What does the business guy do before the big launch?
I have seen this question come up from time to time in tech startup circles. Typically, tech startups are very engineering focused. Many of them don’t have a dedicated ‘business guy’, and the culture of tech startups (at least in the Valley) is engineering first. In other words, grow engineers into business guys, not the other way around. Nonetheless, many startups start with a business guy on board and there are sometimes questions about what this person should be doing if they don’t know how to code.
Typically the answer is ‘Learn how to code.’ There are lots of resources around to help non technical people learn how to code, I will cover some ways that non-technical people can add value outside of the code.
1. Customer Discovery
2. Customer Validation
3. Market Research
4. Creative (Or Creative Management)
5. Competitive Advantage Assertion
Many companies, especially larger corporations, wait until a product is completely perfect (in their eyes) before taking it to market. This, however, doesn’t always net the best results. Think of the many products that get recalled, along with their own healthy dose of negative PR.
A better alternative is to fail fast. Launch a product, even if it’s half-baked, and see what happens.
In the book Little Bets by Peter Sims, the author quotes Pixar director Andrew Stanton as saying: “My strategy has always been: be wrong as fast as we can.”
There’s some truth to this. It’s easier to make little tweaks to discovered issues than it is to try to be perfect to begin with. Small tweaks are better than larger ones that take years to discover.
And so, I say, don’t fear failure. We only have to look at the world’s billionaires to prove the point that we all fail before we fly. Your product is no different. You may think it’s the bee’s knees, but someone somewhere will find fault with it. Better to find it out today than next year.
Photo: Flickr user griffithchris. Creative Commons 2.0.