As social computing becomes more widespread, the challenges associated with building and maintaining internet-scale applications expand dramatically. The growing interconnection of software components greatly increases the need for modular, highly tested code. Traditional models of software development can break down dramatically with little warning as usage starts to peak. This is where Thumbtack can help.
By definition, a social application's network of connections will increase exponentially. This new model challenges the traditional notion of internet application development, where application scaling is planned linearly and can be solved through rigorous capacity planning alone. In a social context, the breaking point will come quickly and by the time it arrives, no simple fixes are available. Indeed, the last decade abounds with stories of companies with a social vision that were not able to execute.
Thumbtack was founded with development for social scale as a primary goal. Our core design principles are based on the expectation that growth will be multidimensional and providing a clean and consistent user experience throughout is critical. When we build software we take into account that hardware failures are a fact of life, centralized data sources have internal limits, and throughput guarantees must be made throughout every system.
Social media opens the door for new avenues of commerce. While it is widely known that recommendations from friends are the single biggest motivator towards making a purchase, socially-enabling your applications also has many other benefits. When navigating a vast world of interconnected products or content, categorizing or applying taxonomies or indexes to help promote them is daunting at best. Socially-enabling content provides a wealth of new data to be mined, as well as new ways to discover and promote that content. Projects can range from created integrated forums for people to promote and interact around content to fully integrated back-end social graphs across many dimensions of product services.