One dilemma startup founders usually go through is whether they should develop more technical skills or better business skills. If you are a founder yourself, you may have encountered such a dilemma before. It therefore wasn’t surprising when there was such a heated debate during the tech meetup we had on Saturday, 29th October.
Before the discussion however, a presentation on the topic was delivered by Emmanuel Appiah, founder and CTO of Addtify. He however focused on common challenges founders encounter and what they need to do to stay motivated.
Now, the discussion begins…
While some strongly believed that you needed to build more technical competence to take the business off the ground, others were of the entrenched opinion that without the needed business skills, the startup would remain just a startup and not a business. After several minutes of argument in favour of both sides, we gradually came to realize there wouldn’t be a “business” without each other.
At the end of the meetup, almost all of us came to the conclusion that a number of factors influence the decision of either developing more technical skills or better business skills. Here are the factors suggested by participants:
The need of the time – A startup founder may have to develop business skills if that is what is needed. Same applies to tech skills.
Complementary skills – When startup team members have diverse skills that include both relevant technical and business skills, the dilemma becomes almost non-existent.
Partnership – If a startup founder does not have the needed technical or business skills, it may be advisable to find a co-founder or partner with a competent individual that shares similar values with the founder.
Founders’ Background and Interests – Depending on the backgrounds and interests of founders, they may decide which skill to develop.
So in the end, we found out that there was no “one-size-fits-all” answer to the question of developing more technical skills or building better business skills – it is largely situation-dependant. To the majority of participants, their dilemma was put to rest but to a few others, since there was no one straight answer, their dilemma continues.