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Top lessons for startups

Published in StartupsLessonsGetting Real on Jan 29, 2020

We've worked for a lot of different companies. What is the top lesson we can share with startups that we've learned from our experience?

This was the KnowYourTeam question this week at work, and I found it so interesting that I wanted to share my answer here as well.

To be honest, I would recommend Getting Real. I've been re-reading it, and it's amazing how a book from 2006 is still so relevant these days when it comes to building web applications.

Some of the key points to me:

  • Your v1 application should have a small team (3 people): fewer debates, faster decisions, more actions (from "The Three Musketeers" chapter);
  • Build only the essential parts. Start with the core of your application, and build it backward. It's also easier to validate if the idea is possible, and where the knowledge gaps of the team are. Maybe a fix would be bringing someone with experience in the technology (if it's new) or just that it's not worth building it. The faster you know this, the better (summary of "Build Less", "Less Software", "Fix Time and Budget, Flex Scope", and "What's the Big Idea" chapters)

My experience re-validates the lessons from the book.

Some other chapters that I enjoyed:

  • Make opinionated software (here);
  • Scale Later (here);
  • Code Speaks (here);
  • All bugs are not equal (here);
  • It's a problem when it's a problem (here)