Three risks to consider in a software startup.
- People Risk - Are we the right people to solve this problem, to sell this solution?
- Market Risk - Are we solving a real problem for real customers who would be willing to pay?
- Engineering Risk - Is the problem solvable by technology and do we have the skills to actually build it?
One of our major goals as a software startup should be to focus on building a best selling software company. Just to ensure it’s clear, it’s easier to fix a poor product with lots of customers, than fix a great product with little or poor customers. This requires 2 skills:
- selling software - finding the quickest ways to get customers who are willing to pay for value delivered.
- building ‘good enough’ software - going agile - deliver customer value quickly with minimum development effort.
Developers are mostly always hungry to build first, usually to build a prototype, which decreases Engineering Risk, this not only proves they have the skills, it then puts the spotlight on someone else. We’ve built it, it’s your turn to sell it.
We have to change this mindset. We need everyone to focus on removing the Market Risk first. What can engineering do to help prove that customers would buy a solution? before building products that no-one wants. If we can’t change this mindset then our People Risk just went high!
Smart Developers can now play a huge part in decreasing Market Risk. We have to leverage The Internets. You have the technology skills, you understand The Internets, help your team build the customer base first, using science.
If you choose to play this role and develop these skills, your value to organisation is increased significantly and you should be compensated accordingly. Over to you to go research the science of Growth Hacking.