Image for post
Image for post

Whether you run a small landscape company or a big, fancy technology firm, you need to get some “business” done to serve your customers. Inventory, accounting, tracking this or that, reports (sooo many reports)… there is a lot of glue that makes your company run.

Practically speaking, that glue is probably some form of software. The problem is most leaders aren’t into technology and have no idea how to start. So how does that glue actually get built?

It often starts with a conversation like this:

Boss: “We need to find software that does X, Y, and Z. Find something off the shelf because I don’t want some developer ripping me off.” …

Image for post
Image for post

You need an app! The question is… which kind?

For the last 8 years or so this has been a two-sided debate: Native vs Hybrid. Recently (i.e. 2ish years), though, this debate has heated up (I am playing it fast and loose with the term “heated up”).

Why? Because we have a newcomer on the scene: Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). They have been around for a few years, but they have been exploding recently. In fact, you probably are using some and don’t even realize it:

In 2020, when our clients come to us asking for an app, we often find that a Progressive Web App is the best solution. Is it for your next app? Let’s see. …

Image for post
Image for post
Why did someone screw a light bulb into the ground?

You need a developer. Whether you are a new founder with an exciting idea, or a seasoned CXO who wants to do something new in your company, you know you need a dev, but you have no idea how they do what they do.

Don’t worry, you are in good company.

Black magic… Alchemy…. Voodoo… the act of making a computer actually do something is rarely understood. All the client knows is that they need something built and that requires a developer to work their magic. Often this uncertainty leads to a bit of intimidation and therefore mistrust.

If you have worked with a development firm in the past, then this feeling may be even stronger if that experience did not go well. This usually comes in a few different…

Image for post
Image for post

This is part 2 of my series on hiring a developer. Interested in part 1 on sweat equity? Check it out!

You are ready to start building! You have done the work. You have the pilot customers. You have the research.

You. Are. Ready!

It is an exciting time, but come to think of it you don’t know anything about building software except that pros cost money. …

Image for post
Image for post
What happens when devs work out.

It is your birthday. You just turned 24!

Your college buddy, Philbert (You met in a business class junior year. He smells a bit earthy, but he is wicked smart), has taken you out after work to celebrate a bit and to tell you about his new idea.

It is brilliant. Its like Tender and AirBnb had a baby named Uber who grew up and saved all of the whales. You just know it is it is going to make millions… no!… BILLIONS! Philbert, you, and a few choice craft beverages talk about it for hours. …

Image for post
Image for post
Ready for takeoff…

When you are starting up a new business one of the early BIG decisions you have to make is what kind of runway do you want to take off on. There are really two options which I call Lifestyle or Investment. Before we get too far let’s me define a bit more of what I mean.

What’s a Runway?

Basically a runway is the time frame in which your idea is funded. If you run out of runway before your idea is self-sufficient, then, continuing with the analogy, you crash.

Image for post
Image for post
The future of scooters? (Image: Hillary Werner)

The Best App Ever

Imagine this. An amazing new app called “Money Machine”. All you have to do is download my app and I will give you $2 every single time you use it. No catch. Just free money.

Pretty great right?

If I made that app I am pretty confident I would have millions of users within weeks. I would have articles on tech crunch/verge/hacker news, and adoration from all of my users. I would have the ultimate “user acquisition strategy” because everyone would want to signup and use my app.

Now, do you think I would have any trouble getting investors? No one would be crazy enough to invest in a company that basically gives away their money right? …

Image for post
Image for post

According to a study in 2018, 42% of startups fail because of “No Market Need.” Another way to say this is “Poor Market Fit” or “The startup didn’t know who their customer is or what they wanted”. That second one isn’t quite as catchy….

Regardless of how you say it, it boils down to the fact that the #1 reason that a startup fails is because they built something no one wanted. How do you fix that? Easy. Don’t build it…yet.

I am not saying that you should give up on your dreams and get back to your day job. What I am saying is that with time and some elbow grease, you can really build and test your idea without any money and without any tech. …


David Baxter

David is the founder of Big Pixel, a UX and development firm. He specializes in giving tough love to startups and businesses. Learn more at

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store