Startup Engineering is a program and framework for finding genuine unmet demand and building scalable companies to satisfy it. Startup engineers take a “problem first” approach to identify inadequately addressed pain in their customer’s personal or professional lives. They generate theories about customer improvement goals and the constraints that prevent existing solutions from meeting them. They work toward actionable truth by testing to disconfirm their theories, modifying them, and retesting. They prioritize and gauge progress through a framework of understanding, bounding, and reducing the risks that all early stage companies face.
The startup engineering process is divided into two stages. The initial stage, called “flashpoint,” takes approximately four months of full-time, committed work by at least two founders. About two/thirds of the startups that implement the program succeed in discovering valid, testable demand during this period.
Startups then proceed to the second, “flash forward” phase. This stage, which takes approximately six months, manages the founders through a process of shaping products and companies that will, reliably and scalably, make money by enabling customers to overcome their constraints and attain their improvement goals.
Not all founders identify genuine demand in phase one, and not all companies that do identify demand can structure a business model for a profitable company to meet it. But the companies that succeed exit the process as strong candidates for B round funding, looking specifically for capital to scale.