Dane Maxwell's principles on building digital products

This content is heavily inspired from the fastlaneforum, where Dane Maxwell hosted an AMA check it out here.

I wanted to save these ideas here. I have looked through many old posts to assemble them. They are still valid for anyone making digital products in a small team.


Choosing Developers Wisely

Look for developers who are dedicated and can commit full time to a project. Check for personal hobbies and interests outside of development to gauge integrity. Always verify past work for timeliness, budget adherence, and bug-free delivery.

Importance of Multiple Options

When hiring, aim to choose from multiple candidates rather than settling due to scarcity. Invest time in the hiring process, exploring various platforms like oDesk and open source communities.

Reliance on High Integrity

For those not well-versed in technology, relying on individuals with high integrity is crucial. Emphasize trust and mutual respect over formal contracts.

UI/Design Integration

Prioritize designing the UI before development begins. Use resources like Keynotopia.com, Themeforest.net, or Twitter Bootstrap for designing clear and straightforward UIs.

Feasibility Checks

Use platforms like Odesk.com to validate the feasibility of your ideas and get initial quotes.

Developer Skills and Attitudes

Look for developers who are:

  • Fully focused on one project.
  • Willing to challenge ideas for the betterment of the project.
  • Proven to complete projects fully.
  • Problem solvers who seek solutions independently.
  • Familiar with Rapid Application Development.
  • Capable of basic HTML, CSS, and system administration.
  • Knowledgeable about frameworks like 37signals’ Getting Real.
  • Willing to do initial customer support and interested in long-term project success.
  • Punctual in releasing features and conducting bug tests.
  • Open to using platforms like UserVoice for feature development.
  • Providing accurate time estimates.
  • Committed to daily updates, outlining work hours, accomplishments, encountered problems, and questions.

Require daily updates

Daily updates are especially important for software development. We are making them in video form, but written form is similarly good.

Dane wrote this:

Most Important. This is NON NEGOTIABLE. In the 10+ software projects I’ve worked on, here is the most life changing thing I’ve started doing. It will make both you and I very happy working together: You will spend 5 minutes at the end of each workday sending me a daily update. Your daily update will answer 4 questions. 1) How many hours you worked 2) What you accomplished (not what you did, but what you accomplished) 3) What problems you encountered, and 4) What questions you have for me. I will review this immediately every night and answer your questions.

Media and Promotion Strategies

Leverage initial interviews to gain more coverage, network at conferences, and offer unique bonuses in interviews to attract leads. Focus on being genuine and approachable.

By adhering to these principles, leaders in software development can build effective teams and foster successful project outcomes.

3 min read

Till Carlos

I'm Till, a senior developer who started a software company. I explain software concepts for people in leading roles.