|| Python Programming on
Win32, by Mark
Hammond and Andy
Robinson, 2000, ISBN 1565926218, O'Reilly.
If you are working with Python in a Windows environment and you want to talk to other applications (say by using COM or DCOM) or control or modify the operating system from Python (perhaps using Python as your operating system scripting language), you simply must get a copy of this book. Like the Python Cookbook, each time you use this book it'll save you hours of "interesting" times. I highly recommend this book.
It's also the sort of book where a programming team needs at least one copy. The sample code and errata page is here.
An introductory presentation by Mark Hammond and Greg Stein on COM given at a conference. In Feb'06 an announcement of a website dedicated to this was made: win32com.goermezer.de.
Currently I think a virtual private server (VPS) solution is the best bet for those who need to start small, and while EC2 has some advantages its pricing is currently a lot higher. Going the VPS route has some scalability, some vendors (such as linode.com) offer about a 10:1 scaling ratio in features across their offered services.
Once you have maxed out a typical VPS vendor's offerings you are in the price range of a single dedicated server so the migration path could be continued by switching to a dedicated server or by getting your own hardware and perhaps co-locating it. Doing this could add about a factor of 5 to the scaling curve, so in total, the virtual and dedicated private server approaches should allow you to scale your application about 50 times without having to rework the architecture or selected technology. Once you have grown to encounter those limits you are probably leaving the domain of the startup, so its probably time for a rethink anyway.