Mike McGrail
Mike McGrail

Mike McGrail: Diary of a Ginormous SaaS Startup Journey [Part 5]

On tech talent dilemmas, shrinking scope, dragging progress and light at the end of the tunnel…

I really must apologise for the lack of updates, the festive season got in the way and the start of the year has been pretty crazy in my day-job. I can sum-up the current situation with Concludent in one word — frustrating!

Some of the key pieces are in place:

  • Validation of the need for a solution to the problem I’m trying to solve (well-responded surveys and a focus-group act as evidence)
  • Tech validation — what I’m trying to create, can be created
  • A clear vision of what I’m trying to achieve and why

The (major) problem is, that I can’t find the right route to actually getting the tool (or at least an MVP) made. I’ve had chats with various developers, some who like idea but can’t come on a likely rough (but hugely satisfying) startup journey for whatever reason (totally get it), or they don’t quite have the right skills to make it happen. On that latter point, I’m more than happy for someone to learn ‘on the job’, as long as the foundation is there to build on.

A familiar problem

This issue is far from rare. Perhaps the likes of the ‘Valley’ there’s an abundance of talent, but that’s not the case here (Scotland). The digital skills gap has been well covered, but it really is a problem. It leaves me with two options:

1 — Carry on the search

2 — Pay an agency etc to build at least the MVP

Option one is effectively a status quo. Option two would at least allow progress, however, I’m guarded against going down this route. Why? Well, it’s something I’ve always been warned against by people that have the experience to issue valid warnings! It will cost more for sure. When you’re building a product, it’s a constantly iterative process, outsourcing would mean that all changes and updates would require hard cash. There’s more to it than that, but I’m just not keen to go down this route.

Light at the end of the funnel? I mean tunnel…

The power of your personal network should never be underestimated. A friend of mine who also happens to be one of the smartest and most helpful people I know introduced me to a tech startup that just so happens to have a huge chunk of the technology I need. This may well lead to the creation of a lighter version of Concludent. How’s that going to happen? Well, good old fashioned bartering. I’ve got some useful skills for them and vice-versa. Finally, there may be some real progress on the horizon…

Mike McGrail – Who are you?

I’m a digital marketer with over 10 years experience, working freelance as a marketing consultant for brands up and down the UK. I’ve worked in technology, consumer goods, travel and pretty much every other industry you can imagine. I also create a lot of written and video content and do a fair amount of public speaking.