Startups don't understand
who'll use their product.
This is their main mistake

The interview with a Senior-level tech specialist Maxim Knyazev - an expert in the field of IT development. He's launched more than one successful startup. Now Maxim is working in a unique startup project that will overtake an industry and fundamentally transform it.
A leading IT specialist Maxim Knyazev talks about his experience in working for startup companies, reveals the secrets of attracting specialists to startups, and gives useful tips on launching projects.
— Did you have experience in working for startups? What was their direction?
— Yes, I had the experience. The direction was always different. For example, there was a startup connected to the job search for teens: we were looking for a part-time job for schoolchildren in the off-season. There were startups related to the music video content distribution, various financial startups. At the moment, I'm also working in a startup.
— Why have you decided to work for this startup? In most cases, startups can't offer competitive working conditions...
— To some extent, this is a challenge, and I really hope that this startup will succeed, and we'll set the tone for the part of the industry in which we are working.
— Would you join a startup if you didn't know the leader personally?
— No, I wouldn't. This is a difficult task, in fact, because it requires concentration, attention, crazy dedication.
— It turns out that attracting a specialist of your level to a startup isn't a simple task. What needs to be done to recruit Senior-level developers?
— Firstly, you need to find a developer, and this isn't an easy task even for professional tech recruiters. If you find such a developer, then, of course, you need to make him interested in your project. There are several ways:
  • offer the developer a more or less competitive salary;
  • offer a share in a company. This's been a trend for the last several years.
— Have you built product prototypes for startups before?
— Yes, lots of times.
— How long did it usually take you to build a prototype?
— It's important to understand what product you make a prototype for. I had experience in building a prototype for a consulting company by the efforts of junior developers. It was necessary to collect the opinions of different vendors independently, depersonalize them and take a vote between them, and, finally, choose the leading one among them. There was also a certain symbolic-form model, certain demarcations among users. That's why we've been realizing the idea for two months.
— Is the stage of prototype building a necessary step when launching a startup?
— Typically, prototypes help startup founders show what they'll actually get in the end. Sometimes startup founders certainly know what they need to do, and in this case, a prototype isn't absolutely required.
—And what do you think, is it possible to make a prototype with the help of novice specialists if there is an experienced team lead? Have you had such an experience?
— Yes, this is usually the operational strategy. And, yes, I've had such an experience, and more than once.
— In that case, who is a junior developer for you?
— This is a person who has an unlimited desire to learn. Most often, they don't have enough experience. However, in fact, not every junior developer is really a junior, nor middle and senior specialists are actually middle and senior :). There are always factors that influence such an assessment. These are the specifics of the project, the recognition of colleagues, and other circumstances.
— How do you think what do the main mistake startups make when they launch a product?
— I can't say that there is one main mistake. In fact, there are a lot of them.
  • As a rule, startups in principle don't understand who'll use their product. This is the most basic mistake of all startups.
  • They don't understand their audience.
  • They don't understand which geo will use their product.
    —What advice would you give startups so that they launch their product successfully?
    — You need to research your audience, as well as make everything as simple as possible. You also need to understand that if a startup succeeds, you'll have to work hard, because you'll get a very heavy workload. I remember some cases when a startup was successfully launched but its founders ceased to cope with the workload.
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