I have been doing some gardening during our COVID-19 quarantine and I’ve been thinking about how there are similarities between building a product and growing a garden.
My mom loves gardening. One of her favorite movies, “Being There” is about a simple man “Chauncey Gardiner” who has spent his entire life in the garden. Since Chauncey has only known the garden his whole life, that is the only way he understands the world. One day he meets an advisor to the President and they have a conversation about the economy - Gardiner says, “there will be new growth in the Spring” and the President quotes him in a speech. It’s a really great story about how powerful it can be to use analogies to explain complex ideas. In this case, Chauncey is a very simple-minded man who is considered a genius and actually becomes an advisor to the President - even though he knows nothing about politics.
Planting the Seeds
Young gardens take care and attention. From the time a plant is a seed through it’s sapling stages until it’s roots have grown and it’s stronger - it requires daily care: watering, guiding, and making sure it gets the appropriate amounts of sunlight… This is not dissimilar from building a product.
When I talk to people who have an idea for an app or a technology product, they often do not realize how much work it will take for them to get this idea from their head into a format that someone else can understand and then translate that idea into wireframes, designs, and then functional code.
Once you get through that initial phase it is not time to go on vacation and simply trust your team to do it’s thing. It is also not time to move on to your next idea or go back to your day job and just expect that in a few months if you just put in some money - you will get the product you originally designed. This is not reality. There are many little critical decisions that need to be made along the way. You need to be a part of those conversations and be testing your app at each stage of it’s lifecycle.
As a founder, it’s really important that you maintain as much involvement in the process of building (and testing) your product as possible. You really need to water, guide, and maintain your garden daily. It takes a great deal of care to build garden from seeds. It takes even tenacity to build a company.