There are 10 kinds of people. That’s binary by the way, meaning there are two kinds of people: those who are techies and those who are not. Luckily, it isn’t that black and white. Everyone has to understand the basics and be at least a bit techie to get around in the information society and use various services and products.
This has everything to do with being a startup entrepreneur in any scene, especially in tech scene. You need to be able to build your dreams and the team while understanding what you are aiming at. I think that a quote said a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away is very appropriate to emphasize that you do need to understand tech, there is no try at that.
My name is Mikko and my role in MikkeliES is to connect tech with people and vice versa. That includes relations with organizations and companies as well as organizing hackathons, code schools and other events. I’m spreading the word of technology and making sure people are and will be the focus. My day job in Mikkeli University of Applied Sciences (MAMK) research and development projects supports this role and I’m happy to connect the students and staff of MAMK with MikkeliES. In addition to technology know-how becoming a civic skill in the information society, it has become crucial in making startups. Here are some reasons.
In order to innovate new products and services or shake the existing status quo with disruptive business you need to understand what to shake and how. It could require knowing how to develop nerdy things. Do you think Netflix or Spotify could have been made into business with no understanding about protected streaming of audio and video? That sounds like technology to me. And nerdy things can be quite cool. How about iPhone or Jolla which are basically piece of hardware and software?
Building a prototype or demo is much easier and faster if you or your team can do it yourself. Having a technology or visual demo is very useful for pitching for possible partners and funders. This leads to communications and money. What could be more important?
There needs to be no language barriers between techies and non-techies. Designing or building anything will become much faster and easier. And believe me, with lot less frustration on both sides. In addition, there is outsourcing and the difficulty of defining what you want. Do you think you’re able to estimate if you’re getting value for your money or no? Perhaps little knowledge on development wouldn’t hurt.
One of the biggest potential for business will be the Internet of Things (IoT). In brief, devices or embedded hardware can be connected to the Internet and share data. It enables all kinds of magic from industry and home automation to added value to basically anything and completely new services. Just imagine motion sensors in your house turning lights on and off based on your movement to save energy. And while you are away, based on your smart phone’s GPS, the same sensors would turn into a burglar alarm which automatically informs the local police in case of intruder. Companies which have nothing to do with technology are trying hard to get their share. Understanding IoT or any other future potential will become more and more connected with technology. Of course there are services and products for non-technical contexts but in the end they all require building blocks which are related to that.
However, founding a startup is not rocket science (unless you’re founding a rocket company) and you don’t need to be all programmers. But you need to be able to understand and support them. There is no try at that.