Tech Startups: Don’t Put the Coding Cart Before the Horse

Have a great new business idea? It isn’t always enough to identify an inefficiency in the marketplace – you have to make sure the problem you’re solving is one buyers care enough about to make writing any code worthwhile.

Too often at tech startups it’s off to the races with code and product development before it’s confirmed that the idea can truly sell, or that it will address buyer need in precisely the way originally imagined, argues award-winning author and serial entrepreneur Penelope Trunk. “I want to tell you something,” she writes as the new “startup critic” for VentureBeat. “Don’t do this. Don’t write code before you know what you’re going to use it for.”

Trunk suggests that it is almost always far more productive to go to a prospective buyer with a demo that “sort of works” (and takes a fraction of the time to code). “The prospective customer won’t care,” Trunk writes,  “because they are making a business decision, not a coding decision. Once [the startup] has got a company signed up, then [it] can start coding to solve the real customer’s real problem.” For more advice on how to make sure you’re not putting the coding cart before the horse, read Trunk’s full article here.

Related Content from OpenView:

A developer may have a vision for how technology can solve a problem, but that vision doesn’t always mesh with customer expectation and usability. Read this post from OpenView partner Firas Raouf to learn more about why products need to be built and developed based on the feedback and needs of the end user. And for more on the right moment to start coding, read this post from the OpenView Blog.

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