On some days, you gotta be a li’l patient

Being a non-technical co-founder of a digital product is a bit of a handicap, especially when your other co-founder doesn’t really fill the void of a guy/gal who knows how to write instructions that a computing device can comprehend. You’re no more than two people with an awesome, world-changing vision on an inspiring, trailblazing mission, and you can only hope that that’s enough to succeed. So you gotta be a li’l patient.

After buying countless pints and coffees for your digital startup-savvy peers

in exchange of some valuable advice on figuring out the best elevator pitch for your idea, your original three-word pitch starts sounding more and more relevant. You assume that a kick-ass elevator pitch would make your otherwise platitudinous pitch-deck, well, kick-ass.

Your rendezvous with angels in London’s best, not to mention exorbitantly overpriced, lunch places reaffirm that your elevator pitch DOES hit where it should. Although it may or may not be enough to make them write a cheque with a magic number on it. Turns out they know your product better than you do. So you gotta be a li’l patient.

Fast-forward a few restless weeks of mulling over the purposefully technical and non-intuitive phrasing of term sheets, you choose to be a bit more free-spirited in the initial stages of your startup. You start focussing on the next steps to bring your product to life.

As someone who’s been a Product Manager for most of their professional career, you put on your UX designer’s hat, a hat which ostensibly most people assume they can put on with ease and their assumption couldn’t be more flawed. And you start making your subscription to Adobe’s creative suite useful, finally.

( ← that’s not me in the photo btw. I, a member of the opposite sex, use a macbook. but i like this picture)

A few rather intense weeknights later, you’ve successfully exhausted all the midnight-jazz playlists on YouTube, and, more importantly, have an invision prototype of your, now antiquated, idea ready. The sheer number of neurons fired over creating the same make you feel that these miniaturised digital images are no less than masterpieces.

To wallow in the short-lived euphoria of the moment, you immediately ask your flatmates for feedback in exchange of some home cooked curry. In addition to saying good things about the prototype, they offer unsolicited advice on what more can be done. You remind them, repetitively (albeit, rather unsuccessfully), that it’s just an MVP and that building competitive advantage can wait until you test the validity of the idea. But you gotta be a li’l patient. (After all, they’ll be the first adopters.)

Your co-founder, whose significance to the startup hitherto has been limited to constant moral support and asking the right questions, couldn’t be happier looking at the prototype and is convinced that you are the right person to co-found this product.

You, on the other hand, apart from reconsidering their place in the company, are now desperately looking for a technical co-founder who shares your amazing vision and, at the same time, is willing to trade commitment for a share of your company. The search, it turns out, is a bit needle-in-a-haystack-ish. But you gotta be a li’l patient.

In the meantime, you’ve also got an MVP to build and the whole CTO <> MVP conundrum starts sounding more and more like a chicken-and-egg situation. After taking some more advice from your digital startup-y peers, whilst you help them user-test their products, you bring peace to your inner self by accepting that MVP and CTO can be mutually exclusive and that the former can plausibly precede the latter.


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