So you’ve got a business idea and now you need a ‘developer’ to bring it to life?
You’ve never coded but have a vague idea and the most ‘tech’ you’ve done is dealing with tech support at your work or building a WordPress theme site.
Perhaps you even think that tech start-ups happen overnight with a few people sitting around a table coding.
You are what the startup community calls a ‘non-technology’ founder, startup or business owner.
There are many stats on how many startups fail but not stats on how many of those failed because they never got to market due to poor development, scope creep or because the tech went A-Wall.
Personally, I don’t think it is a right of passage into the startup world for the tech to fail start-ups before they even get to market.
My thinking is that the only fail is when the market doesn’t want the product or that the idea just didn’t work at all or it did and you got to pivot.
It shouldn’t fail because tech or you as a founder couldn’t deliver a functioning website or app.
No start-up or founder wants to come across as negative but, this article is all about keeping it real, based on life experiences and written entirely to help us have more products going to market that people want to use.
It’s difficult when you are an entrepreneur and you have a vision, a dream and you believe in that vision.
Even harder when you are sometimes the only one who believes and this makes you vulnerable to being sold products and services that you actually might not need.
This might be a tautology, but, we really want all visionaries, ideologists, creatives, and entrepreneurs to understand very, very clearly that:
Around 80% of developers and agencies don’t care about your vision
They don’t believe in your idea
They don’t think it’s the best thing since slice bread
They can, will and do walk away at any moment in your project no matter what the contracts or their Terms & Conditions or Warranty stipulate
They don’t care that the delays are costing you, your business or your family a fortune and they don’t care that your family friends are billionaires or that you are this close to getting an investor who can help
They want their money now and you are just one of the hundreds that they are making money off.
Most business people know how to cover their business assets but when it comes to tech, the rules are very different.
Finance, law, accountants, dentist, doctors, insurers, professional services all have a level of accountability, in tech you need to make the rules to hold others accountable.
Because at the end of the day if you can’t launch your MVP or you get stuck the agency who loved you last week will stop answering your calls after you pay them (except around 20% of the long-term players who love what they do!).
The reason they want your money now is that they know that the skill set they have may not last. Someone will produce tech that will overtake or devalue their skill set at any time and upgrading to new tech and skill takes time and money.
If you’ve already had a tech fail, unfortunately, you are in good company.
Sometimes the failure is not down to the tech but to the founder.
One way of covering yourself is to know exactly what you are building before you build.
Do it all manually until you get too tired then build the tech.
The internet is simply pure data, so run the online surveys, do the landing pages, but don’t forget that your market is other humans so, make sure you get out of the building, confirm your idea with real people, pick up the phone, drop into the store and talk to real people.
Speaking of the 20% er’s here are some now.
Ricky and Lee (both former Deloitte consultants and developers) run Upshot, a marketplace for agile top talent developers, they’ve (over the years) also experienced failed or poorly delivered projects and cite the same challenges as Leigh and myself when dealing with tech.
As Ricky Marcon and Lee Jiang point out,
Building technology products should only happen when the manual processes of your business needs automation or you have tested the idea using a landing page or have ventured into businesses (yes that’s right, switched off your computer and gone into a business and talked to them in person) and sold the product / idea and have buyers and sellers ready to sign up
Ricky Marcon and Lee Jiang
So, how you feeling?
Ready to dive further into the tech pool?
Grab your sunnies then and let’s get into some of the tech basics.
READ our next article Technology Know-How: Starting Before You’re Ready.