EuroPython 2018: How to Ignore Most Startup Advice and Build a Decent Software Business

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  • Good teams can be surprisingly small. You don’t need to pass the bus test – excellence requires authorship not redundancy or design by committee. Building the right stuff matters much more than building lots of stuff. At a smaller scale, generalists make much more sense than specialists in general, but the best model is if everybody has some specialisation, but also a common skill set. This complementary team setup is hard to build in larger teams, and much easier in smaller teams. Think of it as tree-shaped skills (some trunk skills, lots of branches, and growth) instead of T-shaped skills.
  • You can make good decisions without testing all of your assumptions. Don’t fall prey to inverse survivorship bias either – just because you didn’t do something and failed, it doesn’t mean doing that thing would have saved you. Have a look at, collecting autopsies of failed startups.
  • You can’t replace logic with data. Decisive data is the exception, not the rule. Decisions are mostly based on reason, and you’ll win if you’re mostly right. Build things you think are good.
  • The true value does not lie in your users’ data. Data is not the new oil, wth. Monetize the money, not the users. Ship value, charge money (novel concept). Users appreciate cosftware that works. Users are not interchangeable test subjects, they’re people and they remember things. Profit is the best KPI.