Five Roles of Startup: Build

Design, Engineer, Perform, Deliver, Support
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The five roles I'm discussing in this series are general, but intended to identify everyone inside and outside the startup's organization. You must have someone playing all five roles, and in the early days, two or more of these roles are probably going to be played by the same person.

In the first installment of this series, I defined what it means to play the Vision role in startup. These are your leaders, your explainers, your decision-makers. While the Vision role might seem the most important, the truth is that every one of the five roles is just as critical as the next.

To illustrate that point, someone has to make the thing you're going to sell. Build is that role, the people who design, make, test, move, and maintain the product. That's what we'll outline here. In future installments, we'll cover the three other roles: Sales, Operations, and Growth. You don't have to dig into all the roles now, but it helps to know what they are.

Build can be difficult because the skills required for this role totally change depending on what kind of product the startup sells. You need a completely different kind of expertise to make software as opposed to soft drinks, or heart rate trackers as opposed to heart medicine.

Furthermore, some startups don't even sell a product, they sell a service. For our purposes, however, a service should be treated as a product in most respects. A service startup should be trying to break new ground and invent new solutions to old problems, whether that's with consulting, photography, pet washing, or whatever.

So the concepts I'm outlining in Build are meant to apply to any kind of startup, regardless of the type of product or service.


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