Judo strategy and our investment in Nodejitsu

I understand technology and have deep respect for the craftsman who innovate in this space, but I am not a technical investor: I am not a trained engineer nor can I write code. I do, however, study markets and try to identify themes and trends. Everything I am seeing today has me really excited about the power of Node.js and about the newest member of our portfolio, Nodejitsu. I could not be happier that First Round is an investor and that we were joined in this investment by our friends at RRE and General Catalyst.

When I first met Charlie Robbins, CEO of Nodejitsu, I was reminded of the concept of “push when pulled” from Judo Strategy as he described his vision for the business and his passion for helping support the Node.js community. In short, when you recognize a strong movement in a market, rather than fighting against it, or trying to control it through ownership, you go with it by finding a way to embrace it. You push when it pulls. You build products on top of a technology trend, and rise with it. Even better, you build services that help others fully leverage the power of the emerging trend and feed the very wave of momentum you are riding toward success for the whole community.

I have said before that it is exciting to see the compression of the innovation stack due to (X)aaS businesses. The innovators in the ecosystem are being freed from commodity activity and are able to focus on translating their vision into code. Nodjitsu helps bring the vision closer to the consumer and allows the most innovative people building applications in Node.js to focus exclusively on creating rather than being distracted by backend support.

I/O rising with real-time points to the need for Node. Significant parts of the web are moving to a real-time environment where high concurrency and low latency are critical and massively distributed architecture is the norm. These applications are breaking down the silos of data in the cloud, and they will be required to deal withvariable latency/responsiveness from disparate databases. At the same time,users are demanding highly responsive applications that deliver rich experiences with deeply interactive UI.

In this world of concurrent applications, real-time messaging, MMOG, collaborative content creation and editing, the event based and non-blocking single thread architecture of Node.js offers a huge advantage and enables aggregating multiple data sources with differentresponse times into a single, highly responsive client application. Node.js is awesome. It’s here to stay and when I see companies like our portfolio company SimpleGeo using it, and people like Joe Hewitt tweeting about it I think there is little risk that it turns out to be a “fad” of a framework. It reminds me of Rails in 2005 or jQuery in 2007 and has crossed over from the realm of alpha nerd (still there: Erlang, Lisp, etc).

Not only is node.js extremely powerful for building evented, real-time applications, it also represents an evolution of Javascript and an expansion in its application to the server side. This is opening the doors to a deep talent pool of millions of front-end developers who have been confined to the browser for more than ten years. Now, with Node.js and Nodejitsu, they are able to build full-stack web applications with just a single language: Javascript.

In New York, we are usually thought of as a consumer web hub that lacks a focus on the layers of technology that live further up the stack. There are exceptions, and I am psyched that the Nodjitsu team feels like an outlier in terms of their technical focus. I also love that they are young and ready to take on the world. These guys live to code and could not be more passionate about evangelizing Node.js. They are solely focused on delivering a platform that supports rapid adoption and friction free deployment of the most innovative applications in the space and on doing it right up the street from our office, here in NYC.