OnStartups.com offers a short explanation of the importance of usability to a startup's prospects, framed as an argument that founders should be developers first, and usability experts second.
#1. Developer. If a web startup has only one founder, it should be a brilliant developer. And by a developer, I mean a developer — someone who can produce, release and maintain working code. Not a CTO or “architect”. Not someone who thinks they can recruit developers or someone who knows someone who runs a development shop in Croatia. An actual developer.
#2. Designer / UI / UX person. If the startup has two founders, the other founder should be a brilliant designer-type. By this, I mean someone that can take a problem that humans have and come up with a software solution that humans want to use — repeatedly and delightedly. I think great design talent has always been useful in a software company — now, it’s become crucial.
#3. Inbound Marketer. If the startup has three founders, the third one should be an inbound marketer. An inbound marketer is someone who is good at pulling people in (vs. pushing a message out). I decidedly don’t mean someone that’s good at spending a marketing budget on advertising to try and find people that are interested. I mean someone that will create remarkable content that will attract traffic, users and customers.
#4. Sales Person. If there’s a fourth founder on the team (which I’m not a big fan of by the way), it might be useful to have a sales person. And, remember, startups don’t need a VP of Sales — they need actual sales.
Curiously, other than mentioning its effect on sales, the article overlooks the benefits of usability to cash flow. Viral word-of-mouth, increased sign-up rate, reduced churn, and lower support costs, all stretch your startup dollar farther. This is why startup needs a business co-founder. Your usability won't get used if you don't have the cash flow to let users keep using...