Since this site is now in beta, it is time to have these conversations with the folks who are actually building this site. Please bring your comments and discussions to this site's 'meta' support forum so not to split these conversations. Thanks.

Proposal: Startup Business I don't see any good reason why limit it only to start up businesses?
I see such choice equivalent to instead of having Stack Overflow having Microsoft Programmers only, or instead of Philosophy having only Epistemology, that means narrow niche with less users for no good gain. Another problem is determining where is the line between the start-up and fully functional business? Is it 1 year 2, or 5, or some other criteria (that will cause thousands of down-votes and gallons of bad blood)?

Increasing the scope on the other hand would attract more people who would commit and help to get to beta faster. Start-up part would benefit too as more mature businessmen would be the audience and could give good tested advice instead of amateurs teaching one another. Would old businessmen rather spend his time giving advice to start-ups or getting his questions answered? He's not on start-up level, why would he bother registering? If he could get his answers here there would be motivation.

Could you think of some good reasons why it should stay only Startup Business? Or if you agree that it should be expanded, what scope would be big enough to attract enough users to get to beta and would have clear well defined boundaries?

3 Answers 3


I think that this question is very related to the currently pending public beta and the definition of a startup.

I think focusing on startups only (and even only technical startups as suggested in another question) is too narrow. StackOverflow didn't start with only Perl as a programming language to pose questions for. If you are a C++ or Java programmer, you can simply skim through the Perl only questions via tags and filters. But some other and more general questions might apply to both Perl and Java.

Same here. Most of the problems young startups face are the same problems as anyone faces who runs a business (and not necessarily a small business either): How do you decide on your target market? How do you talk to investors? How do you lead employees? How do you shape your product or service? How do you fire up a WebSite? How do you settle dispute in a team? How do you use social media? How do you engage with your customers? How do you make a viral marketing campaign or become a growth hacker? How do you expand into a new country or create a new local branch? How do you make sales via phone? How do you get your first customer?

All of this are valid questions for a startup, but for any other business leader as well. Why should we exclude all those interesting views and questions and answers upfront instead of just skim over them if we are not interested (as in Perl vs Java)? Currently the problem is not too many questions and answers, but too few as well as how to attract the missing chunk of expertise that seems to be missing here. One of the fears it that only beginners questions will be asked here. But being a beginner is one of the possible definitions of a startup.

The best business advice I didn't learn from fellow entrepreneurs who struggle the same way as I do, but from people who actually solved those problems and thus do not consider themselves startups anymore.

Given that the search for product, customers and money-making is all that differentiates a startup from any other business: Is this really all we want to talk about here? Because if I skim through the questions that were asked so far, not many do qualify to fit into that narrow focus.

  • 1
    Accidentally step by your post again, lol. But now I see that the problem is much bigger than I first thought. Maybe I should append to the question the matter of how long is a start up a start up (or maybe not). My first doubt was only regarding the definition for people who are starting a kind of a business.
    – Math
    Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 13:05
  • @Math: Thanks for your positive reinforcement ;-)
    – roesslerj
    Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 13:38

I am actually of the opinion to reduce its scope. Small business forums and Q&A sites are all over the web. They consist of people starting up everything from news agents to web design firms and SEO consultants.

With medium to large business you will never get those people on this site anyway. No one is going to ask a question on a $1B merger. But you might get them in occasionally to help the startup community.

The Startup community are people looking to radically innovate and disrupt current markets. They get investors, they get media coverage, they get lawsuits when large businesses don't what someone to disrupt their market and they bought out by large companies.

Considering the majority of people currently are on StackOverflow who have committed to this proposal, I suggest limiting its scope to:

Technology Startups

For companies that sell B2C or B2B but have custom software as part of their product. Even companies that have physical presences such as Uber have a technological component.

If we leave this community open to every small business owner, people will get bored and leave quickly when people keep asking, how to sell more SEO consultancy, or how do I get web design clients.

The technology industry is always changing and at a very fast pace, even in terms of funding, through to new business models. It's enough to keep new questions and community occurring in much the way new technologies keep StackOverflow filled with new relevant questions.

  • 1
    Limiting it to just tech startups is something that was considered on the old answers.onstartups.com site. There was actually a lot of support for it, though we never got a chance to give it a try. I think "all startups" could work, but I also think "tech startups" might actually give it sharper focus. I'd be in support of either. But I'm not very interested in a broader "general business" proposal, personally.
    – rbwhitaker
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 20:41

I'm not in favor for either broadening the scope, or reducing to just tech startups. I'm right now in the 4-5th month of building my e-commerce business and there are lessons to be learnt from all kinds of start-ups.

When I feel down or demotivated by the struggle, I watch shows like "How I made my millions" and always there are lessons and motivations for me. I think whether you are a new florist, new artist or new e-commerce guy, we all have lessons to share with each other.

Broadening the scope to Business, on the other hand, is a horrible idea. Many of us hate the idea of cubicles and politics and that's why we start our own business. No thank you! I personally don't want ideas from corporate suits!

  • 1
    I don't think this site is going to be a motivation tool, it will be for asking concrete questions for a specific answer. I know we all have lessons to share but in order to make this site successful I do believe a tech startup focus is needed. If you need general business answers I would suggest looking at the numerous other sites that fill that need already.
    – Adam
    Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 4:04
  • Suits me just fine since I'm in tech startup. I didn't say I'm looking for general business answers anywhere. Instead I said I'd prefer not to see general business discussion. I'm not sure how you got the complete opposite idea. Did you downvote based on that misreading?
    – a20
    Commented Jul 30, 2014 at 6:52
  • I didn't down vote your answer, that was someone else. I don't down vote with an opinion based discussion
    – Adam
    Commented Jul 30, 2014 at 7:14

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