As builders of technologies, our initial goal is to write software made to scale.
Software is an amazing thing. It is used in many ways but its killer feature is its ability to create connections faster and more efficiently than any other medium. From interpreting the touch of your finger on a glass display, to getting directions to the other side of town, to sharing a photo with your friends. These tasks are all completed at light speed by software and the connections it creates. The question is: What separates lasting technology businesses from fun apps we write on the weekends?
A part of it is writing software made to scale.
What is Scale?
Scale is writing software to create the simplest possible way of connecting people/services for a particular experience and then broadening that same experience to multiple verticals. Let us break this down.
1. Creating the simplest possible way of connecting people/services: Software is eating the world. And its doing so by creating better ways of interacting with all of the unique experiences in our lives. In order to create a better way to doing something, we must first identify something worth doing! This means satisfying a deep need for a category of people. Preferably one that has been around for a long time and will thrive in the future. Then we use current technologies to remove friction and provide greater ease for connections between the people/services on our platform. We do this by bringing actionable items to the front, taking out steps, and highlight connections which in turn create more connections and inherent value. Ultimately creating a simpler, faster, and more light-weight experience than previous solutions.
2. Writing software for a particular experience: Choosing which experience to tackle first is possibly the most challenging problem facing developers today. History shows if we do not get this correct from the onset our product is doomed. But luckily, crafting a new product is just as exciting as it is challenging. There is no magic formula to nailing the initial experience. We need to trust our domain expertise and build for the experience we want for ourselves, i.e. the one highest opportunity cost on our bucket list. Then build foundational software that can be applied to all types of experiences, but for year one, only promote our initial experience. We need to capture the imagination of early adopters in a particular vertical and let them dream up the new and different ways to use this new experience. So, define early adopters, live in their shoes, and make their lives better in one particular experience.
Twitter is an information sharing network made to scale. Its initial experience was group chat but its foundation is information sharing software. They now have an opportunity to handle any information sharing that is important to you (including rich media distribution, real-time experience sharing, and more).
Uber is transportation software made to scale. Its initial experience was a black car service but its foundation is transportation software. They now have an opportunity to handle any transportation request that is important to you (including long distance travel, shipping, buses to school, and more).
Product Hunt is a discovery network made to scale. Its initial experience is consumer tech products but its foundation is discovery software. They now have an opportunity to handle discovery for any product or service that is important to you (including books, video games, clothes, and more).
Medium is a publishing network made to scale. Its initial experience is blogging ideas & stories but its foundation is publishing software. They now have an opportunity to handle publishing for any content that is important to you (including news pieces, rich media profiles/content, journals/resumes/portfolios, and more).
Our side project, Text, is a notification network made to scale. Its initial experience is group chat but its foundation is notification software. We now have an opportunity to handle any notification that is important to you (including game scores, flight alerts, and more).
There is a pattern here.
The foundation of great technology companies is software made to scale.