MAR 04

The 3 Tech Startup Lessons You Need to Learn (From A Mark Cuban-backed CEO)

Written by Jesse Stauffer, Co-Founder and CEO of XpireSee Jesse and Xpire at the first Tech in Motion Dallas event on March 9th. 

Lots of people have ideas. Mention you’re an app developer and you’ll be instantly bombarded with tons of far-fetched visions for apps. The problem is that most people don’t have the passion to actually turn their idea into a product. Being a developer, I have always been able to think of a cool idea, sketch it out, and then build a beta version of the app in anywhere from three days to six months. This allows me to jump on ideas quickly and get a working version into the hands of my family, friends, and co-workers.

Obviously, not everyone has the technical chops to code an app. I’ve spent over six years learning programming — sometimes coding for up to 18 hours a day. You don’t have to be a code guru to be in tech. Many of the greatest tech innovators of our day were not technical guys. Instead, they were visionaries who knew exactly what they wanted their product to be and how to get there. The key to running a startup is to be scrappy. If you really truly want an idea to see the light of day, then you will do whatever it takes. You’ll wake up early and go to bed late and you’ll meet the right people. You’ll sacrifice time and energy and effort and money. Do one thing every day that pushes your idea to the next level and closer to the starting line, and these three tips will help guide your tech startup to success.

Not a tech person but need one for your startup? Contact your city rep to help you find a developer.

1.     Fail Quickly

The only way to know if your product has any hope of being successful is by getting it into the hands of consumers. Many companies spend years developing software and testing it exhaustively, often delaying their launch further and further. You don’t have to get it right on the first try.

fail quickly xpire

Of course you don’t want to develop an app that constantly crashes, but you also don’t want to build every feature you can think of in version 1. Stay focused on 1–3 key features for your app and make them minimal. The goal here is to create a working version of your app that demonstrates the general purpose of your app. This is very helpful when sharing the app idea with investors or future business partners. By showing a working version of the app you are showing that you are invested in the idea and really mean business.

Also, don’t take months to update your app. Listen to user feedback, build it, launch it, and repeat it.


2.     Success Doesn’t Happen Overnight

Many people read articles about startups that seem to take the world by storm overnight and don’t see why they can’t do the same. While there are a few that have done this, the majority of companies take years and years to build. When I launched my first app, I woke up the next day disappointed after seeing the small amount of downloads that I had received. I was under the assumption that as long as you grind through the tough development work, after that you were golden.

I was wrong. Because of the large amount of apps on the market, it’s hard work to get downloads. Because people have short attention spans, it’s even harder to retain users. While app growth takes time, it also takes work. Some people think that if they just wait a year then they will check back in and magically have millions of organic users.

success doesn't happen overnight (xpire)

This is not the case. Because the majority of people have never even heard of your app, your job is to locate your target customers and sell them on your product. You have to continue to grind. Never stop selling.


3.     Keep on Keeping On

Though running a startup is hard work, it is highly rewarding – but not in the way you may think. Lots of people start their own company because they are money hungry. They want to drive cool cars and set their own hours — who wouldn’t?

Want a job where you can set your own hours? Here are some open tech jobs with flex hours.

It takes true passion and dedication to what you are doing. You won’t be able to last through the bumps on the road if you are not motivated by your product making the world a better place. It sounds cliché, but in the end that’s why most products and inventions are created. The human race tends to look at the results without looking at the work put in. People will be sure to notice the good things, but will easily overlook the late nights you spent in front of the computer screen in your parent’s basement banging your head against the keyboard because of an unknown bug.

keep on keeping on

Even if you’re in a dip, continue pressing on and building what you believe in and what people find useful.

Jesse will be showing off what Xpire has been up to at the Tech in Motion "New to Dallas Demos & Drinks" event on March 9th from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Dallas Entrepreneur Center. RSVP and see all the companies here.

Related articles for great startup advice:

jesse xpire headshotAbout the Author:

Jesse Stauffer is the CEO of Mark Cuban-backed Xpire, where he builds mobile tools that make social networking quicker, easier, and less permanent. Prior to Xpire, he worked as a white hat hacker, discovering and patching vulnerabilities in websites. Jesse is a recent graduate from the University of North Texas, where he received his Bachelor's of Science in Computer Science.

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