Building the technology in your early-stage startup

Hacker crafting a new piece of technology

I recently talked to a friend, really frustrated (again), who come across a couple of bad experiences while starting the same startup a couple of time. The main struggle relies on the tech side of the equation.

Thinking of starting a tech startup is not an easy task, and not even easier not being a technical person on the background.

I have seen 3 different scenarios where starting a tech company might work, but not necessarily succeed. Take this at your own risk, knowing this will help only as a launchpad for your idea taking it just to the next step on the ladder.

Some people start a business as solo-entrepreneurs. I do really admire them! Such hard work and going alone should be hard. The tough part is to start working a technology product without knowing where to start. And even worse, beginning alone with no other minds on the room might be complicated. In other cases and initial structures, I have seen the great combination of at least 2 founders, one on the operational side and the other one in the business development side, where the first one takes all tech efforts involved. I think more than 3 might be difficult to handle, even more, if the number isn’t odd for hard decisions where the vote should have a final weight.

I am aware that making partnerships and creating companies isn’t a task that can happen on a meetup while chatting over some beers. The relationship between founders should be developed and must pursue a trustworthy environment. Inviting a random person that is not usually in touch with you to start a new business with a bold vision, might generate conflicts that can become hard to solve eventually.

If there’s no enough network nodes nor the time to learn about code, choose someone (or something) you can trust and delegate the task. There are different ways to do this, such as searching for freelancers, a small dev shop or a specialized development company. Whatever you decide, you need to assess the counterpart and be sure of what the outcomes are going to be from that particular engagement. As this option might be the most expensive in the short-term, it needs to be the best from a cost-benefit perspective.

To select this option, you should have money in your bank account. I have seen companies raising some funds from the typical Friends, fools and families group. Securing that money, considering additional costs involved in operating the business in the early days, and administrating those resources, the investment can accelerate the company objectives, winning against time: the most critical factor while running a startup.

Finally, founders involvement in this particular type of engagement is critical to reaching a successful outcome. Someone who plays the role of Product Owner in conjunction with the delegated part is important so the business objectives and real intentions of the product can’t deviate.

That’s right. Learn the skills needed to start building your product. Since this might be the path that should take more time because of the online courses, in-person workshops or coding bootcamps you will take, you can be pretty sure no one will treat you like a fool when the conversation is about technology. I have always considered that developing the code itself when you start a business, should have the same priority and attention from the founding team as in selling or administrating the business — is an additional duty to operate properly the business. Even more, to have a real tech business.

All of these scenarios have a particular case study. Everyone is different, and depending on the nature of the business, available resources and alignment of specific variables, the decision can be taken.

Co-founder at Icalia Labs. Software, my career. Ambivert, Progressive and Vehement. Bilingual [EN|ES].

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