The Málaga Makers meeting / presentation / Q&A session in Marbella – Malaga Makers on the Move was named as such because it was the first presentation held outside Málaga city. The meetup was outstanding thanks to the organisers, sponsors and the guest speaker David Heinemeier Hansson (DHH) for yet another excellent and thought provoking session.
Many people will not know who DHH is, but in the tech community he is know for the “Ruby on Rails” framework, as a founder of “BaseCamp” project manage software and best selling books co-author with Jason Fried – “Rework: Change the way you work for ever” and “Remote: Office not required”. And did I forget to mention he’s also a class winning Le Mans race car driver?
Whilst I’ve read both Rework and Remote, I am by no means a DHH groupie, but I did enjoy his sometimes blunt but insightful Q&A session and would like to do it again in the not to distant future.
I suspect some of his comments may not have been what the audience was expecting or hoping for, but they were by and large honest and true – Spain is not an easy place to do business.
My main take-away points from the Q&A were:
- Bootstrap your own business. While having investors gives you time to perfect your product, by the nature of having investors the product is no longer yours.
- The chances of your business being bought out by Google, Face Book, etc is low, therefore build a sustainable business for yourself.
- Paying customers will tell you if your product is right, not friends, relatives or investors.
- When you can, pay employees what they are worth. Giving employees stock options in the future is only asking them to bet on your idea/business.
- What’s the ‘minimum viable product’ you can deliver? It’s better to deliver half a product than a half-assed product – do one thing and do it well.
- Research your marketplace, your great product idea may only be great to you.
- Don’t tell clients what you are going to deliver in the future, their interpretation may be different to yours and they might get upset when you don’t deliver.
- Not every product is going to be a success and just because you have been successful in the past, it doesn’t mean you will be successful again.
- It’s easy to start a business, it’s much more difficult to keep a business running.
As a group of techies, investors, visionaries and makers, we should welcome speakers like David Heinemeier Hansson and Joaquin Cuenca Abela, even if we do not always agree with what they have to say, they certainly challenge our thinking.
Background and references:
Málage Makers: founded in June 2014, the group is dedicated to bringing together Techies, Investors, Visionaries and Makers in the Málaga Area. Many thanks to Leo and the crew for starting and pushing it forward. Quantum23 are pleased to be sponsors of the group.
The Distance: Businesses that have endured for at least 25 years.
Signal v Noise: opinions and thoughts on design, business and technology.