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Andy’s 10 Rules for Tech Businesses

I've been collecting these for years. The scars and triumphs of experience. Thought I'd share...

#1 // Always get 5% better

Revolutionary leaps happen from constant evolutionary pressure. Getting 100% better overnight is often impossible, but getting 5% better every day, week, month and year will lead to radical progress.

#2 // Users can be idiots – but we love them anyway

Users will always do what you don’t expect them to. They’ll click where you don’t want them to click. They’ll struggle with everything you think is simple – and breeze through everything you think is complicated. They'll have the system configuration or set of IT policies that you'v never encountered before. Remember, you’re building systems for THEM. They will always follow the path of least resistance. And without them, you don't have a product.

#3 // Get shit done

What gets done, deployed or delivered to a customer is infinitely more important than the process you took to get there. Outcome trumps effort, every time.

#4 // Be more transparent than you need to be

This rule applies to leading a team, dealing with customers, handling a problem or just creating experiences for users – in fact it just applies to life. There are very few instances where hiding something from someone results in a better outcome than declaring it, saying what you’re going to do to fix it – and then fixing it. People like truth, despite evidence on social media to the contrary!

#5 // Fail fast

The best way to learn is to fail. Don’t be scared to fail. And when you fail, fail quickly – no one likes a slow tortured death. Iteration will always trump innovation.

#6 // Do better than 1/9/90

Typically, in a digital ecosystem: 90% of Users will lurk/consume, 9% will contribute in a small way and 1% will create original content or “convert” (do what you want them to do). If you can do better than that, you’re on the right path.

#7 // Beware the Law of Unintended Consequences

Change one thing in a product or a business and you’ll affect another. Always be aware of the chain of dependencies – but don’t let it drown you. Magical ideas often cause necessary disruption to old entrenched features or ways of thinking.

#8 // There is no shallow end

The world moves at such a pace that often it’s best just to dive in. Making mistakes = gaining experience. Just don't make the same ones twice.

#9 // Make it work. Make it right. Make it fast.

Too many people only "make it work". The more you focus on just making things work, the more technical and business “debt” you incur – and the harder the future becomes. Alternatively, being a perfectionist too early on in the process often means you miss the market.

#10 // F!@#ing customers!

They’re slower than you (because they have different priorities). They're bureaucratic, intensely frustrating, will cancel meetings on you at will and often aren’t properly incentivised to execute what you’re selling them... But you aren't a business without customers. Get the relationship right. Be a breath of fresh air to your customers - working with you should not feel like work. Discover the nuance between what they need, what they want and what actually got briefed.


Disclaimer: Many of these have been copied, pilfered and adapted. I claim no copyright!

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