Tech, Non-Tech and All That

By and large, in the startup space and media, startups, VC funding, and the entire ecosystem is more or less is assumed to be about technology, software products, code, platforms, etc.

In real life, entrepreneurship is all about businesses, deals, real needs.

VCs go right ahead and fund companies based on a product seen (despite what they claim) and more or less hope the team will learn about the actual business they are engaged in serving. A travel portal is more about travel and the food chain in the industry, and less about the technology powering it. Very few software businesses are about usage of the software itself - BaseCamp etc come to mind.

However, when funding non-IT businesses, a question about the team's lack of experience will promptly raised! How's a bunch of guys who can write code to create a site tracking brand reviews more equipped to understand branding, brand management budgets, advertising, than, say, a geek starting a restaurant is to having a good knowledge of how that space works ? Yet, the ecosystem does look at both differently!

I am hardly suggesting that people start doling out cash to geeks starting restaurants, or getting into hospitality randomly, but quite the opposite. When we stitch up teams to create businesses, and write up plans and models, and invest in these companies, we consider the business cases, needs, and think of the software as infrastructure that is needed for the execution of that business. The search engine that managed to then grow an advertising business just happened, and chasing that as a model is fraught with dangers.

First, figure out the business first. Next, whether its interesting enough for you through its ups and downs, and does running it have by-products that make it worth it for you?

And if you understand and relate to the above it, does not matter whether you want to code it or not, or build the house, or cook the food. Those are details. Details which can make or break the business, and must be executed right, for sure. But they come after you've figured out the business, and your passion for it. Technology itself - the love of it, or the need to create it freely - cannot be a healthy, sustainable enough basis for entrepreneurship for a large percentage of cases.

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