On Friday, we had a first meeting together as a team. There are three of us going in on this. One is the developer who will forever be referred to on this blog as “the Dev”. The other person is someone that worked for me at my last day job; a technical, business savvy, fitness buff we’ll call “the Kid”.
The three of us met for several hours over the weekend, discussing the foundation of the company. I wanted to make sure we all agreed on things like “What is important to the company?” We came up with a list of foundational principles that we all agreed on by the end of the night.
When I first proposed we lay out these principles, the Dev immediately responded with, “That sounds really corporate to me,” wanting to follow an “anti-corporate” approach to what we’re doing. I explained that yes, it was a little bit corporate, but agreeing on some foundational principles will one, make sure we’re all really aligned in what we want to do, and two, give us something to use as a guide, that we all agree on, when decisions need to be made.
He agreed that it might be worth the time, so we proceeded to discuss what principles will guide us through this adventure. These are the principles that we agreed are the most important.
- Building customer trust is the most important thing we do
- Quality is more important than schedule
- Small batch development with a customer feedback loop is key
- Pick and choose pieces of methodologies and frameworks that work for us, but not beholden to any one philosophy
- We trust and respect each other over all else
- Failure is ok with learning
- Fast, automated deployments are critical in the long run
- No project managers
- We use data to make decisions
- Marketing will not get in the way of honesty
We also spent a few hours discussing fitness, how muscles work, and how exercise works. The Dev has no fitness knowledge whatsoever. He’s interested in being healthy, but doesn’t have the experience to know what to do. Things I learned in high school PE and years reading Muscle and Fitness magazine came back to the front of my mind. Aerobic vs. anaerobic exercise, short vs. long twitch muscles, importance of rest – years of reading, studying, and making my own workouts had new value as I was able to draw on these experiences to lay out a vision for a product that will help people organize exercise and know what to do and how to do it. We discussed the technical details, and I built a workout schedule for a week so the Dev could understand the process and all of the variables that need to be considered when building an exercise routine.
We ended the night with some high level technical architecture diagrams that identify the main components our application will need. It was an effective working session, and I’m looking forward to many more.
What are some of the foundational principles you are building into your startup?