Technical Debt

I spend a lot of time with technical founders and engineering managers in startups.

I like how the best ones think.

During this summer in particular, I’ve heard many talk openly about their growing technical debt

In many ways it’s not surprising to see early stage startups with technical debt.  The first version of their application was built either as a hack or very quickly built as a prototype that was never meant to scale. And that very code base is now supporting a growing community of users.

Then the question becomes, do you add more things to that code base to give users additional features and a better experience (and increase the technical debt) – or do you start paying down the debt by doing that re-write of core parts of the system.

It’s a tricky one for sure – especially the timing. I was trained in the VSCF way of thinking. So that’s how I think about product priorities. 

But at some point the debt has to be paid. While some folks may find this daunting or a put off to a new investor I think it’s refreshing & often inspiring to have an intellectually honest discussion about these issues.