Succeeding in any competitive environment requires having basic traits or advantages that your competitors do not have. The same premise applies to the global tech industry. There are plenty of people with ferocious work ethic, tremendous technical expertise, strong connections and a vision of what they want to accomplish. With such competition, how can you succeed? The key is to look at where most people fail.
One – Keep the Vision Simple
Start with simple challenges that need to be addressed by your technology.
People will typically start off with goals that are too grandiose or theoretical. That’s what investors ask for. Rather than focusing on simple things that users need, the goal is to create a platform that will disrupt, revolutionize, re-imagine or shake-up an entire industry. That’s also what’s most attractive. But it’s also a road that will lead to a high failure rate. It does not matter if your vision is sexy and attractive or not. What matters is if people have the problem that you can fix and if they are willing to pay for that.
Two – Take One Step at a Time
Again. Take the megalomania and tuck it away. Keep overhead low. Hire as little as possible and allow your product vision to mature naturally. Once it generates initial traction, the product will catapult revenues and allow you to make smart decisions around budget allocation. But don’t give in to the temptation of looking for things that reaffirm your abilities such as nice office space, and expensive advisors and consultants. Focus on having a product that works and that people know about which brings me to point three.
Three – Make sure people know about it
There is no use for great technology if people don’t know about it. How you will get people to know about it is an entirely different subject. But make sure you emphasize and understand digital marketing just as much as you understand product development. Start with a small but energetic and enthusiastic community and build from there. Just remember that from a budget and prioritization standpoint this is as important as the product itself.
Four – Even though the aim may be global, start local
Similar to the one step at a time point. Even though you may have an ultimate global end-game to your product development. Make sure you start by addressing a single market first. The region focused the better. Then roll out to other regions slowly and adjust accordingly prior to a big global roll-out. In my experience, different parts of the world, the country, the state and even a city may react very differently to the same concepts. Don’t push too much for a global approach. If the product has the fundamental qualities available, it will naturally become global.
Five – Be Hands On
Don’t rely too much on an incipient organization. Even if you have great people, be sure to be involved in key processes, to challenge people and introduce checks and balances throughout the organization. Make sure things are moving at your speed and insert yourself wherever you believe your presence is necessary. Don’t get hung up on organizational charts, roles and responsibilities. Just make things happen!
Six – Establish a Culture Early On
As a natural consequence of your engagement, your unique company culture will start to mold. Do you like solving things collectively or individually? Do you like abrasive or tender discussions, long or short meetings, laughter or just down to business. What are your values? And not from a theoretical perspective but from actual behavioral analysis. This lucidity is paramount towards building a successful organization.
Seven – Don’t stop innovating
The minute you have reached goal number one, rest-assured it’s already obsolete. Continue to establish new goals, new visions and new dreams. Continue to adjust according to market and user response. Continue to pivot based on insights and revelations. Don’t give in to the temptation of making it. There is no such thing. Making it is a daily achievement.
The common thread is that people get excessively hung up on business models, concepts and theory and rely little on their empirical data to make key business decisions. A no nonsense, down to earth approach towards these challenges and taking it one step at a time is pivotal in terms of building a global and successful tech organization.