Founders: You Don’t Need More Developers, You Need a Product Manager

After spending several months getting back into the development game as a Senior Front End Developer, I quickly realized there was a major disconnect between development teams and the outside world.

A majority of the startups had a technical founder calling the product shots. Most of these dudes were ex-senior developers who had an idea and started building it. They got some traction, a little bit of funding and locked themselves inside of an ivory tower filled with other developers acting as “yes men”.

Clearly, I wasn’t cut out to be a senior front-end developer, they are looking for a grunt to build without question. There is nothing more unappetizing than grinding away on a feature that will never see the light of day.

Throughout my career, I managed small to medium sized development teams, for both private and publically held companies. I’ve had the opportunity to experience an IPO, several bankruptcies and a lot of failures.

What have I learned from this? I can spot holes in a product from a mile away. Fortunately or unfortunately the holes don’t lie in the idea or product itself. It usually lies in the minds and egos of the development team.

“We just need to build this feature” is probably the most incorrect and overused reason I hear from technical founders. Sorry buddy, but that magical feature you want to build isn’t going to do shit. Especially when 0.5% of your user-base is barely logging into the product.

So before you throw another six figures down on some superstar developer from Google or Facebook, maybe you should take a good look in the mirror and create, what I call, “product awareness” (or hire a product manager to shed some very uncomfortable light on the reality of your product).