Meet Andras, our Head of Development, as he talks about creating monsters, mistakes that wreck digital projects, and being one of the ‘Jinxed Ones’.
El Pupas forever!
I’ve always supported the underdog. I’m a fan of Atletico de Madrid for that reason. I love the story behind them. They were always losing finals at the very end, so they became the ‘Jinxed ones (El Pupas)’ – a nickname given by Vicente Calderon, the team’s president at that time.
The team – and its fans – were sometimes a laughingstock, but their story became one of fighting, putting your whole heart into what you do, and never giving up.
It’s a great story – and everyone needs a great story if they want people to get behind them. That’s as true for entrepreneurs and innovators as it is for football clubs.
That spirit has created a strong community. I’ve been to Madrid and love the fans. We’ve discussed the game – and I’ve even shared their sandwiches! – even though we speak different languages and are often guessing what the other is saying. It all comes down to the great connection that comes from the club’s story.
Don’t create a monster
If you work with Smpl we will challenge you to stay focused. I’ve seen it so many times: a client has a great idea, but new ideas come to them day and night and that great idea soon turns into a monster.
Projects like this are doomed – they go on forever.
If you have an idea that has 15 parts, I’m going to get you to focus on the best three. The easiest way to do that is to go through them all and prioritise, leaving out the ones that aren’t new or innovative, or those that won’t influence how it sells in the market.
There’s a saying: ‘kill your darlings’. I won’t ask you to kill them, but I will ask you to put them aside for now if they’re not core to your idea.
Don’t wait for your idea to be ‘ready’
One of the biggest mistakes I see is clients who think they can’t move past the first stages because their idea isn’t ready. It rarely is, particularly at the start.
Those clients work and work and work on it, the time flies away and before they know it someone else has come up with the same idea and beaten them to market.
It’s crucial to have focus and once you’ve got your Minimum Viable Product (MVP) – based on those core parts I mentioned above – prototype it fast.
If you get a prototype made quickly it’ll save a lot of time later because all the stakeholders can see it, you can get on the same page, and there will be fewer excuses to delay.
Want to know why digital projects are so stressful?
It’s because the industry is set up that way. To start with, many people are incentivised to sell as many work hours as possible. You’ve got to be so careful they don’t feed your monster!
But there’s a bigger problem: the way the industry has evolved means delays and confusion are actually baked into the system.
There is usually a linear process where creative design firms are called in to work on ‘look and feel’. The design plan is then passed on to developers knowing nothing of design and usability, who can’t understand what the UI/UX (user interface / user experience) team wanted to achieve.
You must keep these experts together from the start. If you integrate in this way you will save yourself a lot of time, money, and stress, and you’ll get a much better product at the end. We created Smpl precisely to solve these problems.
Being an innovator is tough
But if you have focus and belief, that will see you through. I once had a silent partner in a new business – so silent, in fact, that it’s surprising I have this story…
One day, he saw me feeling down because one of my best employees had left and I was wondering what to do. He told me that these challenges always feel bad at the time but, in the end, almost always work out.
Over several years of my own building companies, products, and services, I’ve found that really is true. In this case we lost a colleague we thought was irreplaceable, but then someone else showed up who was much better.
If you keep your focus, believe in yourself, and surround yourself with the right people, you will be rewarded.