MVP does NOT mean Mild Verbal Problem

 

Last week you found out about how I eat my salad (lots of balsamic) and a little bit about how I started working on my app (lots of balsamiq). 

This week, you’ll have the privilege to read about *ja^$>>!!!{}*&, which is how “tech world lingo” sounds to the average homo sapiens, someone like me. 

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I left you as I was asking my loyal Google how to hire a developer and a designer. That happened after I had taken to Facebook and inquired whether any of my brilliant friends had an “outstanding iOS developer and designer to recommend” – a badly-disguised and desperate attempt for someone to answer: “hire this developer, he is great, here is his email and phone number, he’ll do your app within two months and it will look fantastic.” 

Because here was my problem: how would I be able to assess whether a developer was any good, given that I didn’t know anything about coding myself? I couldn’t, point blank. So I needed help.

Obviously, my friends either missed the desperate tone of my Facebook plea or overestimated my tech knowledge – totally wrong since at that point I only knew there were iOS apps for iPhones, and Android apps for other i-lessPhones, and that was about it. 

So instead of a name and a phone number, I got a short answer from Balthazar, my friend who works for The Family, a really cool French startup accelerator (did I mention I have very cool friends?): “look for someone in react native for the development of an app.”

….

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Though his answer would eventually turn out to be helpful, it first threw me in deep deep darkness –  a feeling similar to my first ever Spanish class, when my teacher asked me a question at the same pace as Shakira sings in Loca….. (Something like: Elestápormiyportiborroyesoquetútienesto)

WHAT???? (QUE????) 

In this case, the following ensued: 

    1. Questions to myself: What is it with tech people and short answers? First Laura-my-friend-who-did-a-startup and her “Balsamiq”, and now this. Are they really that busy that they can’t write a full sentence that makes sense to the average homo sapiens? 
    2. Thought to myself: React Native doesn’t even make me think of food like Balsamiq did, how disappointing. That being said, I haven’t thought about what I am going to have for dinner.. Steak? No, I had steak for lunch already (I’ll stop here to avoid further digression but those who know me can guess how it ended— with a steak)
    3. Second thought to myself: React Native sounds like one of those Brooklyn warehouse parties Balthazar used to love during our NYC years. How on earth am I supposed to find a developer there? 
    4. Question to Balthazar: “You’re talking Chinese to me. What’s React Native?”
    5. Balthazar’s answer: “A programming language that lets you do iOS and Android in one go.”

That’s when I saw the light: there was hope. I already knew that developing an iOS app was a different process than Android, and that you basically have to pay twice to get both (that’s why you’re usually advised to start with one and then do the other only when you’ve worked enough on the first version.) So Balthazar’s second answer made it sound like this would be cheaper — no small feat in the tech world, where I’m told money disappears as quickly as a profiterole au chocolat in my plate. 

After this, I spent hours reading up information on good old Google, and ended up understanding a lot more. I encourage other tech-illiterate homo sapiens to do the same if like me they don’t know where to start: in the end, the Internet is quite an obvious place to hang out to learn about the digital world. 

For instance, I learned that Java wasn’t a shortcut for Serge Gainsbourg’s Javanaise, that Xamarin wasn’t another Pokemon name, and that against all odds, Python wasn’t a python. Also new to me: C+ isn’t a bad mark that you get when you’re expelled from class; “your MVP” isn’t the developer telling me I have a “Mild Verbal Problem” (I probably do, though) but rather a Minimum Viable Product. Last but not least, React Native is not a warehouse party but the new hot cross-platform programming language developed by Facebook (look at me subtly throwing “cross-platform” in here.) 

This is also how I found out about the company from which I ended up hiring my developer and designer: Toptal. They only feature on their platform the top 3% of people they interview, so it means the quality is supposed to be very high. This solved my issue of not knowing how to assess whether a developer was any good (it’s easier for designers as it’s more a matter of taste than tech knowledge. You can get an idea of their skills by looking at their online portfolio.) Once you get in touch with Toptal and explain your project, they come back to you with a few potential candidates who you then interview. Once you’ve picked one, you have a one-week trial –  if you’re not satisfied, you just try with a new one at no cost. Both of the people I picked ended up being great and I’ve been working with them since, watching my little app coming into life. 

Obviously, our communication doesn’t come without challenges. 

For instance: 

Rogerio, the developer: “Hi Celeste, so I think we should use github for source code and heroku for backend. Trello might be a useful tool to use as well and I’ll Slack you any quick questions I might have.”

……

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Me: “Yeah, sure, was about to say the same thing!” – followed by some frantic Google searches. 

But little by little, we are getting there and our communication is getting smoother. I understand some of what they say, they understand some of what I say and when they don’t, my 103 wireframes are there to explain what I want. Somehow, Live2Leave is becoming more and more real every day.

And you can see that for yourself if you follow us on @live2leave on Instagram! 

Céleste

Up next: our Social Media “strategy”….

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