When I started at zulily in late 2010, the technology team was small but growing. As you can imagine by looking back at our growth over the past few years, zulily was not just your typical startup. In 2010 the business was starting to ramp up and we were figuring things out as we went.
Early technology and trade-offs
Before I joined, zulily had chosen a full-stack implementation of a commonly used open-source e-commerce platform and many of our processes were run out of spreadsheets or online documents. Also, the philosophy of the company regarding software development was already in place (more on this later).
As with any startup you need to make the technology choices that will enable growth, but not over-design to the point that technology becomes a bottleneck. From the beginning, the technology decisions had been made in order to facilitate growing the business very quickly. However, by the time I joined the team was starting to scale out of some of these early decisions and had to think of new ways of doing things.