I received a call today from an entrepreneur with a new start-up idea. He was concerned because he doesn’t understand the nuts-and-bolts of the technology that will be required to launch his business, so he asked me where to start. In his situation, the technology for implementing the idea was not proprietary or even critical to the execution. These days technology is often a commodity used to execute a business concept. For example, if your business model involves an eCommerce or social media site there are so many “out of the box” technologies that can be uniquely customized to execute the business idea it simply isn’t necessary for the entrepreneur to dig deeply into the technology, a basic understanding is sufficient.
The entrepreneur who called me would get more value and productivity out of hiring experts to build the back-end and front-end of his idea rather than trying to figure out how to manage doing it himself. The highest and best use of his limited time and energy is to fully flesh out the idea, develop prototypes, create the brand, refine the user experience, and, of course, figure out how his idea will attract users and generate revenue. Even though he’s starting an online business, the technology driving that business will not be what makes or breaks the new company. It is the viability of the business model.