Exactly one year ago, we incorporated Union Code. At the time, there was no master plan. We simply knew that our next step was to venture out on our own. While we didn't know what we would do, we did know who we would do it with. It's the people that matter most.
We started by working on small consulting projects
For a software company, consulting work can be a trap. We've had numerous mentors warn us about it. With domain expertise and great clients, consulting can be rewarding with high revenue and low risk. It's no surprise that it's easy to become comfortable and allow your company to settle down as a consultancy.
We used consulting to validate the relationship of Union Code's founders. We've been friends for years and even worked together, but we haven't run a business together. By taking on a few small consulting projects, we tested risks such as agreeing on pricing, features, responsibility, and communication. We validated our founders relationship and made our first revenue by using consulting to our advantage.
We're now in the business of customer discovery
We strongly believe that most startups fail because they build something that no one wants to buy. Despite amazing technology, a modern workflow, and beautiful design. The product fails to identify a market, problem, and customers. It's a fine line between a nice-to-have and must-have solution to a problem.
The greatest risk—and hence the greatest cause of failure—in startups is not in the development of the new product but in the development of customers and markets.
-- Steve Blank, The Four Steps to the Epiphany
We've learned that customers are a significant member of our team. In software, we need to work with our customers everyday and they heavily influence the direction and revenue of our products. Similar to other teammates, we're choosing our customers carefully because we plan to work with them for a long time.
We're excited for the year ahead!
Truthfully, we still have no idea what product we want to make, but that's okay. Everyday, we're getting better at discovering potential customers with real problems that must be solved. While the process can feel slow in comparison to development and design, we know that carefully identifying our customers will be one of the greatest investments for Union Code.
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