Being the product developers for Staytuned is no easy labor, we had to adapt really fast to changes and hear questions like “How hard is it for you to write an Operating System?” But it is an experience every developer in the world NEEDS to have.
While it is a hard experience in which you will face a lot of challenges, it is also an opportunity to create your own product and most likely make some awesome friends.
So, after this killer introduction let’s cut to the chase and list the challenges and how to deal with them.
Take this advice for life in general; but for startup world, whining and complaining people are the most annoying thing to have in your team. Thankfully at Staytuned we didn’t have to deal with this, but we saw some of this drama at Plug And Play Tech Center. Its okay to fight and having issues, but learn to understand when you are wrong, and think about the product, not about your broken ego (boo-hoo).
LISTEN TO IDEAS
As cliché as it might sound this is the truest statement I learned. The guys would just sit for hours and hours spitting ideas and ideas, hoping for us to make them work on matters of seconds. Obviously we somewhat hated it, but we do know it would’ve been impossible to get such an awesome product working without these guys! But it is not all about listening, if you just sit there and listen to what people want you to do, YOU ARE NOT DOING IT CORRECTLY and should go get a corporate job! You have to pitch your ideas to the other team members and fight for it, that is what will give you an amazing product.
Surely, everybody knows developers don’t get their 8 hours sleep like normal people, but if you plan to join a startup you must be ready for 3 hour or less sleep sessions before returning to the code. Not even Tank (Go watch your Matrix movie) has seen as much code as we have seen in late hours. You will get to hate your partners when they wake you up to continue working, but it is all worth it. Why? Don’t ask you will get to this parte pretty soon. Just try to stay away from caffeine, taurine, sugar and all of those keep-me-up products, only use them if you really, and I mean REALLY need them. Take sleep turns, read about Napoleons sleep habits and plan ahead.
LOVE/HATE YOUR CODE
You will be writing lines and lines of code, and you will be proud and you will destroy it faster than you debug it! You have to learn how to forget man! Let the code go for some better code will take its place. Sounds like relationship advice but it is. When I firs came to Staytuned I found a marvelous semi functional product which made me so happy and which took us about one week to completely destroy and create another different product. We created all kinds of cool features, which; guess it, we destroyed. But with each round of ideas, we would get closer and closer to what we wanted, the best version of our app by building some of the features into it and leaving some out. Be ready to pivot!
FEEDBACK, OH DEAR
Last but not least, think about what a customer’s feedback is and make it 10x worse. The guys from who you get feedback are not only testing your app, they are also helping improve it; so they don’t have as much time as we would like to write a proper feedback slate. Expect comments like “Please make this faster”, “App crashes, fix it”, “DELETE ALL BUGS”, “I don’t get why Facebook does this so easily” and so on… Bear a little patience to your favorite guys, the UI and the Business guys. They only want the best for the product and most of the time they just don’t know how to talk to us.
At the end of the day, you will feel a great satisfaction knowing that you are doing things differently; that you are not “Jack’s complete lack of surprise” (now this is Fight Club) and you are doing things in a different way. Make friends, not connections. Have fun and enjoy doing what you like the most. If you don’t like developing software, quick learning and unplanned product development please stay away from this awesome experience.
by Alan Faz