In my social circle I know a lot of entrepreneurs, programmers, doers, and executers. Some of these people have more development oriented backgrounds (developers and programmers). These are the people who can build what they dream or at least a working demo/prototype/minimal viable product and get it out the door (myself included). Personally I am of the mindset of launch guns blazing and ask questions later. The problem that we run into is that we launch the product and nobody knows about, nobody uses it and it languishes in startup limbo.
Too often we lament that if we only had a business guy this would be all good. The reason is that we (and I don’t mean to generalize) suck at planning, selling, promoting, marketing, and doing all the other tasks necessary of a business other than designing and building a product. Just like the idea guy who’s in search for his Mark Zuckerberg (see how it ended for Zuckerberg’s original business partner), developer types may also feel the need for a business guy who will sprinkle some magic business sauce on their product and somehow make it successful.
It’s funny to me that some people who want to be entrepreneurs are not really interested at all in building a business but are more interested in just developing a product. That’s equivalent to an idea person who wants to be a software entrepreneur who refuses to learn about software. A business is more than just a product and has multiple moving parts that an entrepreneur has to be aware of. Building a great product is but a piece of it. These are some of the lessons I am slowly learning in my journey as an entrepreneur. Yes having an unhealthy obsession about the product design and user experience is important, but there’s more to a successful business than just that.
The problem of us techie types in finding the business guy is not all too dissimilar from the business guy in search of the techie. If we do not know exactly what the other does and just treat them as a commodity or a means to our end, we will never successfully find our counterpart. That’s because we have no basis on how to judge them. How do we call bullshit? It’s really hard to if you have no clue what the other person does or what their deliverables are and what goes on behind the curtains.
I think the key to this problem is to know enough to ask intelligent questions and establish success metrics and goals. This also means that the techie software guy needs to get their hands and feet wet with “business” and doing all that is required of a successful business in order to learn what exactly he needs help with.
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