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Developing 1.0 // Rands In Repose

Posted in Links, Startups and Business, Technology by engtech on June 11, 2006

One of my favorite comments is when he talks about having a great programmer on the team who is busy building infrastructure when they're trying to ship a 1.0 product. Whether or not the product exists will be the sole thing that defines if the company will still be around in the future, and you really have to wrap your head around the "do it right, but do it fast" no frills mentality. Which, if you think about it, is a better way of working in general. How much extra work do you generate for yourself? Things to think about.

1.0 is developing the first version of a new product. It's what all those start-ups are busily doing right now. They're working on some 1.0 idea that's good enough that a handful of bright people will forgo their lives in support of the chance of being right… SEE, we had a great idea… We're bazillionaires and we were right.

The Rands 1.0 Hierarchy is an upside down pyramid of Product, Process, People and Pitch that can topple at any moment.

  • Pitch – the Great Idea
    • Fact #1: You're in a hurry. You're a fool if you think you have exclusive rights to your pitch.
  • People – the people to build 1.0 but more importantly your engineering culture
    • Fact #2: No one is indispensable. A great way to topple your fledging pyramid is to hire folks who are not getting the product done with a sense of urgency. Get 1.0 done and then worry what's next.
  • Process – how things are done
    • Fact #3: Process defines communication. It doesn't have to be good, it doesn't even have to be universally agreed upon on, it just has to be stuck in a place where every can see it.
    • Fact #4: Each layer shapes and moves those near it. If your pyramid is not constantly adjusting to keep itself upright something's wrong.
  • Product – something to give to a neutral party
    • Fact #5: You don't have a company until you have a product. This state of constant change is the leading cause of start-up burnout and it's also the reason you've got to get that product out. The perspective of the neutral party is essential validation because you're nuts.
    • Fact #6: The lower the failure, the higher the cost. If the pitch is wrong then you're screwed.
    • Fact #7: What you're really building in 1.0 is a lasting, interesting culture which, if you're lucky, continues to produces great products.

Rands In Repose: 1.0

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