Monday, June 11, 2007

Technology vs Business Case

Coming from technical background we all tend to think with our technological spectacles. When someone asks us simple questions like btw who is your customer and how are you going to sell this thing, we tend to fumble. Our thoughts start from cool things we can achieve with technology at hand and tend to end with how users will benefit from it. Which means user perspective is sometimes the last thought on our mind. After talking to plenty of people in the industry I came to realise that this phenomenon is not only limited to us technical people, we have been able to successfully infect all the marketing ,sales and finance guys who work with us as well. You know what if you look at some funded companies in India you may get the feeling that VCs love cool technologies too. (see all the funded companies in the area of IMS, WiMax, and so on...)

BTW here is a nice article explaining the advantages of ignorance in start-ups.(wink)

As usual there is other school of thought from people coming from non technical backgrounds like finance, marketing, sales or people who have really seen the world and know many things.These guys tend to believe that an idea should start from a business case, we need to know what is the market, whom and how we can sell our product and eventually how we can make money from it from the beginning. Like someone told me the other day, you can do a start-up in two ways first, where you do what you love to do and believe in it, this way you may succeed but chances are low. Other way is where you try to know as much as possible in advance and then be flexible enough to start loving something which you know will sell, this way you may not be an outright success, but the chances are more that you will not fail completely.

Now with time, I have come to realise that the later kind of people do have a valid point after all. It is eventually how you want to do your start-up. If you do it as a business, you should listen to these guys and should create something which you know will sell from the beginning. But if you are doing it for your own pleasure, you can have a luxury of venturing in to something completely unknown.Here is a nice read about mindset of current bunch of entrepreneurs from Sramana Mitra.

Obviously the best case scenario is that these two kind of people converge on something they are both really convinced about and that's when you get the Woz and Jobs combination.

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