February 13, 2017
What’s common amongst the founders of Google, Facebook, Snapchat, WhatsApp etc.? All of them are from a technical background. There is a reason for that. A startup is all about solving a problem in the most efficient manner. Techies are the problem solvers. Breaking complex problems into small manageable ones is their bread and butter. Failure for them is just a bug, which is worth solving again.
Building a good team often is most critical
A founder's individual skills are important but what's more important is that person's ability to bring a bigger and more experienced team with them.
Although the times when just the presence of a branded techie would land you colossal funding are gone, a tech team is still the backbone of any startup. Any up and coming startup has limited re-sources. You don’t need a perfectionist. You need one who knows alternative solutions and decide the best considering all the constraints. A fraternity of experienced employees who may have col-laborated in the past can initiate a smooth operation and hit the ground running.
Product guy, one we all hate!
Product managers are the unsung heroes in startups and most, in Indian startups, fail to understand this. Not defining the Product Manager’s role clearly in a startup, and finding the right guy as quickly as possible is a mistake.
A lot of startup CEOs are great visionaries but not good at product execution. Considering, they have a lot of responsibilities including funding, business and recruitment, you need a team which can translate vision to thorough execution. Critical to the role are - connecting with users, understanding business requirements and prioritizing the features.
It took me some time to understand why we need to have separate tech and product teams. I have been working on iOS applications for almost 3 years now. While having discussions over upcoming features and UI/UX, we don’t realize that as techies we prefer quick and easy implementation over user and business requirement. It’s hard to accept but this is how it is.
On the other hand product guy needs an understanding of tech to understand the possibilities and limitations of technology. They have to be able to involve themselves in technical discussions, and make sure the engineers and developers aren’t getting caught up in tech-weeds.
Tech to transcend barriers
If the problem is ubiquitous, so will be the product that solves. But sadly, that is not the case with Indian startups. Only few have crossed the boundaries of India. Let me cite the case of our start up. Everyone wants to be fit and most of the people around the world have similar basic requirements for that. But all Indian fitness startups are only focusing on Indian market. So at Fitso, we decided to go beyond geographical boundaries, take on global leaders in Fitness field and build a product which is as useful for an American as it is for an Indian. We had our share of success and failure, but we sure have broken the mental barrier of Indian startups, just because of tech!