You just cannot apply a tried and tested formula to get them going. 18000 hours of hard work, latest technology stack, endorsement of some product enthusiasts, correct development methodology and boom you’re all set for that multi-million dollar exit. Had that been possible every startup would have used this secret recipe.
Success of a startup is dependent on many factors. The idea, its execution, perseverance of the co-founders, time to market, adapting to the feedback of innovators and early market , failing early, coming back with a revised product, the team you setup, the partnerships you make, the market you choose and the list goes on. Luck is another major factor, though quite uncontrollable one.
One of the most important and the controllable factor is the PRODUCT that you are building. We need to think more about “what” we need to build rather than getting indulged in “how” we build it. This is why having co-founders and / or partners who can focus on the later part is important. One of the co-founder needs to focus primarily on the product. Just forget about the technology it will be built in, the methodology that will be used to get it out and its scalability for your first MVP. Develop the MVP that is good enough to validate your idea as quickly as possible. The co-founder / partner that you choose for development of your product needs to share the vision of the product and focus on the technology, methodology, scalability and quality. Developing a quality product can take time (if you already know what quality metrics are important for your product, which is hardly the case). The MVP is important to get those quality metrics from your potential market. So don’t spend too much time in developing a “quality” MVP because you don’ know how your customers define “quality”. Get the MVP out as quickly as possible BUT be brave enough to understand that you might need to throw away the MVP and build the 2nd release from scratch.
We are in the business of building MVPs for startups. We work as Tech co-founders and help roll out a quick MVP to have the idea validated. We then help redo the product and validate it again. Following the build-validate- rebuild methodology we have been successful in taking a number of startups from idea stage to successful businesses. The challenge is unique for every startup. The methodology we use is unique for every startup. The technology is unique for every startup. The c0-founders start worrying about things that do not need to be worried about. YES I hear this almost every day…
“We want to test our product with a few users quickly but can you please make sure the technology and design you make is able to handle the multi million users that the app can have in future”
“Should we build it in PHP, Ruby or Node.js? We see that Node is going to the technology of the future, why not we use that for our product.”
“How will we build the product? Will we use pure Agile method or not.. I have heard a lot about Agile for building things quickly.. lets use Agile”
These questions are okay because founders are afraid and it is ok to be afraid. Worrying about everything doesn’t help though. This is why building the right partnerships become very very important. In my opinion if there is any secret recipe to success it actually is making the right team and building partnerships that can lead you towards the same goal.
We choose the ideas that we want to work on, select the right startups and then take care of “developing the product” part for them. Sometime we use pre-made tools, sometime we build everything ourselves, sometimes we use pure Agile, sometimes it is a mix of Iterative and Waterfall, sometime our team forms more partnerships to bring in relevant experts, sometime we form an in-house team for the co-founders, sometimes we work remotely, sometime we just do the MVP and help the founding team take it from there, sometimes we take ownership for all future releases and expand a dedicated team under a CTO for them. Sometimes we succeed in what we are trying to do BUT sometime we fail as well. We built a startup as well. Our startup was in the business of building and helping more startups grow. We do not worry about everything, we just pick the right partners and let them worry about the stuff that they are good at and make sure they don’t need to worry about the stuff they we are good at.
When building a product you will have a lot of stuff to worry about. Divide your worries amongst people who are more geared towards handling those worries. Build the right team, trust it and then just wait for that uncontrollable factor of Luck to tilt towards your success.