Microsoft Case Study on Docstoc

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					                                                                                                                    Executive Case Study

                                                      Popular Website Entices
                                                      15 Million People to Swap
                                                      Documents Online
                                                      ―Startups often have no way of knowing which direction their
                                                      companies will go, and a Microsoft foundation provides the
                                                      freedom to build a code base that can do anything.‖
                                                                                                Jason Nazar, Chief Executive Officer, Docstoc

Customer: Docstoc                                     In summer 2006, Jason Nazar was a busy grad student in business and law school and
Customer Size: 15 employees                           found himself constantly searching for sample contracts, business plans, and other
Country or Region: United States                      documents to complete assignments. ―I thought that there should be a place online
Industry: Professional services                       where you could find any type of document you wanted for free,‖ Nazar says.

Customer Overview                                     Even though Nazar had no technology or web experience, he had launched startups
Docstoc is a document-sharing and publishing          before, so he decided to fill the void by creating his own document-sharing web
Web site that enables users to upload and share all   company. With business partner Alon Shwartz, they chose Microsoft software as their
types of documents, from business plans to land       website foundation. In September 2007, Docstoc was selected to debut its site at the
deeds. Publishing companies and others also use       prestigious TechCrunch40 Conference, which profiles noteworthy startups, products,
Docstoc technology to embed documents in their        and websites. The Docstoc site then launched publicly in November 2007. Today, Nazar
websites while still storing the documents on the     is Chief Executive Officer and Shwartz is Chief Technology Officer of the Santa Monica,
Docstoc site. Founded in 2006 by Jason Nazar and      California–based company, which employs 15 people.
Alon Shwartz, Docstoc is based in Santa Monica,
California.                                           Worldwide Document Sharing and Publishing
                                                      Docstoc is a user community for sharing all kinds of documents, from business plans to
Business Results                                      prenuptial agreements and everything in between, including marketing presentations,
 Sophisticated platform for accommodating            legal contracts, white papers, lesson plans, balance sheets, and more. Using Docstoc,
  complex web processes                               users can upload their documents to promote and share them for free—or charge for
 Scalability to handle millions of documents         them if they want. Visitors can search, preview, and download millions of legal, busi-
 Low startup costs                                   ness, technology, educational, and creative documents. ―Having your professional
 Fast time-to-market                                 documents in a public forum can help you build new business relationships and
 Easy to take site in new directions                 advertise your product to millions,‖ Nazar says. Docstoc has even begun sharing
                                                      advertising revenues with document owners, to incentivize them to share more.
 Chief Executive Officer                             But Docstoc is more than just a document-sharing site. Docstoc is also a publishing
 Chief Technology Officer                            and syndication platform that provides companies with the underlying technology
                                                      needed to display documents on websites and blogs. For example, instead of sending
                                                      documents as bulky email attachments, many organizations now use Docstoc as a
                                                      place to store documents that they want to share. Individuals simply send colleagues
                                                      a Docstoc link or embed the document in the body of an email message so that
                                                      recipients do not have to download it.

                                                      Publishers such as the Huffington Post, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal use
                                                      Docstoc to embed documents in their websites in this way. In fact, about 15 million
                                                      people a month view Docstoc documents without even knowing that they’re visiting
                                                      Docstoc. As of early 2010, another 20 million people a month visit the Docstoc site to
                                                      browse through the 15 million documents currently stored there.
                                                                                                            Executive Case Study

                                         Powerful, Scalable Foundation
                                         Nazar and Shwartz had good reasons for building Docstoc on Microsoft software. ―It
                                         was clear that there were only two options for building a platform like Docstoc: the
                                         Microsoft .NET Framework and Java,‖ Shwartz says. ―Docstoc has very complex proc-
―On top of the flexibility               esses running beneath the surface, including search, categorization, document con-
                                         version, e-commerce, and more. We needed a sophisticated platform with which we
and scalability, we’ve                   could perform all these functions, plus accommodate whatever the future might bring.
                                         If we had used a web-focused language such as PHP, we would have been limited to
found that the .NET                      just web technology, whereas Docstoc is much more. It was pretty clear that if we
Framework is one of the                  wanted something that was powerful and scalable, building on the .NET Framework
                                         was the right solution.‖
fastest platforms
                                         Their decision was confirmed when Nazar and Shwartz subcontracted the initial site
available from a code                    development to an independent development shop in India, which concurred that the
execution standpoint.                    Microsoft .NET Framework was its recommendation.

This is important in                     ―Plus, our Microsoft infrastructure can scale to accommodate the terrific growth that
                                         we’ve seen,‖ Nazar adds. ―On top of the flexibility and scalability, we’ve found that the
giving visitors a great                  .NET Framework is one of the fastest platforms available from a code execution stand-
experience.‖                             point. This is important in giving visitors a great experience.‖

     Jason Nazar, Cofounder and Chief    In addition to Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5, Shwartz’s development team used the
            Executive Officer, Docstoc
                                         Microsoft Visual C# 2008 programming language in the Microsoft Visual Studio 2008
                                         development system to create and continuously enhance Docstoc. The web, applica-
                                         tion, and database servers run the Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise and Windows
                                         Server 2003 operating systems.

                                         Low Startup Costs
                                         Nazar and Shwartz significantly reduced the cost of launching Docstoc by participating
                                         in the Microsoft BizSpark program, which provides enterprise-caliber development
                                         tools and server products to startups for a period of three years. ―Using BizSpark, we’ve
                                         been able to save many thousands of dollars on software licensing at a stage of our
                                         growth when every dollar counts,‖ Nazar says. ―We used these savings to hire more
                                         developers and buy more servers.‖

                                         In addition to access to full-featured development software, Microsoft BizSpark offers
                                         opportunities for qualifying startups to get support from business incubators, inves-
                                         tors, advisors, government agencies, and hosters that can provide a range of resources.
                                         It also provides visibility to potential investors, clients, and partners. Nazar has become
                                         a BizSpark evangelist in the Southern California startup community, encouraging other
                                         young Internet companies to take advantage of professional-caliber web software with
                                         a three-year reprieve on licensing fees.

                                         ―We Feel Like We Can Do Anything‖
                                         In addition to the power and scalability of the Microsoft development suite and the
                                         head start provided by the BizSpark program, Shwartz and Nazar like the freedom
                                         provided by a Microsoft-based foundation. ―We feel like we can do anything with
                                         Microsoft,‖ Shwartz says. ―In just a little over two years, we’ve built a lot of stuff using
                                         a very small development team. We can leverage reusable code, and we can plug in
                                         any other programs that we want.‖
                                                                Executive Case Study

For example, Docstoc chose to use the open source MySQL database software for the
site, and stores documents in the online Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3). ―There
are great products in both the Microsoft and open source worlds, and we want to use
the best solution for the need,‖ Shwartz says. ―Microsoft does not limit us; it provides a
great collection of tools that lets us build and use what we need.‖

Nazar observes that many web developers choose their development platform based
on their initial need: a website, a desktop application, a plug-in. However, more and
more, customers end up needing all these things. ―A company may start out with a
traditional website and then find that they need a mobile version of the site or a way to
make the desktop experience more compelling,‖ Nazar says. ―They may find that they
need to add back-end capabilities such as integration with business systems. Startups
often have no way of knowing which direction their companies will go, and a Microsoft
foundation provides the freedom to build a code base that can do anything. We know
that we can take our company in any direction with Microsoft.‖

Please continue reading for profile perspectives.
                                       Chief Executive Officer Profile

                                             CEO Answers ―Why Microsoft?‖ with Investment, Scalability,
                                             and Accountability
                                             Jason Nazar, Cofounder and Chief Executive       also tools that will take us where we need to
                                             Officer (CEO) of Docstoc, is active in the       go in five years.‖
                                             Southern California Internet startup com-
                                             munity, and he is often questioned about         As CEO, Nazar also feels reassured that he is
                                             his decision to build his website using          associated with a company that is account-
                                             Microsoft software. ―Technology people           able and available. ―As we grow, it’s impor-
                                             tend to be religious about their allegiance      tant to know that we can pick up the phone
                                             to different software camps,‖ Nazar says.        and call our Microsoft evangelist, and he will
                                             ―Frankly, programming languages seem to          connect us to anyone at Microsoft we need
                                             go through fads. As a CEO, though, I’m           to talk to, versus a faceless open source
                                             focused on growing a healthy business.‖          community,‖ he says. ―Microsoft is a great
                                                                                              partner for us to have in the long term.‖
                                             Why Microsoft for the Web?
                                             ―If you want to be an agile, fast-moving web     Business Results
                                             startup, you have to know that anything you       Flexible software foundation for any
                                             can do with open source, you can do with           business need
                                             Microsoft,‖ Nazar says. ―Plus, there’s peace      Continuous Microsoft investment in its
                                             of mind that comes from knowing that your          software for constant improvement
Jason Nazar
                                             technology partner is making substantive          Cost-effective software that makes
Cofounder and Chief Executive Officer
                                             investment in tools and products. Microsoft        optimum use of underlying hardware
                                             isn’t going anywhere, and it really listens to     resources
                                             the web community.‖                               Great accountability and availability from
Before becoming Cofounder and Chief
Executive Officer of Docstoc, Jason Nazar                                                       Microsoft
was a partner at Venature, a consulting      Microsoft development software is tech-
group focused on accelerating the growth     nically up to whatever the web demands,
of new ventures. There, he worked with       according to Nazar. ―When you’re uploading
dozens of tech companies to improve their    tens of thousands of documents a day to
sales and prepare them for financing. He     your site, you need to have a scalable solu-
holds a bachelor of arts (BA) degree from    tion,‖ he says. ―You don’t want to just throw
the University of California at Santa        more servers at the growth. Every server
Barbara, and dual master of business         adds a lot of extra expense to the bottom
administration (MBA) and juris doctor (JD)   line—not only the cost of hardware but also
degrees from Pepperdine University.
                                             the cost of power, cooling, and real estate.
                                             We don’t want to add 50 servers if we can
―If you want to be an agile, fast-moving
                                             add 10. I want smart technology that can
web startup, you have to know that
                                             take full advantage of every ounce of
anything you can do with open source,
you can do with Microsoft.‖                  processing power, and the Microsoft .NET
                                             Framework is one of the best platforms
                                             out there for engineering smart web

                                             Extensible Technology,
                                             Available Support
                                             With continuing Microsoft investment in
                                             web development software, Nazar knows
                                             that Docstoc will have what it needs as the
                                             company continues to expand and add new
                                             services. ―Microsoft has a great arsenal of
                                             tools—not only what we need today but
                                            The biggest cost to an Internet company          Shwartz’s team used the Microsoft .NET
                                            is its software developers, not software         Framework to build a whole suite of tools
                                            licenses or cases of Red Bull energy drink,      for uploading, previewing, storing, securing,
                                            says Alon Shwartz, Cofounder and Chief           and embedding documents.
                                            Technology Officer of Docstoc. He says
                                            that’s why it’s critical to get the greatest     Docstoc makes its application programming
                                            possible payback from that investment.           interfaces (APIs) available to partners so
                                                                                             they can easily upload documents to
                                            ―New ideas are coming up all the time,‖          Docstoc or their own websites and create
                                            Shwartz says. ―You don’t want to realize that    new Docstoc-based applications. ―There is a
                                            you need to hire new talent because your         website above and APIs below that enable
                                            current platform, technology, or develop-        many partners to use our technology to use
                                            ment language cannot be used to build the        and embed documents on our site, as well
                                            latest new thing. That will slow down the        as on their sites,‖ Shwartz says. ―Basically,
                                            business while you find the expertise and        imagine that every site that deals with
Alon Shwartz                                have them learn your business.‖                  documents can show the actual document
Cofounder and Chief Technology
                                                                                             preview instead of a link.‖
                                            Flexible, Agile Development Team
                                            Docstoc, a website that offers millions of       Business Results
Alon Shwartz is Cofounder and Chief         free documents and serves as a clearing-            Versatile development team
Technology Officer of Docstoc. Prior to     house for the consumer, corporate, and              Extensible development platform
founding Docstoc, he was a Product          publishing worlds, has avoided this problem
Manager at MySpace Karaoke, and both        by building on Microsoft software. ―With the
Vice President of Product Management        Microsoft platform, our development team
and Vice President of Engineering at        is incredibly versatile. Developers can jump
software developer Synthean, where he       between web, desktop, server, and service
built and managed the engineering team      projects using the same set of tools,‖
and created new products. Shwartz has a     Shwartz says.
bachelor of science (BS) degree in math
and computer science from Ben-Gurion        ―In a small company, we can’t afford to have
University of the Negev.
                                            islands of specialists—a couple of people
                                            who know PHP or the Ruby programming
―With the Microsoft platform, our
                                            language for the website, and some that
development team is incredibly versatile.
                                            know C++ for the back end. If you end up
Developers can jump between web,
desktop, server, and service projects       with a development team that speaks
using the same set of tools.‖               different languages, you’re in big trouble
                                            when a key person leaves,‖ Shwartz adds.
                                            ―With a Microsoft-fluent team, we can move
                                            people between projects and between the
                                            front and back end of the website, without
                                            putting developers through a learning
                                            curve. Our staff is more flexible, which helps
                                            the business be more agile.‖

                                            Extensible Development Platform
                                            If Docstoc was a static website, Shwartz
                                            might have felt comfortable going with
                                            open source tools. But Docstoc is more a
                                            business platform than a website, and it’s a
                                            place to publish, buy, and sell documents.
For More Information                                           Microsoft Web Platform
For more information about Microsoft                           Design, develop, and deliver innovative web
products and services, call the Microsoft                      solutions for your business. The Microsoft
Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400.                    Web Platform offers all the tools, technol-
In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada                           ogies, and server software necessary to
Information Centre at (877) 568-2495.                          create satisfying web experiences.
Customers in the United States and Canada
who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach                      To learn more, go to:
Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD)                   
services at (800) 892-5234. Outside the 50
United States and Canada, please contact
your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access
information using the World Wide Web,
go to:

For more information about Docstoc
products and services, visit the website at:

                                                                 Software and Services                                    Links
                                                                  Microsoft Server Product Portfolio                     
                                                                   − Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise                    
                                                                   − Windows Server 2003 R2                               
                                                                  Microsoft Visual Studio
                                                                   − Microsoft Visual C# 2008
                                                                  Services
                                                                   − Microsoft BizSpark program
                                                                  Technologies
                                                                   − Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.

Document published June 2010

Description: The following is a case study that was put out by Microsoft about and how the company has leveraged Microsoft Technology to grow its business.
Jason  Nazar Jason Nazar Ceo
About Jason is the Co-Founder and CEO of, the premier online destination to start and grow small businesses. Before starting Docstoc, he was a partner in a venture consulting firm in Los Angeles where he worked with dozens of startups. He holds have a BA from UCSB and his JD/MBA from Pepperdine University, where he was the Student Body President of both Universities.