Most micro-ISVs have a single founder who works in his spare time until there is enough revenue to quit. While safe, that violates several of Paul Graham's 18 mistakes that kill startups. I'm almost done reading Founders at Work, which reinforces his points; many of the founders warn of the risks of the sole developer doing a side project:
- A single founder is a huge point of failure. Having a partner or two keeps the momentum up, so even if you are in a slump or busy with outside commitments, the company keeps moving forward.
- Commitment keeps you going. Quitting your job, publicly announcing you are doing a startup, raising money from family and friends, indicates to the world, and yourself, that you are serious. This commitment makes it more likely that the company will keep going when you hit the inevitable problems.
- If you have competitors, development speed is important. A lone developer working nights and weekends can't keep up with a 1-3 developers working fulltime, or fulltime AND nights and weekends.
We are currently doing our startup part-time, although two people have dedicated days during the week. We are starting to have the conversation about taking funding to allow us to go fulltime, I'll be blogging more about that in the future.