want to sublet some space to us?). We don't have a phone system. We don't have a coffee machine. Well, I don't. :-).

With all that we don't have, we're forced to, well, work. Since we spend a lot of time working, we get the best machines for people (Macs, of course, tricked out) and good mobile devices (iPhone, Blackberry, etc.).

I guess this is what I'd add to Jason's list:

19. Don't bother trying to hire everyone in the same place. Hire the best people you can find...wherever you happen to find them. Development is no longer something that has to be done within the same office. In fact, there are plenty of reasons to disperse developers. (It tends to lead to more modular architectures, for one.) And open source is a classic demonstration of the power of distributed development. The rest is sales and marketing, which should be as close to the customer as possible.

What are your top tips to add to Jason's list?

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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