Are you a technical founder embarking on your new startup?
As co-founder & CTO at Stacked, and previously two-time founding engineer, I’m reflecting back on a startup’s first year in the R&D trenches.
These are 4 key decisions that will help you iterate fast, and pivot smoothly when needed:
A common advice is to use the tools you already know. But there are ones you should invest in, even if you’ve never set them up before.
A linter, prettier, log monitoring and an easy deployment flow to get started.
Additionally, if your stack is Node/JS/TS, try out WallabyJs.
I love it. It runs your tests immediately as you type.
And if you’re building a web product, invest in learning Tailwind.
It’s a game changer.
This will be controversial but hear me out. It’s true that typing and testing takes time, and that your products will evolve.
But as a founder you will constantly switch contexts between engineering & business. Strong types and tests will serve as “checkpoints” to ease the transition every time.
At Stacked, we started with Typescript from the get go, and for testing, we only focus on the core of our product.
I also became a huge fan of PollyJS (by Netflix) to test and develop against the few essential external APIs we use.
Avoid the “Not invented here” syndrome, where as engineers we only trust products developed in-house.
Focus on developing what makes your product unique.
For example, at Stacked we used:
As engineers, it’s easy to get caught up in complex systems. Microservices, full-scalable solutions, you name it.
Stop! As the technical co-founder of an early-stage startup, your goal is to make the business work.
Embrace the YAGNI principle (You Aren’t Gonna Need It) and don’t worry about scalability or extensibility yet.
Making a few key decisions early on will have a huge impact down the line. And the right balance between speed, and strong foundations will serve you even as your team grows.
What other recommendations and key decisions should technical co-founders consider?