Break the Hacker Mindset by@rborn92
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Break the Hacker Mindset

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Rami Malek in Mr. Robot Season Two. Photograph by Mr Nadav Kander/USA Network

As a software engineer turned entrepreneur, it took me a while to break the hacker mentality.

Just because you can build something doesn’t mean you should.

This took me a while to learn. I figured competitors didn’t offer the functionality because they hadn’t thought of it or they weren’t capable of building it, but, chances are, they didn’t build it because no one wanted it or it was too far from the core product.

It’s easy to get stuck in this mindset, “maybe once I make this one feature, then the product will take off.” Daniel Tawfik described this as the startup tarpit.

Someone recently asked me how I decide on what feature I build next — a great question that I didn’t have a great answer to.

I set out to build a scoring system.

  • Relevance / Reach — how many customers will this benefit? How many people have requested this feature?
  • Urgency — Is it a blocking feature?
  • Difficulty — how long will it take to build?
  • Innovation — is it unique and innovative?

With this new scoring system, I triaged all of the pending features/ideas.


Representing the features and scores as a web graph helps to visualize and make the decision easier. Here are a few of them:


Link Shortening vs. Impression Analytics vs. Auto Scheduling

How do you decide what features you work on next? Does it change as your team grows?


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