Posted: 2008-07-29 19:15:00
Shortcut URL: http://t.conquent.com/FD00
Conquent's prospects are looking for someone to build complex websites. Unfortunately, that means we compete with tool users for construction jobs, when what we really do is more architectural.
The process is completely backwards in this business. People come to me looking for a specific technological product before they figure out the details of what they want to say. Let alone a core business philosophy to drive the company.
Think of it this way -- you hire someone to build a great restaurant for you in a bucolic setting. You know you don't have sewer or water, but you figure once the restaurant is up and running you'll be able to pay to have it hooked up. Oh, and you don't know how to cook.
If I'm just the builder, I don't have the opportunity to review your credentials, business plan, or, really, check out your story. Now, I'm stuck telling you that there's no way I can finish the job because we can't hook up the plumbing, which you assured me would be there.
Not only that, as I work with you, I slowly lose faith that you can even make a restaurant work as I learn how little of your plan actually exists. This makes it harder to get the crew excited enough to come up with innovative ideas to work around the problems, and the project is likely to wither.
Oh, and then there's the expectation that the painter will be able to fix your plumbing problem, but let's leave that aside...
The flaw with the entrepreneurial market is that inexperience and seat of the pants development is the norm, to the point that a 23 year old kid is offered millions for an untested technology. The bank wouldn't loan someone with no restaurant experience money, but the VC and Angel world still hands money out to techies with no business experience and little resume.
What's worse is how people invest their own money, and their relatives' money, into tech companies with no tech people. That's where Conquent has come in many times -- we get hired to actually build the vague idea that the non-technical, non-business person has talked other non-technical, non-business friends and family out of money.
So, the unanswered question sits on my desk: how do I position my company on the front end of the process, helping people design their businesses before they go down technical dead ends?