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  • The Technical Entrepreneur’s Conundrum

    I’m going to be zoning in on the tech industry for this post in a bid to drive my point home, simply because there aren’t that many industries in which it’s practically possible to literally be a Jack-of-all-trades in an attempt to master them all. Also, if we speak specifically of the kind of tech start-ups which take the mould of the typical Silicon Valley venture, basically all that is needed is a computer at which one can sit and write code.

    Of course it’s not that simple because there’s the requirement to fund one’s very existence. In other words, you need to eat in order to stay alive, albeit as a coder you’ll probably find it easier to feed yourself on a variety of cereals so that you can save time and allocate the bulk of your time to your coding exploits. You also need the other basics of life, such as shelter, running water and anything else which forms part of the sustenance of human life.

    It all costs money though, which is where the so-called “burn” or “runway” comes into play. That’s just money which is available to the team working on a start-up to sustain their existence while they work on getting their venture off the ground. During this start-up phase the likelihood is that no money comes in, in the form of income, which is why there’s always an initial investment required.

    Now, getting back to the conundrum the typical technical entrepreneur finds themselves having to navigate – considering everything I mentioned about what goes into building the solution you’re working on as part of your venture, the technical entrepreneur often doubles up as the chief technical figure driving the completion of the actual technical work as well as the Chief Executive Officer who effectively has to play the role of rainmaker – this in addition to making all the key final decisions along the way, of course.

    Oftentimes the CEO and founder of a tech start-up assumes all the different roles of what the company is all about, which means that you might pick up the phone and call up the receptionist to perhaps make an appointment with the CEO, only to find that that same receptionist you spoke with on the phone is the CEO who walks in through the door of your boardroom to meet with you and discuss whatever it is which forms part of the agenda.

    Consequently, the technical entrepreneur’s typical venture takes years and years to actually get to market, or it just takes a considerable amount of time. This is because the founder often decides that instead of outsourcing any aspect of the development of their solution, they can do it in-house, themselves!

    Fortunately though this is often limited to the tech industry where the core product or service offering is some kind of technology. I mean imagine if the folks over at City Property Management decided just a couple of their earliest co-founders were going to take it upon themselves to develop every single aspect of their HOA management solutions suite themselves!

    Homeowners Association management would be a real nightmare…