The incredible amount of time that goes into building a product

You shouldn’t underestimate all the times that goes into building a product even if a small one

It’s incredible: building a product is an exhausting task! That’s definitely something that should be automated (hint for wannabe entrepreneur (this is me too!), this is product validation!). Building a product, even a small software product, is something that takes a lot of time and energy. Why?

Well, this is my “work-in-progress” list (a list, not a checklist) for web development:

Work-in-progress list

  • start thinking about the idea
  • start thinking about the solution
  • ok, now design the solution
  • great now implement the solution!
    • write all the necessary code
    • test those new services that could save you time and that you didn’t know before and now you want to use
    • integrate “new tech stuffs” with your project (often you want to include something new and sometimes it involves doing things with languages where you don’t have a lot of experience)
  • buy a domain name (ok, try to find one .com free domain name and let me know your average time)
  • provide server infrastructure
    • select instances (DigitalOcean, Amazon, Google)
    • install required software (9 out of 10 a kind of db, SQL or NoSql it doesn’t matter, you usually have to do it)
    • configure the machine and pray The Lords of Security (offer sacrifice to them hoping nobody want to destroy your simple environment since you are an experienced developer, not a sysadmin or security expert)
  • create a site…yes, wordpress is super easy but it still requires
    • installing it and configuring it (add it to a db that if not already installed, must be added)
    • select a theme
    • select often needed plugins (spent time reading docs)
  • setup email stuffs (account, and software configurations to manage them)
  • content creation
    • create pages: write texts
    • review the texts
    • still review the content
    • search or produce graphics (wowowow so much time just to search, scale and minimally edit a picture? Well yes, obviously, you are an experienced developer not a creative graphic)
  • let the world knows you exist!
    • search forums, reddits, communities, platforms where you can self promote and publish
    • note that you should have already done customer research and development, something i usually don’t do :(

Obviously i’ve mixed a lot of things here that aren’t exactly technicals but that are fundamental when building a product. And surely, i’ve forgot to add a lot of others.
If you consider them it seems quite obvious that those require a tremendous amount of time.

I’m always shocked and a little bit puzzled when i read articles of people that says something like “I’ve launched a startup in a week”. A few days ago i found an article where the author stated “I’ve launched a startup in a day” and the authors said he has streamed everything on Twitch…

…in one day??? WTF!!!

Ok, maybe in a day he skipped all the “marketing” stuffs and the product should have been very simple and surely he must have already known exactly what to develop and the technology stack to use, but a day (not a 8 hours working day, he said a full 24 hours day if i’m not wrong) it’s just incredible.

I am a java software developer and even the process of building a simple project like AMZTOSHEET (not ready, well 99%, really, i could have completed it today but had to write this article to vent the frustration for the long time required and to make some content marketing :D) is requiring a good amount of time since, obviously ( :D ) i wanted to use a different tech stack that should alleviate me a lot of pain, at least for the infrastructure aspect, that required me to spend time to learn.
So, surely there is a lot of room for “optimization” when you already know all the technology stack but there is an incredible amount of work to be done anyway!

Alberto Plebani Written by:

Alberto Plebani is an italian software engineer currently working as a freelance developer. Happy father, happy bushcrafter!

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