In the previous article, we discussed the difference between outsourcing and hiring a technology partner for your new business. We talked about how companies such as Uber, SpaceX and Google hired technology partners when starting out and what the benefits are of going down that route.
The next obvious question is: how do you choose the right technology partner?
The first step is to find someone who understands what it is to build products. Let’s say you plan to build the next big disruptor in your industry. You have decided you need to build this as a web app and want to build the front end with React. Generally, the trend is first defining the job of this front end engineer who knows React, Webpack, CSS BEM methodology, unit testing for code.
One of the most common mistakes people make while building their team is focusing too much on what technology they already know rather than what they have done with it. Building products in the early stages is more about discovery than anything else. Writing code in the product discovery stage vs post product market fit is a completely different skill.
This is where building a product is different from executing a project.
In case of projects, there are clearly set out expectations as to what is going to be achieved and the success criteria is clearly laid out.
Skills required for them is on the lines of
- Need to anticipate all types of changes: When building products, it’s important to be able to change / pivot the product to achieve product market fit. This needs to be thought of from day one. This in itself is a different skill — something that post product market fit engineers are not really well versed with. Success of a product greatly depends on how well you can change the product more than how well you have built the product.
- Need to highlight high-impact changes: While building the architecture, we need to highlight these high-impact changes. The previous point can be done justice only when at an architecture level we have addressed these areas and have thought it through. Even by not building out the full architecture but just only doing a part of it to make it more flexible for future changes is a must to make sure that the product can really change.
- Communicate to right stakeholders about the true state of the product: Since building a new product is very challenging in itself, communication becomes tricky as the way stakeholders look at things is quite different from how an engineering team views them. Communication holds the key to successfully building products so that a business can see what is possible and is just not in an engineer’s mind.
Fundraising is not same as only building a product, priorities change at much a faster rate and sometimes that involves convincing your investors that you are capable of delivering a product. This is also a skill that needs some experience in this particular field and something that a fully proficient post product market fit engineer will not be well versed in.
Someone who has experience in doing that, fundraising and building a new product are not exact parallels. Find someone who is going to help you solve your actual problems.
That’s another reason why hiring a tech partner is not the same as outsourcing. You would never say you have outsourced fundraising, would you?
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