Posted on 2021-09-05 byVlad Călin
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Time for a new professional update. Plenty happened in these two past weeks, but most of what happened are related to Vuuh, so I can not get very in-depth with the details.
But I can highlight some things more high-level.
As the infamous phrase that is so popular in the startup scene says, do things that are not scalable. And we did just that. We have some kind of manual processes that we need to do periodically, which take quite some time, and are the kind of tasks that require a lot of low-level computations and are very hard to debug if they go wrong.
And you guessed: everybody hates to do them. As we entered the scale up mode, this problem became more and more pressing, and now we are working on a solution to speed up this process dramatically, as it can not be completely automatized (computers aren't smart enough yet to do that, but maybe OpenAI's Codex is heading in the right direction).
All I can say is that it is the kind of task that requires technical knowledge of the system and some programming, but the kind of programming it requires is very prone to errors, requires very fragile checks that can get messed up as the users feed new data into our system and are just a pain to debug and fix.
Needless to say, we can't hire non-technical support people to handle these, and there is always developer involvement required. We know that for young startups, the developer's time is the most expensive resource, and having them work on tedious tasks will make them consider looking somewhere else for better work.
So, automatizing this kind of tasks is a top priprity for us right now. Scaling while we have big inefficiencies in our workflow will further accentuate them.
Moving fast always comes with the risk of breaking things, as this popular saying in the startup scene conveys.
We did move by this philosophy in the beginning and it served us well, but right now we need to reconsider things. As our team and number of clients grow, each new change will have a bigger and bigger impact. If something goes terribly wrong, we will have angry clients calling and yelling at us, because their data transfer flow depends on us. And if we fail to deliver, their data end up sucking (or missing altogether).
To tackle this problem, we shifted some of our resources towards improving our QA processes, starting to think about improving our architecture to make it more robust and failure-resistant and have a better overview on what is happening in the system at any point.
Focusing on QA and building robust systems should be a priority for every startup that is in the scale up mode.
There is nothing happening on this plan, as my mental resources are 100% invested in building and growing Vuuh together with the team.
In the following weeks, I will still be full focusing on Vuuh, so there would be no room left for personal projects.
PS: an interesting post I stumbled upon, which drew my attention: Joel's Spolsky's Strategy Letter V which is a bit more businessy, but interesting nonetheless.