This blog post is the first by Gordon Marsh, founder of CodeFuse. Every month we will feature a new blog post from Gordon on his journey establishing his automation company CodeFuse.
This series of blogs focuses on the experiences and business challenges of establishing a start-up company. The series is based around my own test automation company, CodeFuse.
The blog articles are aimed at those thinking of taking the leap into the world of start-ups, and those who have recently made that leap. They describe our experiences and what we have learned from them. I’ve divided the series into the following sections:
- Part One: Making Test Automation Simple and Convenient in the Cloud
- Part Two: Understand Who Your Customer Is and the Route to Market
- Part Three: Prioritise your Time – Three Core Company Areas
- Part Four: Finding Help for Your Business
- Part Five: Understand the Difference Between Marketing and Sales
- Part Six: Building a product
These sections are not meant to combine to be a comprehensive overview of creating a business. They are more a list of areas which have provided me with my steepest learning curves. Probably my background as an IT professional will be similar to many of yours. Hopefully the lessons I have learned will be of value to you.
As software testing professionals learning by experimentation is vital. It’s surprising that it took so long for exploratory testing to be recognised as a more valuable tool than scripted tests. There’s more experimentation, more learning and better information to report back.
Experimentation, failure and learning are evident in a human virtually from birth. I have two wonderful children who love to test the water (and my patience sometimes!). They’re not testing software yet (aside from ‘In The Night Garden’ on the iPad), but you can see how experimentation and learning are the drivers of their development.
So the question becomes – why do most adults stop the experimentation, stop testing, and stop learning?
Having grown up in the 80’s I am reminded of one of my favourite quotes:
“You have to test yourself every day, gentlemen. Once you stop testin’ yourself, you get slow. And when that happens, they kill you.” Emilio Estevez, Young Guns, 1988
Hopefully when you start your own business people won’t be trying to kill you. But if you get slow, stop testing yourself, you’ll probably kill your own business.
And, wow, there are some big tests out there for start-up founders. Unless you’ve been there before you are experimenting with the unknown:
- Spent a week working on sales pitch? Customer doesn’t understand a word of it.
- Built up the courage to do a cold call? Get an irate response
- Months building a great MVP? Customer thinks X is superfluous and Y is missing
- Running a workshop with your MVP? Attendees found some serious flaws and your blood pressure just rose
- Hired a 5-star rated freelancer? Get some 1-star work done
- Thought you could close a B2B sale in a week? 6 months later you’re ‘nearly there’
- Thought your idea would blow some Angels away? They saw 10 pitches with serious traction, and, er, you
- Thought your social media efforts would go viral? You got 8 likes, 1 from your mum
- Got a domain name and built a website? You got a cease and desist letter from the trademark owner and wasted a bunch of cash
- Built feature X because client 1 said it was the priority? Lose Prospect 2 because feature Y wasn’t there.
- Put off ‘testing yourself’ and did some coding instead? Your business ran out of cash without finding out what could have been
All of these are serious body blows, to your business and to you personally. But the more you experiment, the more you learn, the more your confidence rises and the better you become.
I hope this blog series can help you better prepare for some of the lessons that may be coming your way!
About The Author
Gordon is the founder of CodeFuse Technology. CodeFuse reduces software development time by making regression testing faster, better and easier. Gordon graduated with a 1st class degree in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence at Sussex University and also holds an MBA from Imperial College with a specialisation in Entrepreneurship. He has worked successfully for blue-chip, SME and start-up companies. His passion is software quality and making sure that continuous improvement is used to enhance quality efforts across the entire development lifecycle.