A dream team setup to launch a digital product or start a startup and what it needs to fulfill.

No matter, if digital or not, it is people that stand behind every business. For most of the entrepreneurs with some previous founder-experience, it is pretty obvious that co-founders should bring in complementary skills so that the combination of these can assure the success of the future venture. Founding and running a new venture or product means planning, executing, and controlling thousands of different daily operations in the fields of finance, product development, marketing, sales, HR, quality assurance, logistics, administrative, and so on and so forth.

When it comes to launching a digital product or service, or founding a startup, there is a proven team set of the so-called “3H” which covers all of the fundamental tasks which are needed at the very beginning of the founding process. But, before we proceed to the team set itself, let’s define what are these tasks first.

Defining a problem and a solution hypothesis.
Every startup or a new digital product, service, or business model is a hypothesis of a solution to a particular problem of a particular group of people (your target audience). If you cannot clearly define the problem you are solving and for who you are solving it for, there is no sense to start doing anything else.

Understanding the possible business model.
After you have identified the problem and have a possible solution to it, it is important to have an assumption (or better a couple of them) of how you want to make money. There are tens (if not hundreds) of different business models you can find on the internet, which depend on the idea, company, industry etc.

Validation is the most important task when launching an innovative product or service and will happen again and again throughout your entrepreneurial journey. If your idea is really unique, it means everything around it are only hypotheses and assumptions and there is no guarantee that anyone else except you, your wife, and your mother find your idea as great as you do (whereas there is a very high chance your wife and mother are only cheering you up) and moreover would be willing to pay for it. So, you need to present your idea as fast as possible to as many representatives of your target audience as possible, summarize the results in an according way, and react to their feedback. Very high likely, that you will discover that the problem you want to solve doesn’t really exist, or that your solution doesn’t really solve it, or that no-one would be ready to pay for it.

Build — Validate — Repeat.
After you have proven that the problem is real and your target group is willing to pay for the solution you offer, it is time to gradually build your product, test it with friendly users, react to their feedback and repeat this loop again and again until you move from a prototype to an MVP and further, step by step, to a scalable product which will hopefully find its product-market-fit.

During the continuous process of product development, three main areas always need to be addressed — desirability, feasibility, and viability.

Building a product people really want to use is one of the toughest challenges. Intuitive and easy-to-use user experience, beautiful design, technical performance, the responsiveness of the application, and adjustability of the content according to the device you are using are one of the few factors which impact the desirability of the product.

Feasibility implies that the current state of technology and the tech which is actually being used to build the product can actually build it, ensure its scalability, and most importantly, resolve the problem of the end-user.

The viability of the product, service, or business model means that there is a financial sense behind it, it can sustain itself and grow further, and thus, you actually can make money out of it.

Now, having analyzed the basic steps which have to be done when launching a new digital product or founding a tech startup, as well as defined what main criteria such product or startup should meet, we can talk about a dream team setup in order to fulfill the above mentioned. In Silicon Valley, this perfect team setup is known as “3H” which stands for the roles of a hipster, a hacker, and a hustler.

The Hipster
This person has a year-long experience and profound expertise in user interface and user experience design, and uses his/her magnificent sense of beauty, as well as inborn talents to draw, in order to design the most wonderful, intuitive, and easy-to-use digital products. In early-stage ventures, this person usually also takes over the responsibility for marketing, branding, and communications, since the skills and talents which he/she brings in suit the most for these areas. The role of a hipster is extremely important since beautiful design and exceptional user experience are the factors that significantly impact the desirability of the product. In many companies, this role will be called Chief Product Designer or Chief Design Officer.

The Hacker
In order to build a robust, stable, and scalable digital product, which meets the technical and business requirements, you need to design a great software architecture of your future product, analyze which technologies, frameworks, and open-source solutions can be used and suit the most. For this, you need an experienced full-stack software developer with scalability experience as well as strong DevOps knowledge, which is described as a hacker. He/she ensures that a product will be feasible. The hacker role is officially the Chief Technology Officer role.

The Hustler
Launching an innovative product or founding a startup is mostly led by a true visionary who challenges the status quo of particular processes or even industries. This person is ready to undertake the risks of failure and believes in the success of the idea, so much that he/she is able to convince family and friends, early adopters, potential customers, future co-founders (ideally the above-mentioned hipster and hacker), collaboration partners and investors in the success of the future venture. This person is responsible for setting up the company’s strategy, motivating the team, business development and sales, financials, and basically many other areas. In most companies, the biggest hustler is the Chief Executive Officer.

Just to make it clear, having these roles doesn’t automatically ensure that your idea will become the next unicorn-startup — most of the startups fail and there are thousands of reasons for that. At the same time, every idea, project, product, or business is a creation of people who stand behind it. Having a team of the same values and, in addition, complementary skills — is a strong basis for the success of the future venture. I will continue to share my thoughts, knowledge, and experience in the next articles.

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