Factors to consider when choosing your technology stack

Startups are an incredible journey but tend to put a lot of pressure on their leaders to make the right choices and move fast. Every decision feels crucial. There are a few key strategies that will help you focus on what matters, and not waste runway on what doesn’t. The factors to be considered in this blog have to do with technology change costs and crucial leadership decisions.

Here are the top three factors for leadership to consider when choosing your technology stack:

  • Cost of changing technologies
  • Product-market fit
  • Making the right tech decisions at the right time: cheap tech vs. expensive tech

Looking for a more exhaustive set of factors to consider for your tech stack Download my latest ebook, Choosing a Tech Stack You Won’t regret: Secrets of focused technical leadership for fast-growing startups.

Cost of different tech stacks vary

Technology stacks changes can often come with hefty price tags. Being aware of the potential cost of changing technologies is crucial to avoid time waste and ensure team flexibility. When choosing your technology, make sure to consider the price tag and what the decision to shift might cost you later.

For example, choosing the latest technologies because they’re interesting or fill a specific function may solve your problem in the short-term, but could cost you more in the long-term. Truth is, there is no tech stack that will give you a leg up because it’s new and different from what everybody else is using. The only thing that will give you a leg up is something that everybody already knows how to use.

Stack-related decisions are technical and they genuinely don’t matter to your users. Product does. Build great products to put in users’ hands, worry about the latest and greatest additions later.

Choose tech that empowers your innovation to discover product-market fit

Modern software tools make it possible to get your ideas in front of users on day one – that wasn’t always the case. By using a cloud deployment platform, you have the ability to get your ideas in the hands of users faster than ever before. Let this allow you to focus entirely on building your product as users are interacting with it, so you can learn from those users as quickly as possible.

This approach has to do with being product-market fit focused. Be sure to get your product in front of users so you can fail fast and iterate plans where needed.

The right set of tools will allow you to make the right decisions

As a technical leader of a startup that is designed to scale and grow, you will find that your job will quickly shift from writing code to set the direction for the team. This shift will likely happen much faster than you anticipate, as soon as when you hire your first two or three engineers. How do you make good decisions for your team and build a technical architecture that you won’t regret?

They say that timing is everything in a startup, but just because you’ve heard it a million times before doesn’t make it any less true. Your timing, your choice of what to focus on today, and what to ignore, are crucial decisions. These decisions are so important that they should feel uncomfortable.

Know that if you are prioritizing product-market fit to the exclusion of all other aims, you will create messes and issues that you will have to clean up later. You will choose shortcuts or hacks that will help you get products out to users quickly, launch new features or improvements fast, and get a signal that you are on or off the right path.

Finding the best tech stack for you

Every startup is unique in goal, vision, and team structure. By relentlessly driving toward product-market fit and fighting technical complexity as you scale, you will be able to pivot as quickly, as often, and as cost-effectively as necessary to reach success.

If you maintain focus on your highest leverage decisions as a technical leader, you will be in the privileged position of having the time and money to later untangle your speedy but strategic early decisions. With strategy, relentless focus, and a little bit of luck, you’ll get there.

Looking to gain more insight on how to approach your technology stack (and my 14 rules of technical leadership)? Download my latest ebook, Choosing a Tech Stack You Won’t regret: Secrets of focused technical leadership for fast-growing startups.