10 Rules for Web Startups vs. “Learning by Mistake”

Most of this year I’ve been following a Software Development methodology called “Learning by Mistake” or more commonly known as “Doh!”.


Therefore it is with great joy that I read Blogger co-founder Evan Williams’ article: “Ten Rules for Web Startups”


I can gladly say that I’ve been following (most) these rules without ever having learnt them at varsity (or at church for that matter). However, I must admit that most of these rules didn’t quite come naturally…


We’ve had many heated discussions about “#1: Be Narrow”. We see the potential for Skyrove providing IPTV, VoIP, free Internet etc. And maybe one day we will, but for now, we’re gonna focus on one thing, and that’s providing a solution where there currently is none.


#2: Be Different – “There are lots of people thinking about – and probably working on – the same thing you are. And one of them is Google. Deal with it. How? …”(read the article to see how!)


Almost every time I tell someone about Skyrove I hear someone say: “But what if Google stole your idea and put 200 programmers on that problem tomorrow? You’d be screwed, wouldn’t you?” I wonder if Brin & Page were asked the same question regarding Microsoft when they started Google.


My favourites:


#5: Be User-Centric – “User experience is everything. It always has been, but it’s still undervalued and under-invested in. If you don’t know user-centered design, study it (check). Hire people who know it(check). Obsess over it (check). Live and breathe it (check).”


#6: Be Self-Centered – “Great products almost always come from someone scratching their own itch. Create something you want to exist in the world (check). Be a user of your own product (check). Hire people who are users of your product (check). Make it better based on your own desires (check).


Okay, so what am I still doing wrong? Definitely #10: Be Balanced. I did go hiking in the Cedarberg this weekend, but it’s the exception to the rule… “What is a startup without bleary-eyed, junk-food-fueled, balls-to-the-wall days and sleepless, caffeine-fueled, relationship-stressing nights? Answer?: A lot more enjoyable place to work.”

I think with that said I’m going to spend some time with my family now!

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