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Productivity / Professional development

How to avoid costly technology mistakes

Building a successful software/app product is challenging, and several vital mistakes are shared among those that have been interviewed by Andrew Romeo and Anthony Sapountzis, the DevReady Podcast Co-hosts. Aimed at non-techie businesses owners, DevReady Podcast speaks to startup founders about the struggles, uncertainty and challenges when building their technology from the ground up. All have experienced costly false starts when getting their business ideas off the ground.

Andrew and Anthony are co-founders of Melbourne-based Aerion Technologies, working with local startups who have often made expensive false starts. Last year, they were approached by five different small business owners who had collectively wasted more than 1 million dollars in software development due to poor decisions and bad advice.

This moment sparked the DevReady Podcast, which focuses on interviewing startups who share their startup journey, including all the ups and downs. Andrew and Anthony also talk to a variety of subject matter experts to provide further tips and advice, that when taken onboard can change the outcome of our business.

Throughout the podcast, they have discovered some great insights and one guiding principle: Always focus on your customer. If you focus on their needs and outcomes, then you will build a product that will deliver value, be used and provide a return on your investment. 

Find yourself an expert

Without a technical background, it can be challenging to start building your software/app. It’s best to have a technical co-founder or the right technical advisor early in your journey. Without this guidance, you will face challenges working with the development team and run the risk of miscommunication and ultimately wasting money on building the wrong software. 

Don’t put the cart before the horse 

Don’t jump into a startup with a plan to build your software or app on day one. You need to invest the time to validate your idea with your target audience. Before your software is built, you should be able to sell it. If you can do this, then you begin validating your idea and getting feedback from your target users immediately. There is nothing worse than building your product before getting feedback that forces you to scrap what you have invested in and begin rebuilding. Get feedback early and tailor your product to the user to get maximum ROI on your investment. 

You get what you pay for

We all know that when beginning your startup journey, you need to get the most out of every dollar you spend. This doesn’t mean you should pick the cheapest developer. We haven’t heard of a success story that begins with finding the cheapest developer. People underestimate how much effort is involved in building good software. It’s essential to use a team that can understand your needs, your outcomes and can deliver upon them. The cheapest developers generally say yes to everything and struggle to understand your goals and requirements; this, in turn, results in the wrong software being built. 

Nothing’s ever perfect, but things can be just right

The last insight is that software is never perfect. You can spend weeks and months tweaking and adjusting things; this delays your release. The constant tweaking and fiddling can sometimes result in you never getting it into the hands of your users. You need to release early and iterate. This quote from Reid Hastings, the Linkedin Founder, says it all “If you aren’t embarrassed by the first version of your product, you shipped too late.”

Building software is not a simple task, and making a wrong decision can cost you weeks or months of development time costing you thousands with little return. The above insights are taken from the mistakes made by guests of the DevReady Podcast. Their learnings will help you make the right decisions which will save you both time and money, allowing you to build the right software the first time around.

How will you approach your project now? 

This post was written by Anthony Sapountzis, founder of Aerion Technologies

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