Your tech startup is a glorified consultancy

  1. Ruthlessly eliminate low-margin business. Areas where doubling business would require doubling staff represents “bad” revenue. These are a breeding ground for constant internal distractions, customer escalations, and product complexity that causes tech debt and slows everyone down.
  2. Sell existing product to new customers; avoid selling new products to new customers. You should be iterating on a working pattern of product success, rather than allowing sales outreach to dictate the development roadmap.
  3. Sell new products to existing customers. If you can, set the expectation you’re partnering on an experiment. This lets you validate the offering and makes it much easier to reverse course if an approach is untenable without putting a new customer relationship at risk or committing to an albatross around your neck.
  4. Don’t mistake a culture that heroically meets external demands for a high-impact culture. The goal isn’t to work long hours, it’s for each person’s effort to have an outsize impact on revenue. You don’t want to insist that engineers and product leaders build everything for everyone as an execution arm of the business; you instead want product and engineering to be partners in strategic upfront thinking about how to create a product-business offering that is as narrow and focused as possible.



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Chuck Groom

Chuck Groom


Consulting CTO open to projects. I’m a serial entrepreneur, software engineer, and leader at early- and mid-stage companies.