Constraints harness Innovation and Quality

The first priority of many startups is acquiring funding from investors. But remember, if you turn to outsiders for funding, you’ll have to answer to them too. Expectations are raised. Investors want their money back — and quickly. The sad fact is cashing in often begins to trump building a quality product.

These days it doesn’t take much to get rolling. Hardware is cheap and plenty of great infrastructure software is open source and free. And passion doesn’t come with a price tag.

So do what you can with the cash on hand. Think hard and determine what’s really essential and what you can do without. What can you do with three people instead of ten? What can you do with 2000 Rs. instead of 100000 Rs.? What can you do in three months instead of six? What can you do if you keep your day job and build your app on the side?

Run on limited resources and you’ll be forced to reckon with constraints earlier and more intensely. And that’s a good thing. Constraints drive innovation.

Constraints also force you to get your idea out in the wild sooner rather than later — another good thing. A month or two out of the gates you should have a pretty good idea of whether you’re onto something or not. If you are, you’ll be self-sustainable shortly and won’t need external cash. If your idea’s a lemon, it’s time to go back to the drawing board. At least you know now as opposed to months (or years) down the road. And at least you can back out easily. Exit plans get a lot trickier once investors are involved.

If you’re creating software just to make a quick money, it will show. Truth is a quick payout is pretty unlikely. So focus on building a quality tool that you and your customers can live with for a long time.


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