Besides launching startups, I have been a software developer for all of my adult life (and more) – likely also something that made me an entrepreneur over 20 years ago. There is one key thing that I applied for the past 15+ years in software development, and that is the core principals of XP (Extreme Programming, which was the foundation of all Agile development methods and frameworks):
- Make it work.
- Make it right.
- Make it fast.
So simple, yet so powerful, when used right. Now serendipity is that this really applies to building a startup (that happen to be product companies for the most part):
- Make it work – Does it work at all? First make it work, don’t bother about scale, do things that do not scale, get your hands dirty, actually talk to prospective customers. Often you need to be the founder/entrepreneurs to do this well, there is no substitute for knowing intimately what the pain, the problems and the value in the context you are addressing. Often it is quite different from what you first think. Even if it is your 5th startup. Don’t hire sales & marketing just yet. And this is a very Unique kind of Biz Dev work that is need.
- Make it right – How well does it work? And where does it shine? Now you need some serious BizDev talent, you have a product, you know the pain, people like it, now you just need to make sure they actually start to use it and benefit from it. And what those people look like.
- Make it scale – Scale it! You know those customers? Nah, we are addressing markets, in other words our product is a perfect fit and adds value to hords of customers at the same time. Now you can really start to grow and more importantly, now you can start to scale, you can also hire top sales people and marketing that run their process, models and you can actually tell all the great hires what your product really does and for whom, now let’s just find them all and make sure they use our product.
When I was writing this thought up today, I decided to link to some people that have valuable insights, such as Steve Blank, and I noticed his book recommendations include some Extreme Programming, and actually was where Eric Ries, found much of the basics for the Lean Startup.