<aside> 💡 Most founders think they can turn their idea into reality by simply hiring a software developer, but in reality there is much more to it.


Don't start with developers

There's a story behind "Undeveloper" as a company name. Some time around 2010 I was doing the circuits on London's startup scene, attending meet-ups and generally networking. At the time, I was looking to sink my teeth into a startup project as a founder and thought that a reasonable approach would be to hang out with other like-minded people and see what connections I could make. I found myself going to a lot of co-founder "speed dating" events, and the like.

It wasn't a wholly bad idea — I ended up meeting some great people and am still connected with a few — but what I found, much to my surprise, was that the conversations almost always took a particular form:

  1. An "Entrepreneur" has an Idea (henceforth to be known as THE Idea)
  2. The Idea is Killer (natch), and also usually top secret (or, more theatrically: Under the Radar)
  3. The only missing piece of the puzzle is a Developer, who will do something special (presumably "Development", whatever the hell that is) to magically transmute The Idea from purest hot air into The Next Facebook (or similar. Sometimes "The Uber of..." or "Tinder for...". You get the picture.)

It's worth mentioning at this point that even the comparatively naïve me of 2010 knew that most of these folks were a few steps short of a business plan, to coin a phrase. Speaking of which, my first questions (and, as it happens, these are the same questions I ask founders today) were:

  1. What about product management?
  2. What's the business model?

I ask them in that order because, frankly, I'm a soft touch and like to hear people out, and not having a business model is basically a conversation killer if you're trying to pitch your idea to me (although that said, there are several answers to the first question which — to me at least — have a similarly chilling effect!)

Seriously though (and if you don't believe me, the popular startup literature is replete with this [1][2][3], etc.), an idea by itself is almost entirely worthless!

If you've thought of it, chances are so have literally hundreds, perhaps thousands of other people. Some of those people will be much better positioned than you at executing on it too.

At this point, I'm going to make what is perhaps an excessively sweeping statement:

<aside> 🤦 To hire software developers to start building your idea without any validation, plan or product management is probably the single quickest way to blow whatever startup capital you have and sink your idea.