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Building an MVP for non-technical founders

Trustshoring2020-11-06
minimum viable product#startup#mvp#how to build an mvp#how to build an app#how to build an mvp app#how to build software from scratch#how to build software without coding#how to build a prototype#non technical founders#hiring cto#Fractional CTO#Fractional CTO services#hiring cpo#Fractional CPO services#how to hire software engineers#recruiting software engineers#how to hire a software developer#Victor Purolnik#non-technical founder#saas
32K views|3 years ago
💫 Short Summary

The video segments discuss the challenges and strategies in building software for startups, emphasizing the importance of non-technical aspects like marketing and value propositions. It delves into creating Minimum Viable Products (MVPs), utilizing no-code platforms, onboarding technical personnel effectively, and selecting contractors. The importance of user feedback, scalability, and avoiding technical debt is highlighted. The role of a CTO in startups is debated, with a focus on hiring product managers. Strategies for building MVPs on a budget and understanding customer goals are also explored, along with practical tips for successful software development.

✨ Highlights
📊 Transcript
Success in building software for startups depends more on founders, marketing strategies, and value propositions than on the complexity of the technology itself.
01:50
Investors often seek a CTO, assuming that creating a visually appealing product is simple, leading to misconceptions.
Many developers struggle with understanding business concepts, fundraising, and UX design, causing delays in project completion.
While some developers excel in non-technical areas, most prioritize their technical skills over other essential aspects of software development.
Building a successful MVP involves knowing what to build, saying no to unnecessary features, and focusing on gaining traction.
06:16
The key challenge is shifting focus from product development to traction.
Manual MVPs can be created by performing services manually through methods like emails, calls, and web forms.
Virtual assistants can be hired remotely for basic tasks at a lower cost.
Start small, scale gradually, and prioritize gaining traction over product development.
Examples of Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) for non-technical founders.
08:35
Start with a blog before automating processes.
Utilize a forum MVP to build a community.
Implement a spreadsheet MVP before developing a SaaS product.
Examples include a travel deal blog evolving into a brokerage travel platform, a boat owner community turning into a service provider matching platform, and a friend's SaaS business starting with a spreadsheet to help plan trips.
Building applications without coding using platforms like Bubble and Zoho enables startups to create products and secure funding.
13:37
Scalability and code reuse may be limitations in the long run, as these platforms may require rewriting and have limited database access.
Despite being able to handle high user loads, costs for each user on the platform may impact scalability and profitability.
Benefits of non-coding approaches in software development.
15:23
Direct communication with users aids in understanding needs and improving products efficiently.
Developers acting as middlemen fulfill customer demands accurately and tailor the marketplace accordingly.
Non-coding methods are best suited for the iterative process at the beginning of startups, avoiding costly and slow coding too early.
Waiting to write code allows for better understanding of customer requirements and prevents wasted resources on ineffective solutions.
Challenges faced by tech professionals transitioning to startup co-founding.
19:58
Developers may struggle with unclear goals, lack of documentation, and differing contexts in the startup environment.
Finding someone who understands the vision from the start is crucial for success.
Building something small and simple in a startup can be more complex than larger projects, requiring a deeper understanding.
Automation and clear processes can facilitate smoother development, with back-end work becoming easier in later stages.
Building a minimum viable product (MVP) without the need for a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) initially.
22:26
Eliminating the CTO role until actual development is required for affordability and clear product understanding.
Addressing privacy concerns when working with sensitive health data, emphasizing the complexities and costs of ensuring compliance.
Suggesting tools like Google Sheets and Zapier for prototyping and automation purposes.
Comparison between Integromat and Zapier for automation tasks.
25:34
Integromat is highlighted for its advantages in handling complex API integrations and data.
Typeform is discussed as a tool for creating forms with payment capabilities.
Bubble is recognized as a leading no-code platform.
Importance of scaling manual tasks through automation tools is emphasized.
Energy consumption app concept involves scanning invoices for better energy options.
28:32
Building a complex software MVP is expensive, but a simple photo-based app is feasible.
MVP and prototype differences are clarified, emphasizing the importance of user needs and goals.
Custom code MVPs are challenging for technical founders, leading to lengthy development cycles.
Incorrect budget and runway assumptions are common due to initial hypothesis inaccuracies.
Key Highlights on Building Software for Product-Market Fit
33:09
Building software requires multiple iterations to achieve product-market fit, with each iteration being costly.
It's crucial to find a balance between building a robust codebase and cutting corners for efficiency.
The ideal timeframe for developing an MVP is between one to three months, with a focus on prioritizing essential features.
Utilizing existing manual setups and user feedback can aid in scaling a product effectively.
Onboarding a technical person should involve showing them the entire business process and providing a detailed business briefing and user goals.
35:55
Documentation should not only focus on technical requirements but also on user stories that clarify the 'what,' 'when,' and 'why' of features.
User stories are crucial for developers to understand the purpose and context of the work they are doing.
Creating clickable prototypes using tools like Figma or Google Slides can help efficiently communicate ideas and concepts.
Linking buttons to the right slides is essential for creating interactive prototypes that accurately represent the intended user experience.
Importance of showcasing changes in a form through separate slides for better developer understanding.
39:36
Using clickable tabs to duplicate slides and clearly demonstrate changes.
Developers should understand concepts without guessing.
Click dummy as a global prototype for effective feedback.
Tools like Figma and Marvel for exporting to HTML and creating prototypes for user feedback and testing.
Key highlights for creating mobile prototypes with Marvel.
42:50
Marvel is a useful tool for mobile prototypes, as it can be installed on phones, providing advantages over Google Slides.
Establishing a budget and time constraints for developers is crucial to finding the best solution within those parameters.
Including constraints upfront helps avoid wasting time on proposals that may exceed the budget.
Popular backend languages and frameworks for mobile development include Node.js, PHP, Python with Django, and Ruby on Rails. Checking contractors' portfolios and using platforms like Clutch for verified client reviews is essential.
Importance of choosing the right contractor for a project.
48:36
Understanding the project concept and having good communication with the contractor is essential.
Soft skills are just as important as technical skills, such as coding ability.
Good coding involves clean, scalable, extendable, and bug-free code.
A good code architecture allows for easy addition of new features and prevents issues in other areas of the application.
Tips for Evaluating Contractors for Software Development Projects
49:51
Talking to previous customers and signing up for applications can quickly assess code quality.
Asking references about adding features and performance can indicate project success.
Setting deadlines and evaluating contractors based on estimates, questions asked, and implementation methods is crucial.
Testing contractors with small projects can reveal their accuracy, timeliness, communication, and implementation skills.
Factors affecting the cost of custom code in app development.
54:11
Wanting to be on multiple platforms, complex front ends with animations and nested components, and the use of integrations are key factors.
Using different developers for various platforms can increase costs, and specialized developers may not cover all platforms.
Frameworks like React can streamline development but may still be costly for complex projects.
Real-time features and single-page applications are beneficial for scalability but can be expensive to set up initially.
Importance of Proper Integration and APIs in Machine Systems.
57:30
APIs are essential for facilitating data exchange between applications in a specific format.
Non-standard payment gateways may require complex integrations, making it challenging without standard libraries like Stripe.
Software errors can result in billing issues such as double or triple charging, highlighting the significance of accurate payment processing.
Scalability must be incorporated from the start to ensure a strong and reliable system.
Building a secure and compliant system for one customer involves analyzing data from major US news websites.
01:00:27
Optimization of algorithms, databases, and scalable architecture is necessary but costly.
Security is crucial, with audits required for data protection at a significant expense.
Popular languages and frameworks like Node.js, Ruby, and Python are recommended over less adopted ones like Elixir for global developer accessibility.
Hiring in-demand developers comes at a high cost, with consistent global wages except for San Francisco.
The importance of avoiding technical debt in software development.
01:04:39
Technical debt involves taking shortcuts that lead to bad code and longer development times, requiring repayment through refactoring or rewriting code.
The role of a CTO in startups is questioned.
It is suggested that companies prioritize hiring a product manager over a CTO, as the CTO title is often overhyped for image purposes.
The focus of a CTO should be on practical roles like making architectural decisions and managing technical budgets.
Importance of Having a Product Manager and Lead Developer in a Startup.
01:09:13
VC funding favors startups with a Chief Technical Officer (CTO) in place.
Technical co-founders should be chosen carefully as developers may struggle transitioning into product managers without experience.
Different types of technical roles are needed at various stages of a startup, from a tinkerer familiar with business in early stages to a computer science expert for architecture in scaling stages.
Eventually, a business-focused CTO is necessary for managing budgets and hiring, and the MVP canvas helps identify customer personas, goals, and solutions before implementation.
Importance of determining scale of transactions, budget, timeline, and in-house competencies when planning an MVP.
01:12:27
Contrasting roles of less senior developer and lead developer, emphasizing need for scalable architecture.
Significance of understanding customer goals and constraints to deliver effective solution.
Example of startups without technical co-founder building MVP on budget using vetted tech teams from Eastern Europe.
Approach involves using tools like Calendly, Pipedrive, Excel, and Typeform for efficient management and tracking.