Sell first, build later

By Vu Tran
Framebase.io is a video API built by developers for developers. As such, our founding team consists of three highly technical software engineers with varying experiences in non-technical work.

What we found over the period of Y Combinator is that if left to our own devices, we would naturally hole ourselves up at home and code, code, code. We are developers, we are creators and sometimes that means just wanting to be left and alone to build.

I think the mindset of a technical founder is obviously very technically focus, such that we have a tendency to orientate ourselves around technical goals, “How do we scale this infrastructure to x users? How do I reduce this request time to under Xms?”. Sometimes, we’re so caught up in the joy of building that we actually forget to stop and ask ourselves the most important question:

Wait guys, do people actually want this?

As a technical founder, I think one of the most important things I’ve learned over the past year, albeit it might be obvious to some of you is that you should always strive to sell your product first and then build it later.

“Do people want this?” is a simple question to ask to see if your business is doomed from the get go. The follow up question, “How many people want this?” dictates how large your business can become. Both of these questions can be answered without ever having to write a single line of code. Even when you’re having a product meeting and you’re trying to figure out your roadmap and which features next to build, ask yourself, “Who the hell actually wants these features? How do we know they really want these features?”

If you’re trying to start a new idea or feature, figure out who your future customers are and try to sell to them first. Even if you have nothing built out yet, try to offer them a refundable credit for your service at a discount if they buy now. Or, if you’re building a more consumer centric product, ask them if they want to be part of your mailing list and if they would be interested in being part of your alpha.

It’s my belief that even before you begin building your product or features, you should already have users and revenue coming in. If you don’t, it either means you’re a poor salesperson and will allow you to refine your skills which is absolutely critical for the success of your company or else it means no one actually wants your product and you’ve just saved yourself months, maybe even years of work.

~Vu Tran

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Framebase is an API for video. Writing applications which use video in a meaningful way is extremely difficult—and then there's the maintenance. No need to hire a team to deal with transcoding configurations, device compatibility bugs, or CDN contracts. With just two lines of code, you can playback as simple as an echo, and upload as simple as an .

Your application is more than just video. Focus on your core competencies, and let us make your video awesome.

Posted by Vu Tran

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