daemonl

In case you were wondering...

Less than perfect

Sometimes... It just doesn't need to be as perfect as it can possibly be.

Feature creep is one of the biggest challenges for software developers. We want to make it perfect, and it should be extendible, best practice, cover all bases, intuitive, secure using the latest and greatest technology.

All of these things are good. And you probably should aim for them. However - If you are building a startup, you probably don't have time. So what do you skip?

The first principal we all know is to do one thing and do it well. That will help, but it's not so clear cut. When I was hacking for a health startup, we needed a way to authenticate new health practitioners. We needed to make sure they were who they said they were and that they were, in fact, qualified health practitioners. Cool challenge. I ran it past a whole bunch of developers and - all excited. I totally wanted to build this. We needed to pioneer a system where a computer could identify and prove an person's identity. That could have taken us... well, forever... to get right. Probably best we didn't do it.

Instead we had to focus on the core software we were building.

It's hard to drop something like that - we never solved the problem. It IS a problem, and a road block. But we had to get over it. Move past. Basically bury it and pretend we never realised it was a problem in the first place. If someone else wants to start that startup - they should.

Principal 2: Fake it 'till you make it. We never solved the problem, but we could still sign up practitioners. We just had to do some research. Manually. For each practitioner. The users never knew, but we had confidence that they were who they said they were. If it ever becomes a problem - that is, we have too many users to manually check them all, then we also probably have enough money to build the Turing identifier.

We cut corners. And it all worked out OK. And it was really hard to do.

A boss once put it perfectly - "We are building a laundry. You are installing gold taps. I just don't need gold taps in my laundry."

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