With another year over, we wanted to do a quick roundup of the best articles we published in 2022.
As you may know, if you’re a regular visitor of this blog, I’m part of Altar.io, a product and software company that helps entrepreneurs bring their startup visions to life.
Because we work with Founders, our entire marketing strategy revolves around helping entrepreneurs with valuable resources on everything to do with their startup journey.
From technical content leveraging our expertise on building an MVP and finding technical stakeholders (like a CTO or tech co-founder) to interviews with successful entrepreneurs that are at the top of their industry.
Like serial entrepreneur Garret Gafke, a Silicon Valley veteran with over 25 years of experience. Nelly Yusupova, a CTO and startup tech advisor with over 20 years of experience in the industry. Or Wade Eyerly, a unicorn founder who pioneered subscription-based flying and is now tackling the student loan crisis in the US.
Out of all of the articles we created, there were 10 that our 150k+ strong community of entrepreneurs thought were the cream of the crop.
So we dug into the data to find out which they were.
I’ve listed them below and I can confidently say that the information in all of them will certainly help you avoid some of the pitfalls all entrepreneurs face on their startup journey.
1. How Long Does It Take to Build an MVP? (Minimum Viable Product)
One of the questions that we get asked the most by our entrepreneurial community is “how long should my MVP take to build.”
It’s a question that is difficult to answer, as there are a lot of factors to consider, such as the features needed to validate your value proposition, your specific vertical and how well you’ve scoped your product.
To give you an accurate estimate of how long it should take, we decided to look back at the MVPs we’ve helped our clients build – as well as the MVPs our founders built with their previous startups.
Then, we reached out to our community of entrepreneurs to gather even more data.
The result is a study based on 45 MVPs, which gives a clear look at
- The average time it takes to build an MVP
- How long most MVPs take to build
Check it out here.
2. The Right Roadmap to Build an MVP: From Idea to Launch
This guide takes the combined experience of our founding team and boils it down into an easy-to-digest guide on how to build your MVP.
It starts with everything you need to prepare your product for development.
Then, it looks at the development phase itself, including the options you have regarding technical stakeholders.
Finally, it tackles the steps you should take once you release the initial version of your MVP.
These three steps are crucial to giving your MVP the best chance of success. Although it’s important to build an MVP quickly, taking the time to structure your product will save you a lot of time and confusion later down the line.
Check it out here.
3. My Experience Building a Tech Startup Without a Technical Co-Founder
This founder story from Dudley Gould, an entrepreneur launching a UK-based Fintech, is a classic example of a non-tech founder looking for a tech co-founder. Jobs quest for his Wozniak if you will.
His story was so relevant to any entrepreneur starting out that I asked him to write it down and publish it in our blog.
Luckily, Dudley was more than happy to take the time to do it,
In a nutshell, he spent almost a year looking for a tech co-founder.
He went to meetups. Reached out to friends. Friends of friends. Ex-colleagues. Joined online groups.
Name any tactic for finding a founder that comes to your mind or that you read somewhere. He did it.
Time flew by and he was nowhere closer to building his dream.
That led to what Dudley himself considers to be “arguably one of the most important decisions in the early stages of Audapio.”
He decided to move on without a technical co-founder. And learned some valuable lessons on the way.
You can find the whole story here.
Do you have a brilliant startup idea that you want to bring to life?
From the product and business reasoning to streamlining your MVP to the most important features, our team of product experts and ex-startup founders can help you bring your vision to life.
4. 7 Dangerous Mistakes to Avoid When Building an MVP
To date, we’ve helped build over 80 MVPs, from first-time founders with early-stage startups to seasoned entrepreneurs with multiple projects under their belts, all in a variety of regions across the globe.
Despite the differences in size, location, resources and industry, we’ve noticed the majority of entrepreneurs we’ve helped have one thing in common.
They all made similar mistakes when building their MVPs.
And while it’s true that many of the hurdles you’ll face as you build your MVP will be specific to you, it’s also true that some hurdles are common. And easily avoidable.
That’s why our founding team put their heads together, calling on their 25+ years of combined experience in building tech startups, to identify those common hurdles.
The result is a list of 7 dangerous mistakes that many founders make when building an MVP, so you can spot them before it’s too late.
Check out the full resource here.
5. How I Found the Right Software Development Company for My Startup
Last year, former HSBC Managing Director turned entrepreneur, Adil Kurt-Elli, decided to entrust our team to build the MVP for his startup, Synch.
Looking at the outcome we had together, I decided to ask him to share his experience both looking for and working with a software company.
First, entrepreneurs often come to my fellow Altarions and me to ask about the “Founder/Agency” relationship, as well as the outsourcing process as a whole. I know this is a question that needs answering. And who better to answer it than a peer entrepreneur?
After all, like with anything, the best way to learn about the process is from someone who’s done it successfully.
Secondly, I wanted to give you a peek behind the curtain at how we operate at Altar.
And, again, who better to give you that than an entrepreneur we’ve worked with closely for nearly a year?
Fortunately, Adil was more than happy to share his story with you, which you can read in full here.
6. Lessons Learned From Over 25 Years in Silicon Valley [Founder Story]
Last year, I had the opportunity to sit down with Garrett Gafke, a serial entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience in Silicon Valley.
He pioneered the digital identity industry when he founded his startup IdentityMind back in 2011.
After achieving over $21M in funding, and solidifying its place as an industry leader, IdentityMind was successfully acquired by Acuant.
The conversation was so full of value, we had to split it into two parts.
That gave me an opportunity to dive deeper with Garrett on arguably the most important aspect of any startup (and the thing that got him through his toughest times), people.
In this part of the conversation, Garrett draws on his 25 years of experience building startups in Silicon Valley to share his advice on early adopters, leadership, the people behind his startup and how to maintain a positive company culture.
Advice like how in startup culture:
It all starts with you. The Founder. The company is a full-blown extension of you.
You have to bring the same values that you have in your life, in your family, to the startup.
Then, you want to bring in people in the early days who have similar values to you.
Then when the next round of hires comes along, they will share those values and thought processes and the culture will spread to them that way.
If you get the culture right, you’ll get to a point where the company’s grown but it’s still like a family. There are 100 or 200 people and everyone is taking care of each other.
It sounds kind of obvious, right?
Why would any company want to have a culture where people are invested in seeing each other fail?
But if you’ve ever worked in a company, big or small, you know exactly how this is so much easier said than done.
According to Garrett, his secret was: “to see those who do not fit sooner and act on it.”
The key was as much about nurturing the positive as it was about not tolerating the negative.
To check out the full conversation, simply follow this link.
7. 7 Steps to Bring Your Tech Startup Idea to Life
Throughout the years, applying our accumulated startup experience and working with nearly 100 startup teams, we created and fine-tuned a framework intended to drastically reduce the failure rate of startups.
It’s what’s helped over half of the founding teams that trusted us with their product development secure VC funding – in an ecosystem where only 0.05% of startups ever reach that goal.
Today I wanted to share the exact process we use but also some of the most important patterns we see in successful founding teams.
Of course, there are a million and one factors that will inevitably determine the success or failure of your startup.
But we’ve seen how valuable the right process can be to mitigate the risks.
Check out the full article for more.
8. How an Experience in Turkey Led to a Million-Dollar Startup [Founder Interview]
Another great conversation, which culminated in the eighth interview in our Startup Journey series.
This time, our co-founder Paolo and I sat down with Sean Yu, who reminded me that jumping into entrepreneurship is rarely a rational decision.
He started his career at Lehman Brothers and Gryphon Investors. The rational decision for Sean, at that point, was to go to business school in the US and pursue a steady career in finance.
However, his interest in Economic development took him down a different path. An NGO based in Turkey.
It was there, while working with entrepreneurs and their startups, that he found his entrepreneurial itch:
“My original goal was to work with the NGO for two years, then go to grad school. But I was inspired by the entrepreneurs here in Turkey and what they were building.
There’s a difference between analysing something and building something. I wanted to be more hands-on – tinkering and building things. So I decided to stay and launch a startup.”
It’s safe to say that his passion to build and tinker paid off – today his startup has been acquired by the largest private equity firm in Turkey.
As for Sean? Well, he’s still the CEO of the company, with a hundred-person team behind him. Which has brought new challenges – like how to keep the qualities of a startup in a big company.
You can find the full story here.
Sean’s story is packed with tips and insights that I wish every entrepreneur knew about before launching their startups.
Things like listening to the market to solve a real problem or launching small and iterating to test that solution. As well as getting stuck in, and doing whatever is needed to get the job done.
I hope you enjoy it.
9. What Founders Should Know Before Hiring a CTO or a Software Agency [Expert Interview]
It’s one of the most contentious questions in the startup world:
Should you hire a CTO to build your startup product or outsource to a software development company?
Some will tell you the only way to build a startup is to hire a CTO.
Others will tell you that it doesn’t matter who builds your product, just that your product gets to market quickly.
But there is another line of thought…
What if, in outsourcing your software development, you are actually better equipped to attract a CTO?
My co-founder Paolo & I recently sat down with a CTO with over 18 years of experience in the industry, Nelly Yusupova.
She theorises that you need to earn a technical co-founder. And the best way to do that is to build your MVP and get traction.
Then, you’re more than just a person with a great idea. You’re a founder with a product that solves a problem and is ripe for iterating upon.
But this wasn’t the only diamond to come out of our conversation with Nelly.
Check out our full conversation using this link, and you’ll see exactly what I mean.
10. Custom Software Development Companies for Startups: How to Make it Work
The internet reaching its maturity brought amazing possibilities for all of us. But also a nice set of challenges. Especially for non-technical entrepreneurs.
Not that long ago we had the luxury of time.
It’s not that the actual need for speed wasn’t there, but you didn’t have 20,000 competitors eager to grab that same piece of the pie.
You could also discuss an idea, put together a decent product and iterate based on the feedback. You didn’t have to deliver an amazing experience from the get-go.
Think about what happens when it takes more than three seconds for a web page to load. Or when you find a bug that prevents you from using an app.
Click. Click. Uninstall. Move on. Other alternatives out there.
The world is not filled with eager early adopters anymore, looking to embrace the amazing new possibilities technology presents.
We have higher standards. We’re used to better platforms.
And it’s not only demand that’s changed. Supply also.
Before, you could talk to a talented friend that knew how to code and build something in your garage.
Now that friend is nowhere to be seen.
Steve Wozniak was a geek. You look at tech co-founders and CTOs at hyper-growth companies these days and they look like freakin John Travolta in Grease.
Talented tech stakeholders are either working on their own thing, or in big companies with high-paying jobs.
They’re not looking for unproven ideas.
(The same principle applies to investors. More and more they’ll be looking for traction as the way to prioritize their investments. But that’s a different story.)
More demanding users. More competition. Scarcity of technical talent. All pointing in the same direction:
It’s harder than ever to build something that wins in the market.
It’s why many entrepreneurs turn to the other options out there, like working with a software development company.
So we decided to create a guide to help you navigate the entrepreneur-development agency relationship based on what we’ve learned over the years here at Altar.
You can find it here.
I’m sure it will help you get a better understanding of how you can navigate those waters.
2022 was a fantastic year for Altar and I’m so happy to see that we’ve been able to provide resources that have proven valuable for the entrepreneurial community.
Thanks for reading