06 March 2015

Founders as Programmers?

A founder asked
While outsourcing my startup, should I learn programming or just focus on customers and scaling?
Founders don't need to learn programming.

Outsourcing is a good call, but never if the intent is to outsource on the cheap.
Don't skimp on developers if your product is software.
Founders need to find the most talented software producers money can buy. A software producer is steeped in:
Software developers need cash on the barrelhead. Never insult them with equity propositions. If you do, they'll sniff you out as an amateur.

Founders are on the hook to provide the developers with a clear picture of what the product should be at any given time as the production team iterates to a sustainable business model.


You wish. First things first.
Focus on customer discovery.
Prepare for the realization that your original idea sucked.
  • Let the discovery process guide and inform the search for a viable model;
  • Don't rely on notions and opinions about customers;
  • Humbly and diligently acquire the hard facts about customers and the market.
Founders are detectives. They pursue intel on customer pains & gains. Then they fit an offering to address them. The Business Model Canvas helps organize the detective work.
Pursue reality over wishful thinking.
A founder needs to attract the best software producers, then trust them to deliver the product vision.

The more relentless founders are in pursuing actionable, the more the production team will trust the founder's vision of the offering.