How long do you think a piece of software lasts for.

The answer to that is much longer than you think.

For example, Instagram is 13 years old. Google maps is 18 years old. Snapchat is 12 years old. Netflix is 16 years old.

Bill Gates is credited with saying that people overestimate what they can do in a year, but underestimate what they can do in ten years.

Software fits into that because software lasts way longer than people intuitively think it does. Well the reality is that no one thinks about how long software lasts for.

But if you are building software for your startup or scaleup, when the developer sits down and writes that code, the lifespan of that code is 10 to 15 years. i.e. a decision you make today with regards to that feature or module or plugin or design, that will still continue to have an effect on the business in over a decade and a half time.

This is critical for non-technology founders get this advice hammered into them by the community of people supporting them that has a very short-term focus – build it, try it, pivot, try it again. i.e. what you do today doesn’t matter.

That’s contrary to the effect you actually want, which is to be making good long-term decisions. You as a founder need to get very good very quickly at making decisions have long-term impacts, because everything you build will live longer than you think.

Don’t get sucked into short-term thinking at any stage. The decisions you make today will have a big impact in the long-term, regardless of what anyone tells you.