Starting A Tech Business Alex Cowan Pdf Download
Abdulrahman Al-zanki, a 14-year-old Kuwaiti boy, is on his way to a million downloads of his iPhone application Doodle Destroy. Abdulrahman used ready-made game-authoring software and sold his product through the iTunes store to a prequalified audience of millions. His first version took about two weeks. Though Abdulrahman is not your average 14-year-old, the point is that he didn't need access to vast development and distribution resources to achieve success in a tech business. The opportunities are real, and they are available to you now.
starting a tech business alex cowan pdf download
The fact that you've picked up this book means that you likely have an interest in starting a technology-enabled business, which may mean launching a new company or reengineering your existing company. The point is that you have an idea, you wonder whether you should pursue it, and, if you do, how you'll go about it.
It's been obvious for years that technology is transforming existing businesses and creating new ones. Technology-enabled businesses offer one of the today's best available ways to create wealth, and the ability to apply technology is what separates an industry's winners from its losers. The exciting part is that while a decade ago the barriers to creating a technology-enabled business required a pole vault, they've now lowered to where a determined step in the right direction is enough to get started.
The key for a businessperson is to know what you want and be able to describe it. The technology required for your particular business may be as simple as an iPhone application or as complex as a web of interconnected subsystems. Regardless, successful execution follows a set of established patterns requiring the following:
Computer technology has completed a kind of arc over the past 50 years, returning to a place that makes it accessible to the untrained tinkerer. There were many novices in computing's early days; and though experts dealt with the specialized hardware, the lines between user and developer blurred. As a result, many individuals tinkered with these new machines. Over the next few decades, the computer business grew and deep subspecializations emerged. Specialization has been the norm up until recently; however, the underlying power of available computing resources has allowed software/systems developers to operate at increasingly higher levels of abstraction. This means that it's less important to understand the lower-level details of the system. Instead, the casual tinkerer can use fairly intuitive tools to prototype and build new technologies. The chapters that follow provide several examples of this.
Of course, this doesn't mean you have to tinker to be successful with your tech business; it's still common to leave the details to specialists. If there's one thing I hope this book helps you do, it's to start a successful technology business. But if it can help you do two things, I hope the second is to release your inner tinkerer. If you're intimidated, keep in mind that Steve Jobs did not have an engineering degree, and going back a bit further, neither did Eli Whitney, who revolutionized agriculture with his cotton gin.
If you have an idea for a technology-enabled business, you should read this book to prepare yourself and then you should go for it. Success is probably not nearly as distant or as difficult or as you think.
One key driver is the availability of interchangeable software parts. During the Industrial Revolution 1.0, the availability of interchangeable parts drove down the cost of manufacturing and led to increasing specialization and diversity. For example, whereas pre-Industrial Revolution rifle makers would go out and chop their own timber, mill their own stocks, cast their own barrels, and assemble the whole package, specialists in stocks, barrels, assembly, and so on, emerged over the course of the Industrial Revolution. Software is undergoing the same transition. The typical software development process today is much more about evaluating building blocks and assembling them than starting from a blank sheet of paper: We might even call it Industrial Revolution 2.0. The great thing about this transformation for the businessperson is that it is changing the focus of successful technology-enabled ventures, making them more about having a great idea than being one of the few firms with the resources and money to build a piece of software. Industrial Revolution 2.0 means that you can view technology as a means to your end, now more than ever.
Another large industry shift is the evolution from an environment where most applications run locally on a user's PC to one where most applications run in the cloud with users accessing them through a browser or on a mobile device. For example, you can access spreadsheet applications that resemble Microsoft Excel online using Google Apps. Users spend hours per month using applications they download onto their mobile phones with a few simple clicks. What this means for the businesspeople is they no longer have to get a prospective customer to grab their application off a shelf, pay for it, and install it on their PC to have them try it. They can try it with just a few clicks while browsing online. This substantially lowers the barrier to entry and cost of customer acquisition for new applications.
This chapter describes techniques to formulate and then quickly and effectively reality test a new product idea. We perform several reality tests on Enable Quiz, identifying assumptions that are critical to its success, and determining what it will take to support those assumptions with proven facts. We review platforms you can use in starting the business and start thinking about what to look for in early customers.
Next, you have to saddle the Racehorse of Blind Progress. The Racehorse of Blind Progress charges ahead in the face of evidence it's headed in the wrong direction. There's some equine in all of us, and there's something comforting about fixing on a goal and just charging towards it. But in a startup tech business, hard work and traditional business planning methods aren't enough. You're operating in an environment of uncertainty. You must lay out the business assumptions you need to test and methodically work toward validating them or (and this is the critical part) you must quickly change course if they're proving invalid.
Once you've designed your product, you need to figure out how to build it. The Python of Monolithic Architecture is a dangerous creature, strangling businesses with overly complex and expensive product implementations. More than ever, successful high-tech products are pack animals. They leverage complementary products to build their own company's product, rather than constructing the whole thing from scratch. If you build a social game as a stand-alone product on your own website and your competitor builds a similar game on Facebook, who do you think will win more users? The keys here are identifying how you can leverage the best of what your technology ecosystem has to offer, incorporating standard piece parts, and using your expertise to add value on top of them.
We'll discuss differences in background, perspective, and personality between engineers and business-people. We'll go through key job roles that Enable Quiz (and most any tech business) needs to fill. As preparation for interviewing potential new hires, we'll review different personality types common among engineers and how to identify them in an interviewee using selected interview questions. Instead of hiring individual employees or contractors, you may also be considering third-party firms to take on parts of the project. We'll cover an evaluation framework for third-party development firms. The chapter closes with an overview of the pros and cons of offshoring, and whether offshoring is the right thing for your company.
Beta is a controlled release of your product to a select set of customers. At this point, you confront an adversary that's done in more than one technology-enabled business: The Hydra of Operational Readiness. Slice off one head from the Hydra and two appear in its place. Without a formulaic approach to slaying the Hydra, your hard work is unlikely to deliver much in the way of results. With many high-tech businesses, running a strong operation is as important as having great technology. Strong operations start with processes that link the company's strategic objectives to employees' daily work.
Thinking of starting a technology-enabled business? Or maybe you just want to increase your technology mojo so you can do your job better? You do not need to learn programming to participate in the development of today's hottest technologies. But there are a few easy-to-grasp foundation concepts that will help you engage with a technical team. Starting a Tech Business explains in practical, actionable terms how to
Even if you have a desire to learn to program (and I highly recommend doing whatever unlocks your 'inner tinkerer'), these foundation concepts will help you target what exactly you want to understand about hands-on technology development. While a decade ago the barriers to creating a technology-enabled business required a pole vault, getting started today only requires a determined step in the right direction. Starting a Tech Business supplies the tools prospective entrepreneurs and business enterprises need to avoid common pitfalls and succeed in the fast-paced world of high-tech business. Successful execution requires thoughtful, evidence-based product formulation, well-articulated design, economic use of systems, adaptive management of technical resources, and empathetic deployment to customers. Starting a Tech Business offers practical checklists and frameworks that business owners, entrepreneurs, and professionals can apply to any tech-based business idea, whether you're developing software and products or beginning a technology-enabled business. You'll learn:
The distribution of the different kinds of inventors over time is presented in Fig. 5. In both technologies, New Inventors are the largest group. This is persistent over time, indicating that there is a high number of new people starting inventive activity in these technologies. Furthermore, since inventions are a rare event, a considerable amount has only one invention, or they change their focus and continue their inventive activity in other domains (Menon 2011). Related Inventors are the second biggest group in both technologies. But in WP, Unrelated Inventors have a high share in the early years, indicating an experimental phase. Specialized Inventors are the smallest group in both technologies, indicating that specialization in one technology does not take place that much. Further information about the number of patents per inventor and the overall number of inventors is provided in Appendix A.4.