Having empathy in order to provide value is essential when developing an online venture, Mike Jones, developer and online entrepreneur and lead at Western Cape Labs, believes.
Jones was speaking at PyConZa2013 in Cape Town today on launching an idea within days.
He feels developers often become distracted by the “towers of beautiful code” rather than focusing on releasing “valuable things people actually care about”.
Relying on the model of the lean startup, Jones emphasised the importance of the ‘ideas’, ‘build’ and ‘service’ steps.
The question of empathy, Jones said, is vital to the value proposition of the business as this indicates a comprehension of the market.
Understanding what problem it solves and what the customer likes and dislikes are crucial to the success in offering a valuable proposition.
“If you can’t answer these questions, then you should not be starting to write code yet,” Jones said.
Relating the low sales figures of his recently launched local, handcraft product e-commerce venture, he blames its lack of success on not having enough customer insight.
“I didn’t follow through all the questions around why they would switch to my solution rather than stopping by Woolies,” Jones said.
With regards to building the site, he recommends creating a structure, picking a data store and reusing the code in order to duplicate for additional projects for launching within a week, rather than a month.
He emphasised the importance of being able to translate the value you add for people as a strict requirement for writing code.
Instead of creating a minimum viable product, it’s about creating a minimum valuable product.