In 2020, Marc Andreessen published a profound essay in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that became a rallying cry for startups called; It's Time To Build. In it, he discusses the importance of building various businesses, from housing, education, manufacturing, and transportation — anything that might hasten the dream of entrepreneurship and construct a better world so that we can have a better tomorrow. Even though technology is getting better every day, he talks about why the modern world wasn't ready for a disaster of this size.
A lot has changed since the middle of 2020, but much has remained the same. He outlines the areas to work on, what will happen with improvements, and a foundation to build upon. I wanted to take things a step further. If the time to build is now, and we all agree, how can we ship something over the line that makes a difference?
Let’s Get Building
Even though the world and markets are going through many changes now that the pandemic is over, momentum still needs to be improved. To build a stronger United States, people must overcome their inertia, drive, and will. A mission this exorbitant in size and scope is difficult to fulfill but critical to our country's and society's success.
Andreessen is open to suggestions about what needs to be built to solve the aftershocks of a post-pandemic world. However, the US building industry needs consistent funding, a laser-like focus, and organized efforts to get back on its feet. He recognizes that it is necessary to have patience when negotiating with institutions that are disadvantageous to builders, making the process of construction aggravating as hell.
I have a different mantra and a different question: I accept this call to action and would like to know if shipping is just as critical as building.
Why Shipping Is Important When Building
Shipping defines software engineering in a magical way that is challenging to understand. It's the grace and elegance of building something, bringing it into the world, and seeing millions of people use it to benefit their quality of life. The appeal is that scaling a product to millions of users simply requires a focused team. This collective of quality team members fosters an environment conducive to creative resolutions.
Examples of this are the 30+ people that Craigslist employs, a platform accessed by millions, if not billions, of internet users every day. It’s evident in the rise of companies like WhatsApp and Instagram that employed a mere 20+ people before their acquisition. Each is a demonstration of the critical role that shipping plays in building. When executed correctly, it's admirable. After all, the American dream is composed of the desire for financial stability while having a positive impact on the world and ultimately inspiring future generations.
In the fintech ecosystem, the development of a product could mean the transfer of billions of dollars per month, and consumer product creation and delivery can have an impact on a vast network. When you release a software service that solves a problem that many people have, your monthly revenue can grow exponentially.
So what exactly does shipping mean?
- Shipping means a product worth using.
- Shipping means producing something to be proud of.
- Shipping begets more shipping.
- Shipping means completion.
- Shipping is about a team coming together in concert to achieve a common goal.
- Shipping is movement.
The art of shipping something means that you have worked as a unit to put something out into the world that you can take pride in; a return on investment that helps others.
There has never been a better time to start working better together. By working with people who care about the craft of engineering and building their own products to simplify the lives of others, we can ship smarter.
The idea of shipping faster is about working in unison towards a common goal. Beyond the needs of a Kanban board or a list of tickets to be completed, there is a person with a problem that needs to be solved. Building for this person is critical to any software company's success. Surrounding your team with people who have done it before, shipped incredible products to millions of people, and can level up the team around them is pivotal to a common goal.
Shipping Faster is About Caring About Your Product, Your Team, and Your Customer.
GoFractional.com is home to an amazing group of engineers who all want to make their own products and contribute to intellectually interesting things. We fulfill their goal of completing meaningful consulting work that pays the bills while allowing the time and energy required to bring an idea to fruition. We believe that we need more builders, more founders, and more shippers. Startup experience at the highest levels of engineering is very hard to come by, making recruiting difficult when looking for people who can increase the shipping speed and efficiency of a team. Gotta Go Fast increases shipping speed and quality in tandem by bringing on engineers who want to build on a fractional basis while also working individually on their own projects.
Shipping faster doesn’t mean burnout.
One of the most common questions we get around engineering time is why they are not full-time or “working” in a full-time capacity. To answer this question, it's best to first realize that no engineer is actually coding 40 hours a week, even as a full-time employee.
To understand the time and energy spent, simply talk to any founder-level or staff engineer – they will share how they get into the flow state of coding, how they approach their days, and what great output looks like. This shows their worth, productivity, and shipping expertise are not measured by hours or lines of code.
By working on their projects and companies, engineers have the creative and mental energy to dive into a team's startup with ease. Long gone are the days of worrying whether your top engineer is feeling burnt out. Instead, we know that they are driven to be creative by their business ventures. By hiring an engineer through Gotta Go Fast, you help them afford to pursue their dreams by having them spend the majority of their time working on your startup's difficulties and encouraging their passion on the side.
Solving Client Shipping Challenges And Combatting Their Own.
At their core, startups need people who ship, so we exclusively work with shippers that have a proven track record. That’s how difficult and easy it is. Finding people who have done it before at venture-scale startups ensures that clients are working with amazing developers.
Great engineers want to work with great engineers, and that is exactly what they get with Gotta Go Fast. A group of like-minded founder-level builders, all working on venture-scale startups that want to ship faster. They can build and ship, combining their passion projects with paying their bills. They can bootstrap what they want to see in the world in a way that makes more sense for them.
In a perfect world, you have the team you need when you need it for the price you prefer. In the meantime, GoFractional.com can assist you in locating the candidate your company needs to fill in the gaps. We have provided fundamental engineering support for scaling startups, instrumented team hiring procedures for venture companies, and built alongside the top startups in the country. Reach out if you're interested in having these or other engineering issues fixed.