Hope you got some great nuggets of wisdom from my previous compilation “60+ Tips & Tricks on Marketing from SaaStr Annual 2019”. If you missed it, here’s the link.
We didn’t want to leave our Product leaders behind, so we went ahead and compiled a list of thoughtful tips on product and engineering as well.
What’s about awesome about this list is that each tip and trick is a summary of vast experiences, some learnt the hard way and some learnt after several experiments.
“Customers first – Everything starts with an API”
This makes so much sense. In your early days, the priority should be demonstrating the value to your customers visibly by just connecting a bunch of well known APIs together, not to write thousands of lines of your own code from scratch.
We did that at Airim, but within a year of launching our first MVP and getting about fifty customers, we had to recode the entire backend and frontend of the product. This involved huge investment in engineering as well as UI/UX.
Looking back, I now strongly believe that we should have just connected a bunch of APIs together for our MVP.
Customer informed development, not “driven”
A product’s every line of code should be based on informed insights from observing what your customers need to be done most urgently. But sometimes , we listen to just one customer’s feedback and give it a superhigh priority in our development roadmap. Often, this new feature consumes weeks of engineering time and other customers’ priorities get ignored in this duration.
This situation can be avoided if the product manager take decisions based on insights from a large set of customers, not just influence from one mighty customer.
“Hiring CTO early is like paying Gordon Ramsay to peel carrots” – MattKurleto.com
If you are solving a problem that doesn’t need a tech innovation, it’s ok to defer hiring a CTO. You don’t need one to just build a website, or code an MVP for an app. You have WordPress, Wix or Pagematix for the former and Invision or Bubble for the latter.
I know several startups today (couple of them are unicorns now) who didn’t hire a CTO until a year after getting their first paying customer.
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