Archive for October, 2012

Where to Find Femgineers

My boyfriend, who's an engineer, and his CEO are part of a prominent Silicon Valley startup that are currently as they say "killing it!"  They've managed to become pretty successful in the past year through bootstrapping their business.  As a result, of their growth they are looking to hire more developers, and in particular they want to hire more women, because they fundamentally believe that a diverse workplace will lead to a better company.  What's funny though is that these bright ... Read more

My Deep Dive into the World of Front-end Development

By Frances Advincula When I was young, I wanted to be a fashion designer. But then I grew up and realized I actually have to be able to eat food and pay rent, so I became a software engineer instead. Fast forward a few years, and here I was, I thought, forever un-creative in that sense (I, too, rally that programming is in fact, an art. So that sense.)  Until now.  I'm not really sure what happened, but it seems like all of ... Read more

#1 Reason YOU Should Build a Product

I'm not sure they why the call it software, it's so damn hard to build.  In fact I'm convinced the only reason they call it software is because hardware is harder to build :D  So maybe this great marketing tactic is what draws people into building software, and the number of those who are building is certainly growing.  While I've been building software for 8 years, 6 in startup land, I've noticed a definite trend in the past 2 years, which ... Read more

2 Reasons Minimum Viable Products Fail

Everyone wants to start validating the idea for their startup by creating an MVP (minimum viable product), but very few people get it right because they overcomplicate the process of picking features that go into the MVP.  I think there are 2 reasons MVPs fail: You haven't figured out how to provide a simple value proposition that differentiates your product from your competition. You haven't identified who the early adopter for the product is. Lets start with the first reason.  Before you build anything you ... Read more

Want to Do Less but Craving More?

When I was in college I worked 12+ hour 7 days a week: double majoring and holding down 2 TA positions, hey Duke ain't cheap! After I graduated I actually spent a year just working a 40 hour a week job, and after that year got bored. So I went back to 7 days a week piling on a part time Masters. So from 18 to 24 I was working 7 days a week. How did I feel? Like I was ... Read more

3 Reasons You Need a Product Roadmap

The lean startup movement  has been great about touting how you should "fail often" and "fail fast", do  market research with landing pages and by buying AdWords to see if there is interest, I know it goes into more depth than that.  But too many of its followers are taking it for face value and focusing on validating their idea by seeing quick adoption rather than rigorous periods of building, testing, and refining or iterating.  The truth is that not every ... Read more

The Silent Salesman

I recently had the unique opportunity of meeting Ian Myles, who has done extensive work designing software and hardware products.  He was leading a discussion amongst startup CEOs regarding the importance of user experience.  No one will contest that user experience is important, but Ian took it a step further, and said its not just about making pretty apps.  The reason user experience is important is because two products being equal in terms of functionality is when: "Design becomes the silent salesman." I thought ... Read more

Book Review: Clean Code

By Frances Advincula As promised, I started reading the book Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship by Robert C. Martin on my flight to Colorado,  which is hilarious because I read most of the book already before I read the introduction, and it said, “Be prepared to work hard while reading this book. This is not a ‘feel good’ book that you can read on an airplane and finish before you land.” Talk about timing, yeah? (A disclaimer: It has been ... Read more

Optimizing Outsourcing

I get asked by a number of founders how I feel about outsourcing or offshoring development. Call it what you like I have never liked development that isn't done in house, and I don't advocate it for startups because I think it sets a bad precedence. You want to start building a team that is invested in your startup's success, and the best way is to breed talent in house that gains the knowledge base and war scars from working with ... Read more