Tech Startup Learnings: Focus and Development Priorities

At any tech startup, product ideas are free flowing. The grand vision is always huge. Development & design resources are hard to come by. What are the next 3 features to build? In what order? Fix bugs or build new features and punt the bugs until enough users scream that you have to address it?

Development resources are a delicate balance, particularly early on. I thought product priorities was hard when I worked at Zillow and we had 10-15 engineers fairly early on. Now, we’re building an entire site with 1 engineer and 1 designer, so priorities and focusing on the right features is beyond critical.

My general advice?

Focus on the features needed to nail very specific user scenarios of your initial target audience. In some cases, prioritizing strategic features or custom work for specific potential influential users, clients, partners, or investors ahead of mass user features is the right decision. Don’t spend development resources on features that don’t add huge value but at hugely time consuming from a development perspective. Lastly, trust your gut.

How do you prioritize?

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Drew Meyers

Drew Meyers is the co-founder of Horizon & Oh Hey World. He worked for Zillow from September of 2005 to January of 2010 on the marketing team managing Zillow’s API program and various online partnerships. Founder of Geek Estate Blog, a multi-author blog focused on real estate technology for real estate professionals, and, a blog devoted to exploring the world of microfinance. As passionate as you get about travel.

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