So picture this scene.
I just had a conversation with a startup founder who was explaining how his technology would revolutionise the food industry. After a solid 20 minutes, I asked him about his team and how he planned to scale that effectively across the region if his company grew. He proceeded to explain how people weren’t crucial to his business because automation had reached a stage that anyone can scale without the hassle of hiring, training and the pains of scaling.
After a spirited discussion, we parted ways with me telling him that he was wrong and he being adamant that he was right.
Obviously, we need to have another discussion about that later, but it got me thinking. Do we love technology a little too much that we ignore the fact that businesses are much more than the technology and systems we build?
Can you manage more than one business effectively?
There is already an over-reliance on technology
We are on our phones, computers and other devices pretty much every waking hour. I used to collect hardbacks, now I have a kindle, so why collect books.
The impact of technology on our lives has infected the way we see business now. The person I mentioned before isn’t in any way a one-off. There seems to be a growing movement amongst the entrepreneurial community that focuses on technology without understanding how a real business works.
I actually blame the influx of VC money into the region for this, because raising too much money before you’ve taken your product or service to market might constrain an entrepreneur into thinking he doesn’t need to focus on building his company when he can focus on building his technology.
Tech founders vs non-tech founders
I love Silicon Valley, but you can see how technical founders view non-tech founders. The one thing that most business-focused founders have over their tech-focused peers is that they often have the experience required to do a few things that, I don’t know, might be important to a growing company:
- Go-to-market strategies
- Building customer acquisition and retention models
- Administrative things that make companies not go bankrupt
We discuss the type of bosses we’d rather have
Is there a solution?
I think better education and maybe a little less cheerleading and more teaching would help. We, the media, often evangelise the industry and sing the praises of startups without fully taking them to task when they make mistakes.
The number of times we’ve seen very avoidable blunders that lose VCs and startups millions of dollars is terrifying, so we need to look at helping the next generation of founders understand what it really means to run a business.
I think Tech Collective will never stop being a fan of the startup industry, but maybe being a fan means sometimes we need to ‘boo’ them a little bit if we feel they aren’t quite playing to the best of their ability.
Tech Collective Talks is a new segment where we discuss matters that our partners, startup founders, and staff feel is important enough to spend time around it. We discuss it as a group and from it, we craft a story to share with our readers.
If you’ve got something on your mind, drop us a note here and we’ll see if we can include it in the next session.