An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Engineering Management  – Book review

An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Engineering Management – Book review

An Elegant puzzle – Systems of engineering Management

Author: Will Larson

Will Larson’s ‘An Elegant puzzle’ offers a comprehensive guide to navigating the multifaceted role of managing engineers, whether overseeing a small team or scaling up to manage managers. Drawing from his extensive experience at technology giants like Yahoo!, Uber, and Stripe, Larson provides invaluable tools and systems to empower teams to perform optimally.

The book is skillfully written, peppered with insightful anecdotes from Larson’s own journey in engineering leadership. His candid recounting of real-world scenarios adds depth and relatability, making the concepts tangible and actionable.

A standout feature of the book is Larson’s emphasis on the importance of incremental progress over the pursuit of elusive solutions. As he aptly puts it,

Managing rapid growth is more along the lines of stacking small wins than identifying silver bullets.
– Will Larson

This philosophy underscores the practical wisdom woven throughout the text, offering managers a pragmatic approach to tackling challenges.

Moreover, Larson goes the extra mile by concluding the book with a meticulously curated list of recommended readings, allowing readers to delve deeper into specific topics of interest. While primarily aimed at managers, even those overseeing smaller teams, like myself, will find immense value in Larson’s insights. Personally, I found myself benefiting greatly from his advice, and I anticipate revisiting this book as my team continues to expand.

In essence, ‘Insights into Engineering Management’ is a must-read for anyone navigating the complexities of leading engineering teams in today’s fast-paced tech landscape.

Building an MVP for your Startup

Building an MVP for your Startup

Do you have an entrepreneur within you and want to bring it to life? Creating a business plan and building an MVP (Minimal Viable Product) is the place to start. In this post, I will share my approach to testing out a new business idea and some of the pitfalls that you should avoid.

What is an MVP?

Let us first get into what an MVP is and why we should start by building an MVP and not just the whole product.
MVP stands for Minimal Viable Product, which means a product with enough features to attract your first customers and thereby validate your idea.
In some cases, this means just a clickable prototype, the main thing is that it is just enough to get validation from customers so that you know if it is worth spending more time and money on.

Every time we have a new idea for a new feature or product in my startup, my first question is “What is the MVP we can do to test if this concept works?”. And as the design tools get better I can see a future where this doesn’t even involve the development team.

– Nanna Bach Munkholm

MVP requirements

Before building your MVP, it’s time to look at your MVP requirements.

  1. What problem do you want to solve?
  2. Who is your target audience?
  3. How can you reach them?
  4. What features do you need to solve their problem?
  5. What is the most important feature?
  6. How can I test that I’m solving their problem?

Try to note down the answers to these questions and be critical of the features – are they necessary for you to get validation?

For my first Tech Startup, I first created a prototype (a click-through design) to explain my idea to advisors and developers. The first error here was that I didn’t test it on potential customers. With this prototype, I went to a consultant company and negotiated a deal where they made the MVP. My second mistake was I hadn’t thought about how I should track if the early adopters liked the MVP. Leading to the MVP being useless. Furthermore, I had no clue about what I should be aware of when talking to developers.

– Nanna Bach Munkholm

How to Build an MVP?

Now that you have your MVP requirements we can take a look at the different options you have for building an MVP for your startup. Depending on the technology depth of your MVP you have different options.

  1. A clickable MVP without any functionality behind
  2. A No Code MVP with hand-held or simple functionality
  3. An advanced MVP

1. A clickable MVP without any functionality behind

This is a great choice if you have no technical experience and want to get your MVP out into your customer’s hands quickly.

Figma has become the preferred tool for most designers as it is intuitive and has all the features you need to create a clickable MVP. Another great advantage is that if you choose solution 2 or 3 you can use the design and extract the parameters you need for developing an MVP with functionalities behind it.

2. A No-Code MVP with hand-held or simple functionality

Creating a No-Code MVP is underrated. When I started my first Tech startup back in 2018 No-Code was not a thing, but today there is a No-Code that nearly fits every business case. No-code means tools where you can build your application without needing to code. You will of course have some restrictions compared to coding your application from scratch, but if you choose the right No-Code tool you are properly set for many years.
I’m not going to mention all the different No-Code tools available but I can recommend you to have a Talk with Maja Overgaard who is an expert in No Code.
These are the No-Code tools I have used so far.

Glide Apps

GlideApps is a great tool if you wanna ship something out quickly and you don’t have a lot of requirements for the design. Maja explained it as being the Duple (Lego) version of NoCode tools. As a database, it uses a Google Sheet, which makes it great for non-technical people. I have built great tools for personal use cases: a catalog of my favorite recipes, an event app for my birthday party, and a property rental app for my dad.


FlutterFlow is a more advanced NoCode tool, that can be used for releasing an app on App Store, Google Play, and just have a web app. This tool is optimized for mobile first, so building an administration portal will not be a great fit for this tool. But this tool comes very close to building a Flutter app (a Cross-platform framework). You can even get the code behind the FlutterFlow app exported to Flutter if you one day find out that the tool doesn't fit your needs anymore. FlutterFlow and Flutter are owned by Google and use Google Firebase as a database.

Bubble is a more advanced NoCode tool, where the learning curve is higher. If we are talking Lego terms again this is the Lego Technique version. Bubble is a great tool for web applications and you can connect the database you desire. So this could be a great fit for you if you have a more advanced data structure, need 100% control of the design, and don’t need an app.

3. An advanced MVP

When do we need to make an advanced MVP?

Are you trying to invent a new technology that never has been done before you might need to code it to prove it can be done. But often it’s not the UI that makes the difference in the beginning. What I’m trying to say is that you only need to start coding if you need a cool algorithm that does something smart, but then you can use a NoCode to make your algorithm come to life.

If you haven’t tested if your potential customers want to pay for the service you deliver, you can start by making a facade for your products and then hand-hold the functionality behind them. By doing this you can collect data on the customer’s behavior and thereby have data to attain an investment to hire developers to build the functionality behind.

I you wanna code everything from scratch take a look at my post about Starting a tech company without a tech background. Here I will take you through the things you need to consider to choose the best tech stack. 

Before launching my first tech venture, I encountered numerous fellow entrepreneurs who lacked technical skills and opted to hire consultants to develop their products. Initially, this seemed like a sound approach, especially after securing soft funding or investment.

However, a recurring issue emerged: as funds dwindled, they found themselves with unfinished products and no means to complete them. Recognizing this common pitfall, I made a strategic decision to learn the core programming language necessary for our venture, Python. Back in 2018, there wasn’t anything like NoCode. So, I had to learn other languages like TypeScript, HTML, CSS, and Dart, as we ended up in the same pitfalls.

Despite our best efforts, the learning curve associated with both coding and building a company simultaneously proved challenging, ultimately leading to the closure of our venture in 2021.
– Nanna Bach Munkholm

What I want to tell with this story is, to use your resources where they are best spent. Creating a business is not only building an MVP, it requires many skills so take the shortcuts where you can, and don’t start building a rocket if all you need is a skateboard to get you from A to B. 

Final advice on building an MVP

My advice to you my fellow entrepreneur embarking on building your Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for your startup is to always maintain a critical mindset. Continuously question the necessity of each feature and aspect, asking, “Is this truly essential to prove my idea?” By staying focused on the core elements that validate your concept, you’ll create a lean and effective MVP that efficiently serves its purpose. Remember, the goal is not to build a perfect product from the start but rather to gather crucial insights and feedback to iterate and improve upon. Stay focused, stay critical, and embrace the journey ahead with enthusiasm and determination.

Starting a Tech company without Tech background

Starting a Tech company without Tech background

Embarking on the journey of starting a company demands a diverse skill set, with basic tech skills being a crucial component. While coding your own website isn’t mandatory, a foundational understanding of navigating and utilizing software systems is essential. Many successful tech founders have proven that a tech background is not a prerequisite. Whether you collaborate with tech experts or conduct thorough research, I’m here to share fundamental terminologies and tips to guide you as you venture into starting a tech company without tech background.

The Importance of Basic Tech Skills

Navigating the realms of tech is a must, from setting up your startup to invoicing your customers. As a founder since 2014, I share a common ground with many, having embarked on this journey without a tech background, just like you. Back when I was diving into construction engineering studies, I simultaneously launched my first venture – a creative enterprise crafting handmade bags sold at craft fairs and on my webshop. Despite the artistic nature of my business, it demanded a slew of new skills, from building a Shopify website and managing social media accounts to creating visuals in Canva and handling bookkeeping in Dinero, among other essentials. See my favorite tools here.
You can of course pay others to take care of all this, but in the beginning of creating a company it may not be possible. But if I could learn it so can you!

However, it’s crucial to acknowledge the distinction between initiating a creative company and embarking on a tech-focused venture. When technology takes center stage in your startup, basic tech skills are just the tip of the iceberg; a comprehensive technological understanding of your specific field becomes imperative. Take, for instance, launching a company in the realm of Artificial Intelligence. While you may not need to be a field expert, a fundamental understanding of AI is essential to harness its full potential.

This principle holds true for starting a Software as a Service (SaaS) startup as well. While you may not be expected to code the entire software system, you must possess enough tech proficiency to make informed decisions. This involves selecting the most suitable software, choosing an appropriate tech stack, and hiring skilled technical employees. In essence, even in the tech world, the foundation lies in having basic tech skills, which is laying the groundwork for informed decision-making and successful entrepreneurship.

Basic Tech Terms for starting a Tech company

When I dove into the tech world with my first startup in 2018, I was a total newbie. I won’t lie – the learning curve was steep, and I tripped over a few tech hurdles. However, the lessons I’ve learned can now benefit you as you embark on the path of starting a Tech company without Tech background. Check out these 7 essential Tech terms that you need to know as you get started.

What is a Tech Stack?
Simply put, a tech stack is like the toolkit behind the scenes of your digital service. It includes things like the languages, tools, and systems used to build it – from how it looks to how it functions. People might have different opinions on what’s the ‘best’ tech stack, but the real key is matching it to what your service needs.

An example of a basic tech stack:

Frontend: Angular

Backend: Node.js

Database: Firebase

What is Tech specifications?

If you lack coding skills, connecting with experts is vital to bring your service to life. To ensure a successful collaboration, having a detailed tech specification is key. This document outlines the service’s purpose and its delivery requirements, encompassing both long-term goals and short-term milestones like the Minimal Viable Product (MVP). Tech specifications are invaluable for seeking advice on the tech stack, estimating timelines, and gauging costs. Although it may seem overwhelming initially, starting with what you know and gaining insights in each meeting will enhance your understanding.

What is a Frontend?

Consider the frontend as the visible part of software, such as a website with interactive buttons or an app displaying the latest news—what your customers directly engage with. When selecting a frontend, it’s crucial to tailor it to your use case. Ask yourself: Will your customers interact with the service on computers, mobiles, or both?

Here are some of my preferred frameworks:

  1. Angular or React – Ideal for web applications.
  2. Flutter – A cross-platform framework enabling applications on App Store, Google Play, and as standard websites with a single codebase.
  3. NoCode tools – Platforms like Bubble allow frontend creation without coding skills.
  4. WordPress/Shopify – Suitable for basic websites, including blogs or webshops.

Each framework has its pros and cons, but aligning your choice with your tech specifications will help you find the best fit for your needs.

What is a Backend?

Picture the backend as the intermediary, providing the frontend with the necessary information to showcase the latest news. The frontend requests, ‘Give me the 10 latest news,’ and the backend interacts with the database to retrieve and deliver 10 news articles, complete with details like images, content, and dates. This enables the frontend to present the information in a visually appealing manner.

When it comes to backend development, there’s a plethora of frameworks and languages to choose from, often influenced by developers’ preferences. Here are two  of my favorite backend frameworks:

  1. Google’s Firebase Functions – An excellent choice, especially if you opt for Firebase as your database. It supports multiple coding languages, including Typescript and Python.

  2. Node.js – Frequently used in conjunction with Typescript, Node.js pairs well with databases like MongoDB for robust backend development.

What is a Database?

A database is the place where all your data is stored. While an Excel sheet can serve as a basic database, its scalability is limited. For simple NoCode applications used internally, I often employ Google Sheets as my database. However, when scalability is a priority, careful consideration of data structure is crucial for easy retrieval.

One of my preferred databases is Firestore:

Firestore Database is known for its low learning curve and visual interface, making it user-friendly even for non-technical individuals to modify data.

Cloud Firestore is a NoSQL, document-oriented database. Unlike a SQL database, there are no tables or rows. Instead, you store data in documents, which are organized into collections. Each document contains a set of key-value pairs.


What is a Framework?

A framework is a structure that some smart developers have made, so you don’t need to set up the basics like routing, importing packages, and so on. You choose a framework based on your needs. 
Angular is a framework where you code in HTML, CSS, and Typescript, and it’s good for web applications. A similar framework is React which was created by Facebook’s developers.
I also like the Framework Flutter which can be used to build cross-platform applications  (iOS, Android, and web). In Flutter you use the coding language called Dart. 

When you are new to coding you learn Typescript or HTML, but when you develop a real application you use a framework.

What does a Full-Stack developer mean?

A Full-stack developer has the ability to code the entire technology stack, covering both the frontend and backend aspects of a software application. However, it’s important to note that being ‘full stack’ doesn’t automatically align with your specific tech stack needs. When initiating your search for a developer, focus on finding expertise in the coding languages or frameworks relevant to your intended tech stack.

I trust this guide has given you valuable insights into what it really takes to kickstart a tech company without a tech background. The journey may seem challenging, but rest assured, it’s entirely doable – you might even find yourself coding your own software! For a deeper dive into my personal journey, from starting a tech company without a tech background to a CTO and full-stack developer, explore more on my blog at Let’s keep the tech journey alive and thriving!

You look like a thing and I love you

You look like a thing and I love you

A Delightfully Wacky Dive into the World of AI

Forfatter: Janelle Shane

“You Look Like a Thing and I Love You” – Where AI Meets Whimsy

Prepare to embark on a whimsical journey through the extraordinary realm of artificial intelligence with the brilliantly fun book, “You Look Like a Thing and I Love You.” In this delightful exploration, author Janelle Shane takes you by the hand and guides you through the quirky, unexpected, and utterly entertaining aspects of AI.

Unraveling AI with a Giggle

Forget the traditional, dry explanations of AI – this book approaches the subject with a refreshing dose of humor. As you flip through its pages, you’ll find yourself chuckling at anecdotes, witty asides, and charming AI tales. “You Look Like a Thing and I Love You” proves that learning about technology doesn’t have to be a snooze-fest; it can be a laugh-out-loud adventure.

Understanding the Weirder Side of AI

AI has a knack for making the world a stranger place, and this book unveils exactly why that’s the case. It demystifies complex AI concepts in a way that feels like chatting with a witty friend over coffee. Whether it’s AI’s bizarre creations, unexpected blunders, or the uncanny ability to make sense of chaos, you’ll be entertained and enlightened.

A Must-Read for Curious Minds

Whether you’re a tech enthusiast or simply curious about AI’s influence on our lives, “You Look Like a Thing and I Love You” is a must-read. It doesn’t just break down the nuts and bolts of AI; it takes you on an enchanting journey into its heart, revealing why AI is turning our world into a wonderfully weird place.

In conclusion, this book is not your typical AI manual; it’s a celebration of the fascinating and amusing aspects of artificial intelligence. “You Look Like a Thing and I Love You” is your ticket to understanding AI while having an absolute blast. Dive in, have a laugh, and embrace the weird and wacky world of AI today!

Get your copy here

Kvinde kend din kode

Kvinde kend din kode

“Kvinde Kend Din Kode” – A Beacon of Empowerment for Women in Tech

Forfatter: Sine Zambach
As women continue to make their mark in the tech industry, “Kvinde Kend Din Kode” emerges as a powerful ally and guide, authored by the proficient web developer and blogger, Sine Zambach. This Danish book is a beacon of empowerment for women who aspire to learn coding, create websites, and develop their own apps.

Accessible Language and Practical Insights

One of the standout features of “Kvinde Kend Din Kode” is its approachable language. Zambach takes great care in ensuring that even those with no prior coding experience can grasp the concepts effortlessly. The book introduces coding in an inviting manner, making it an ideal starting point for beginners. It demystifies the world of programming and fosters a welcoming learning environment.

Hands-On Learning with Practical Exercises

What sets this book apart is its emphasis on hands-on learning. It not only explains coding principles but also offers practical exercises and examples. Readers can apply their knowledge immediately, reinforcing their understanding of coding concepts. This hands-on approach accelerates the learning curve, enabling women to gain confidence in their coding skills.

Addressing Challenges Faced by Women in Tech

“Kvinde Kend Din Kode” goes beyond coding tutorials; it addresses the unique challenges that women may encounter in the tech industry. Zambach provides invaluable guidance on overcoming these hurdles, empowering women to navigate the tech world with confidence. This inclusive approach fosters a sense of belonging and support.

A Gateway to a Tech Career

Whether you’re looking to launch a career in tech or simply want to explore coding as a hobby, this book provides a solid foundation. It equips women with the skills and knowledge they need to excel in the digital age. “Kvinde Kend Din Kode” is not just a book; it’s a roadmap to empowerment, opening doors to countless opportunities in the tech field. In conclusion, “Kvinde Kend Din Kode” by Sine Zambach is a must-read for women interested in coding, web development, and app creation. Its easy-to-understand language, practical exercises, and inclusive approach make it a vital resource for women seeking to thrive in the tech industry. This book doesn’t just teach code; it inspires and empowers women to embrace the world of technology with confidence and determination. Get your copy here