Why software is so different
17 May, 2020

What’s amazing about software is how quickly you can change it.

You’d better have a perfect plan to build a home, a medical device, or an airplane—these business models require an opposite skill of software development: anticipation.

The lean software startup instead embraces: build as little as possible (minimum viable product), measure, learn, then go. Over at Pinwheel, my day job, we just released our MVP 9 days ago to four alpha users.

None of the team is proud of it.

We all know it can be way better, and it isn’t our best work—but we shipped it. Because we knew it was viable enough to provide ONE piece of value: a safer phone to give a kid, where tech is a tool not a toy.

One week later, I have a spreadsheet with no fewer than 98 improvements listed on it based on observing and talking to the first four users. But SMOKES we also don’t need to do a bunch of stuff we thought!

One of them was have more than 50 apps. Turns out, most parents were down with even fewer rather than us thinking we had to get to 1,000. Yay, maximizing work not done. Just one of many examples.

But more than anything, it starts an engine: build–>measure–>learn–>build–>measure–>learn and you get FREE LABOR from all the people out there who adopt it early because it’s viable at one thing for them, and you optimize from there.So dream big (the sojourn experience!), start small (solve the host home matching pain). You got this!

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Family tech, neuroscience, communication, product management, growth

A synthesizer of neuroscience, classical rhetoric, philosophy, 5,000+ hours at whiteboards, high stakes presentations, Fortune 10 consulting, and startup growth.

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