This is one of the most common problems that I’ve come across while being in the startup ecosystem.
Here’s how the story goes:
- Mark, a future CEO, has this amazing business idea, which is backed by his market research and foolproof business plan
- Finally, Mark decides that he has enough money to survive and work on his idea at the same time
- Mark quits his job, he has already convinced his partner Jack, the future COO, who will handle operations
- The deck is ready, initial clients are ready to try the product, investors have already shown interest
- Jack to Mark: “All set let’s find a developer(the future CTO) and get this MVP done”
This is the story that most entrepreneurs can relate to. Even I took months to launch my first MVP after being a developer myself. You want it to be perfect and perfection comes with time.
Building an MVP isn’t something that comes easily to all entrepreneurs as most don’t have the tech and product skill sets required to execute it.
Why is that a problem?
There are these three categories of people: Developers, Coders and Rest of the tech people. In every 100 coders, there are only 2 developers. Coders knows how to code which contributes only 30% to any tech product. Only a good developer knows how to build a tech product.
A Coder has to be told what to develop, a Good Developer knows it already.
- Tech Entrepreneurs are relatively very small in number
- Pick coders instead of developers: Being a nontech guy, it is next to impossible to find those developers because only a developer knows the other developer well. This is where most of the innovative products are stuck. Entrepreneurs with the exceptional business mind are stuck with those Coders and expect them to deliver something which is way out of their league
- Building MVP for a startup and being an exceptional developer are two different skill-sets. You need to know how to shape a product so that further development and adaption to new changes is easy. I will come up with a whole new article for that. Stay tuned…
- Limited funds available as when you jump into the pool of entrepreneurship(first time or even though you have exited Paypal) you are always on the verge of being broke. As an entrepreneur, you are always solving the problems with tech innovation and that is something which comes at a cost.
Is there any Solution?
After all, is said and done, more is said than done. -Aesop
- Don’t get into this trap of bragging. Focus more on the done part than the said part. Don’t forget to cross check with people in the same network. As I said earlier, only a developer knows the other developer well.
- Always try to get the best people you can. It may look okay in the beginning to go with the mediocre coder but you will end up with a lot of mess in the end, Trust me. I have seen people with some exceptional business ideas getting into that mess.
- Don’t code unless you can improve the product. Let the other developer do it. I was trying to solve this problem since long now. The best I could do is to connect right entrepreneurs with right developers but it should be done by every developer at the larger scale.
- Outsource MVP to the experts till the time MMP(Minimal Marketable Product) is there. They know how to build it better than you. Work with them closely and refine it. Meanwhile, you will be able to understand technology better and what is the exact skill-set required in your startup CTO. By the time you have the MMP and the Funds, you will have a solid tech product which will be ready to scale.
To sum up, stay focused on the type of product you are building and work with quality, not quantity because it didn’t take 50 to build WhatsApp :)