Why context matters

So, you’re working in the zone. Smashing bugs, creating incredible stuff and making the world better. Sometimes you’re just focused on one thing. You’re the database guy. All that matters to you is words ending in SQL. You think about optmization, data corruption and servers crashing down.

That’s ok. In fact it’s really cool. Maybe you’re the QA guy. Everything doesn’t matter. It’s all about tests. What are we building again? Doesn’t matter, just QA. You’re happy and that’s cool.

You’re building something. In fact your whole team is building it with you. Sometimes the whole company is building it with you. And you are part of the process. It’s great that you’re that good at QA, but you have to lift up your head and see what everyone else is doing. If you do your job great, but it’s not what the team needs, it’s the same as an awful work.

What can you do? Get some context. Talk to people. Understand what you’re building, why it’s cool and what makes it so important. Some might say it’s your manager job to tell you this stuff. But, he doesn’t have the time for that.

If you could talk to customers that would be great. Better than this, talk to everyone. Talk to marketing, coders, QA, design even finance guys. Try to understand where does the project stands inside the company. Is it a little pet project nobody cares? Is it the miracle-company-saving project everyone it’s expecting?

It’s easy to think none of this matters. At the end, you’re going to keep looking for bugs in the QA department. But you’re going to make a great work and the product it’s going to be a lot better.



Startup… values?

I guess if you like startups: you are working on one, creating your own or just dreaming about it. Doesn’t matter which side are you, I know you hide something. Sometimes it’s an idea or a technology, but I know you think it’s an advantage.

Today, we are all talking about acronyms. My startup is SAAS, I use JSF, we are doing it with less and obviously we use AJAX (FTW you get the point). 

And that’s good. We all need an advantage, we all need something that reassure us we are going to win. I think any hacker can notice your advantage in 5 – 10 minutes. Maybe it’s not so secret at all. Maybe you have it all written in your forehead.

But for me, in the little 2 months I have been in this world as a founder, it’s all about the values. Don’t get grumpy, all the acronyms are good, you need them. But the thing is, you’re going to make some though choices.

Though choices aren’t obvious. They are hard because there seems to be a big gray area around. I am not talking about Jquery of Javascript. Paying somebody in the inside to help us get the deal done? That’s a though choice. I know, everybody is perfect and nobody is going to pay that guy (you’ll have to be there), but that are the though ones.

If you start analyzing this really important choices on a case by case basis, you might end up just thinking about these stuff. And sometimes you might contradict yourself with the choices. The choices from yesterday, are going to backfire you tomorrow.

I have a simple formula: values. I know you were expecting something more complicated. But that is how simple stuff is. Don’t underestimate it, it’s really powerful.

When you are creating a startup. Before you start yelling about escalating, Node JS and C#. Take a little time to think about your values, your co-founders values and your startup values. It is really important. If you have your values clear and aligned (yours, co-founders and startup), all the gray decisions are going to be much easier. Almost black and white.

You think you’re honest. Good. Write it down and be honest all the way. Practice what you preach. Be a good guy. It’s not just about winning, it’s about how you win. I don’t care if you believe in God, karma… Try to be nice, even Google knows it (they have it in their motto).

We live in a world were it’s glamorous to win. And sometimes movies teach us to win anyway we can. Steal, kill, whatever you need. I don’t believe in that. I believe we are all here solving a really big problem, making the world better, not just getting some revenues.





What’s a startup?

Today it’s my first day as a startup founder. I can’t say it’s exactly how I imagined, but I think it’s pretty similar. Today has been a day for adjusting and making the preparations. The switch from employee to unemployed (for me I am unemployed until my startup starts making money) it’s not easy.

I think the change in the mindset it’s as important as the change in what you do. I think it might take a couple of days. I am calm, because I knew it was impossible to start hacking like a maniac from day one. I am starting to hack, but I think the first actions: planning and preparation are as important. Maybe the first realization was: a business it’s not an app. It’s much more than that.

All this thinking (when I should be working) made me wonder: exactly, what is a startup?. I am going to write about a personal definition, I know there are hundreds across the web.

For a me startup it’s a business that can scale quickly. Normally startups are related to the Internet. But that’s not because of movies or something like that. It’s because it’s easy to scale on the web. Think about it. What do people from China, USA, Argentina and Congo have in common? Soccer maybe? No! It’s the Internet. That way if you can build something around the Internet, it can scale to those places and more. 

For me, it’s as simple as that. Scale quickly. I do not mean to brag but according to the stats of these blog people (not a lot) have read me from countries I didn’t even know they existed. That is scaling from me. Thinking about starting a supermarket? That’s cool, but that’s hard to scale.

Also a startup must be profitable. It’s not cool if you make something humongous but it doesn’t generate revenue.

So, for me, a simple definition is: Make something that can scale and be profitable.

And then we all be rich, nice right?

All these stuff is making me wonder: what’s the tiniest app a persona can build that becomes profitable?

Sounds easy. I’m thinking of giving it a try.