How to Simplify Cloud-First Product Builds

Key Takeaways from AWS Technical Founders Sprint


Building a cloud-based product can be daunting for startups, especially when faced with a plethora of choices, trade-offs, and challenges. How do you balance simplicity with scalability? How do you choose the right technologies and frameworks? How do you design, build, and deliver your product in an agile and iterative way? 


These are some of the questions that were addressed in the Technical Founder Sprint, an event hosted by AWS and BoatyardX. The event aimed to provide MVP-stage technical founders, CTOs, and aspiring CTOs with practical insights and guidance on how to build exceptional cloud products on AWS. 


One of the sessions was delivered by Robert Drysdale, Director of Engineering at BoatyardX, who shared his expertise on Simplifying Cloud-First Product Builds. In this article, we will summarise the key points and takeaways from his presentation, as well as some of the customer success stories that BoatyardX has delivered using AWS technologies. 

BoatyardX Approach 

BoatyardX is a cloud product development company that helps startups and enterprises design, build, and support exceptional cloud products. We have a proven track record of delivering successful projects across various domains, such as Insurtech, fintech, digital rights management, and infrastructure. 

BoatyardX follows a discovery-first approach to product development, which enables us to rapidly validate product and technology assumptions and provide accurate estimates and plans for the MVP build. We use a range of tools and methods, such as Miro, Figma, and Jira, to facilitate collaboration, design, and roadmap creation. 

BoatyardX also advocates for keeping things simple and avoiding premature optimizations or unnecessary complexity. We recommend using open-source technologies that can run as a managed service, choosing languages and frameworks that are modern and popular, and using cloud technologies that help with runops and scalability. 

Simplify Technology Decisions 

One of the challenges that startups face when building a cloud-based product is the overwhelming amount of choices and trade-offs that they have to make regarding the technology and deployment stacks.  BoatyardX suggests using a framework to simplify these decisions and evaluate the options based on four criteria: build cost, runtime cost, flexibility, and performance. 

Based on this framework, BoatyardX identifies four categories of technologies that they have had most success with on client projects: low-code/no-code/CMS, serverless, simple containerized, and containerized. Each category has its own pros and cons, depending on the complexity and requirements of the product. 

BoatyardX also provides a list of the most used and recommended languages, frameworks, and cloud services for each category, with a focus on AWS technologies. For example, for serverless, they suggest using AWS Lambda, AWS API Gateway, and AWS Amplify. For containerized, they recommend using AWS EKS or AWS ECS Fargate, with Terraform as Infrastructure as Code. 


In the world of SaaS solutions a solid understanding of human needs, the problem we’re trying to solve and sustained focus on the big picture is fundamental to navigating configuration vs customisation dilemmas, successful rollouts and continuous improvement of customer experience. An excellent example of how this premise can work in practice is the new breed of insuretech companies, including parametric insurance.  

Customer Success Stories 

BoatyardX has delivered several cloud products for startups and enterprises using AWS technologies. Here are some of the examples that Robert Drysdale showcased in his presentation: 

  • An insurance platform that integrates directly into a gadget ecommerce site through a set of APIs and provides an administration portal for policy management and recurring payments. The platform was built using Java Spring Boot, NextJS, React Native, and AWS ECS Fargate.
  • A global rail asset management platform that handles high volumes of IoT sensor data and provides a modern user experience for monitoring and optimizing rail infrastructure. The platform was built using VueJS, Java Spring Boot, Kafka, Flink, KSQL, AWS S3, AWS Glue, and AWS Athena. 

  • A digital rights management platform that automates and simplifies the processes of licensing artwork for online and offline use. The platform was built using VueJS, Java Spring Boot, PostgreSQL, and AWS EKS. 

The Technical Founder Sprint was a valuable opportunity for MVP-stage startups to learn from the experts at AWS and BoatyardX on how to build exceptional cloud products. Robert Drysdale shared his insights on how to simplify cloud-first product builds, using a discovery-first approach, a framework for technology decisions, and AWS technologies. 


If you missed the event or want to learn more you can book a 1:1 session with BoatyardX to discuss your product challenges and get personalized advice and solutions. 

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