Category: startups

Total 3 Posts – Testing for a startup?

The following is my response to a question on the now defunct The question was "Testing for start-up?" and my answer:

I have worked with startups for most of my career. Considering the clarification that you added to the question, it is a difficult question to answer in the abstract. A lot will depend on the team that exists today and a realistic understanding of the upcoming hiring plans.

First, consider that in a startup most people will need to wear multiple hats at different points in the early stages of the company. While the person’s primary responsibility is testing, consider what else they can do. I would lean towards a professional tester who can help with things like working with beta testers, working with interns, perform system administration tasks on the test systems, etc. It will depend on what skill set already exist within the team.

Second, consider costs – not just the salary of the person you are hiring but what items the person may expect to be in place. I made a hiring mistake at one of my first startups where the person I hired as our primary tester was so wedded to the tool set from his last company (a tool set that the company could not afford), that this person spent as much time trying to justify buying the tool as working on the product. This is probably less of an issue today with so many open source tools but keep it in mind.

Third – laying a foundation. The hire must realize that not only are they coming in to test but they are laying the foundation for how the company will approach testing for a long time. This person will help define the relationship between testing and the other groups. For this reason alone, I would lean away from part time testers or beta test volunteers. They will not be able to lay that foundation.

I would hire a professional tester. This does not exclude the development team from taking an active role in testing. The hire should encourage it.


TED – Embrace the Irrational and the Childish

ReadWrite Web had a post entitled "10 Inspiring TED Talks for Startups" on July 13, 2010. This series of posts are my notes from those videos.

Adora Svitak
February 2010
(8 min, 13 secs)

An inspiring talk by a young lady and author from Redmond, WA when she was 11 years old.

  • When was the last time you were called childish?
  • Childish => Irrational thinking. Maybe that is what the world needs.
  • A knowledge of history often puts a hamper on irrational thinking, limiting imagination
  • Adults should start learning from kids. Students should teach teachers. Learning should be reciprocal. It doesn’t happen because of a lack of trust.
  • Adults underestimate the abilities of children.
  • Unfortunately, kids become adults just like the ones they are exposed to. We need to create opportunities for kids to become better adults than the adults of today.
  • Kids need opportunities to lead and succeed.

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TED – How great leaders inspire action

ReadWrite Web had a post entitled "10 Inspiring TED Talks for Startups" on July 13, 2010. This series of posts are my notes from those videos.

Simon Sinek
September 2009
(18 min, 5 secs)

Why are some companies so more innovative than others? Why did certain historical figures achieve items and others did not?

Golden Circle
Inner – why (why do something, why something exists)
Middle – how (some know how they do it…)
Outer – what (everyone knows what they do…)

Inspired people and organizations work from the inside out.

These rings actually map with areas of our brain and how we think and feel.

If your staff believes in the dream they will work with their heads and hearts. Otherwise, they will only work for a paycheck. People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

Law of Diffusion Innovation
2.5% – Innovators
13.5% – Early Adopters
34% – Early Majority
34% – Late Majority
16% – Laggards

Need to achieve 15% mind share before tipping to success. (Crossing the Chasm)

Example of Failure: Tivo – technology advanced, well funded, name is a verb, commercial failure. They told us what they had only vs. why they have it.

Example of Success: Dr. King’s March on Washington. How was is coordinated? People took what he believed and told others to all show up. Why did they do it? For what they believe – not just to hear Dr. King speak.

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