The Portable CTO
Startups · Technology · Leadership
At the beginning of 2020, we hired our third engineer and I’ve had to back out of much day-to-day engineering and fill the role of Product Manager. I've really enjoyed learning this new field while simultaneously trying to keep a hold on my technical roots, but I won't lie; it's a challenge.
Like most startups, when we were launching the product, our process was very simple. We (myself and the founders) could sit at a table each week and decide what we wanted to ship. By the end of the week, I would ship it. 🙌
In 2018, we hired a second full-time engineer, and we had hundreds of paying customers, so we had to be more disciplined about what we spent time on. We had to actually tell people when we released things, and we had to communicate those releases to the 8 other people on the team. 🗣
While we aren't that much bigger in terms of headcount now, our revenue has grown so the stakes keep getting higher if we ship broken or misunderstood features. We also have a lot of code to maintain, and a lot of conditional pathways for every use-case of our product. Complexity is real, and means we need to think about things more before we do them. 🧭
Read more about how our product management process has evolved at The Graide Network in the past four years on my blog.
Airtable has quickly become my favorite tool for storing data or creating custom workflows of any kind. Each Airtable comes with its own API, so you can hack apps together with it or connect Airtable to other apps using Zapier. Check out their 'inspiration' page for many more creative uses.
"You need to help management understand the impact of bad code quality on the business. What matters to the company is generating money. Profitability...Therefore, you should learn to speak the business language if you want to make a case for refactoring."
"The more tools and code that you add to create elements in a system, the harder it is to replicate an environment encompassing those tools and code."
"When your marketplace is just getting started, and you have neither supply nor demand, it’s challenging to get the flywheel going. You must convince one side of the marketplace to commit before the other side."
"I was terrified - not about presenting in public, but specifically about speaking to a room full of engineers who knew a lot more about software and organizations than I did."
Start with an idea; end up with a skeleton of a web app. I could see this being really useful for devs who start a lot of new projects.
"Autocode generates code for you by providing autocompletion for your favorite APIs. Information is retrieved automatically from the Standard Library API registry."
I got some really good feedback on my question about obscuring resource IDs. If you're not using UUIDs or something similar, check this out.
If you want to start speaking, submitting abstracts can be one of the most intimidating parts.
"Perfectly healthy groups with solid, well-adjusted IT pros can and will devolve, slowly and quietly, into the behaviors that give rise to the stereotypes, given the right set of conditions."
"Gartner forecasts that low-code application platforms will account for 65 percent of all app development by 2024."
Personal Updates
I hired a freelance writer to help me keep content going on CFP Land even when I'm busy, and it was an interesting experience. My takeaway: Don't hire based on price alone.
Karl Hughes
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