Lately, as CEO of Customs Bridge, with the arrival of 5 new teammates I had to rethink the way we work, and especially the tools we use.

For a small team, it’s easy to survive here and there with trello, discord, dropbox.

But when you really kickoff🚀, you want an integrated solution that can scale.

An easy choice would be to go for office 365, google workspace, or even Zoho. They provide all you need, email, cloud drive, collaborative document edition, collaboration solution with chat and Voice / Video meetings with screen sharing.

With some solutions from 6€ per month per user, it’s not that expensive if you consider that a high-performance suite is essential, even more in these times of coronavirus and remote work.

Simplicity vs Values

But we didn’t go that way. Why ? It’s cheap, easy, quick to setup, so what could be the reason that kept us from going that way ?

Our values.

At a personal level most of us are furstrated to see how big tech companies (sometimes named the GAFAM) avoid taxes. Yet, at a personal level it is hard to really find alternatives, even if they exists.

David VS Goliath. Photo by James Pond on Unsplash

We are a startup, a David. Why should we help the big Goliaths by giving them our money? We, as a startup, also compete against bigger competitors, and we bet our success on the ability of some customers to believe that the little David we are is trustworthy and as performant as the giants.

Based on these reflexions we decided to build our own infrastructure, and to link together amazing pieces of software already existing.

I don’t know if it was the most cost effective solution, given the time I spent on this, but it respected our values, therefore it was the right move.

You will find a lot of material on the internet about the great tools to use, for example this, but much less about how to do it practically.

Follow our path and build your infrastructure quickly

So, we came up with a solution that can be deployed in 30 minutes ⌚ top time and we wanted to share it so that others willing to follow our path can avoid the mistakes we made and find a “turnkey” solution.

First I would like to point out that the solution I refer to does not include a mail server as we already had one. However it covers all the needs of a startup as we mentioned above.

The starting point is a VPS / cloud instance. Only requirement: it must be able to run docker. We choose an OVH instance costing us 22€/month (excl VAT). Wait… Actually it’s completely free as we are part of their great startup program.

You want to know more, try it out ? Head over to our GitHub.

You think we do great things and want to work with us ? Get in touch with me on Linkedin!