Building a Startup “in the Open” for 4 weeks

Craig Dunk
2 min readApr 17, 2023
Building the airplane (startup) as falling, but now more openly and with a deadline

I am intending to “build in the open” the first stage of a startup over the next 4 weeks. Why am I building in the open now and sharing the story?

The first reason is that my focus is in a market segment that is early and is dynamic, and additionally is in a subject matter area that I am still ramping up and getting smarter on. In that situation I benefit disproportionately from input and from the process of structuring my thoughts. The second reason is that many aspects of this journey are ones I _am_ experienced in so others may find the framing I use to be relevant to their own thinking.

In the past I have tended to lean generally towards building in the open as it applies to inside an organization. For example just habits like default open slack channels can convery both collaboration willingness and openness to feedback. I have occasionally worked on building in the open outward facing from the org when we have creative commons licensed our competencies and published them on GitHub.

In this particular case my reasoning is specifically:

  • I anticipate this to be more effective when it comes to awareness. The partners, employees, and early advisors that can give help or input are tremendously valuable and this can reduce barriers.
  • My perception has been that the costs of losing control of information early on is very modest. Ideas are easy, execution is hard as the quote goes. And I think the ability of startups to “appear larger than they are” is more limited than founders believe at the moment they are attempting this.
  • There is a cultural aspect to this and that I think could be influential in the org as it grows. In the past I have been advocating openness across a number of areas, for example for public salary bands at orgs I have been part of — and a company that built its early business plan in the open is more likely to be able to engage in that kind of decisions.
  • Sharing in this way creates social commitment and accountability mechanisms that can benefit progress on the project.

Some intended takeaways:

  • Specific goals are valuable — mine is not yet well enough defined so I need to get tighter on what the goal at 4 weeks looks like
  • The advantage of startups is not volume of work it is ability to avoid inertia — working in the open could accelerate that. Related is that the goals should feel very near.
  • It could be worth experimenting with whatever life/approach hacks moves you forward effectively — even if it is a path less traveled or feels like there is some risk.

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Craig Dunk

Tech leader, speculative fiction fan, parent to adult children, and a big fan of camp fires.