Welcome to the Tech for Non-Techies podcast

111. B2C vs B2B start-ups

The biggest difference between business to business and consumer facing ventures is how they grow. The growth curve and costs of B2B vs B2C growth is what surprises (and sinks) many start-ups.

Learning notes from this episode:

  • Business to consumer start-ups growth through paid marketing. If you launch a consumer app on the Apple App Store, expect to pay around 40% of the money you raise on Facebook advertising.
  • Business to business start-ups grow through sales. Sales is much more dependent on relationships and human interaction, than digital marketing. 
  • In the early stages of a B2B start-up's life, the founder is usually the one doing sales outreach.
  • Both approaches have serious costs. Do not make the mistakes that because marketing requires money and sales requires elbow grease, that sales is free. Always remember opportunity cost: if you are doing something, you are not doing something else.

 

 

Listen here on Apple Podcasts

Listen here on Spotify

...
Continue Reading...

100. My story: ambition, tech and the camel incident

Today, I’m doing something a bit different. As our smart community grows, I know that some of you might not know much about me, my story or how I got into this tech thing.

That’s why today, I’m sharing a little bit about me.

I’m sharing this with you so that you can see that the confusion you feel about tech, or the fear that your lack of tech knowledge will be discovered, does not have to be your permanent reality. I want you to see from my example that there are many more opportunities for you than you probably think.

You will also learn what not to wear when riding a camel.

Summary notes from this episode:

  • I always wanted to have a great career, but when I graduated in 2005, tech wasn't what it is today. I started my career in the media, then worked in private equity and became a non-technical founder after my MBA.
  • I planned to use my MBA to transition into a career in tech, but this was harder than I thought. Business school gave me business skills...
Continue Reading...

97. How I built Make Love Not Porn - with Cindy Gallop

Would you leave a high flying career in advertising to set up an adult content site? Most people wouldn't, but Cindy Gallop is not most people.

After leading one of the world's top advertising agencies, BBH in the United States. Cindy decided to try her hand at tech entrepreneurship. Her venture, Make Love Not Porn, is in the new category of "social sex" and aims to revolutionise how people talk, share and watch sex. 

As a non-technical founder of an adult content business, Cindy had to learn how to work with developers, get users despite being banned by advertisers and create a troll free online environment.

Learning notes from this episode:

  • "You don't have to be a tech person to build something absolutely phenomenal in tech," says Cindy. Instead, you need a strong vision, the right team and the determination to keep going. 
  • "You do not need a technical co-founder from the beginning." In fact, delegating your vision to the tech person simply because they...
Continue Reading...

95. Top mistakes non-technical founders make in UX design

Design is often at the core for why products go viral or flop. But, how can you tell good design from bad right at the start? How do you hire the right people and avoid costly mistakes?

That’s what you’ll learn on this episode.

Learning notes:

  • User experience designers, not developers, should be your first hire in the vast majority of cases.
  • Learning how to use design software does not make you into a designer. Learning to use a kitchen knife does not turn you into a chef. This is the same logic.
  • Great designers mix human psychology and the design process to make products that people want to use. The best designers are well versed in behavioural economics and human insight, not just tech tools.
  • Great designers are partners, who question your assumptions and sometimes tell you that you are wrong. Someone who only agrees with you isn’t going to help make your product great.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

  • Introduction to Design for Technology: Listen on Apple...
Continue Reading...

76. From offline business owner to tech entrepreneur

Creating a successful business is a huge feat, but even founders with profitable exits struggle when they first break into tech. Bryan Clayton co-founded Greenpal, the Airbnb for lawn mowing, after he sold his first business. But, his first business was a landscaping company, which meant that even as an experienced entrepreneur, he was a newbie in tech.

Learning notes from this episode:

  • Non-technical founders need to know enough to be dangerous before hiring developers. Understand how your business strategy connects to product aims and know how to estimate your development budget.
  • Even badly made first products can show you’re on the right track, as long as you have interest from users. If people want to use your product, but your product sucks, you can improve the product and then scale. If you have a great product and nobody wants to use it, then you have a real problem.
  • The perfect scenario of a tech founder + business savvy founder rarely happens in real life. As long as...
Continue Reading...

75. Do this before hiring developers

Money isn’t enough to hire the best product teams. If you want to hire great people to build your product, you need to convince them that your vision has potential. To do this, techies and non-techies alike need to come prepared.

Learning notes:

  • A product is a solution to a problem someone is experiencing. You use Uber to get from A to B, not because you want to use an app.
  • Great outsourced product teams like the Evil Martians will question your assumptions and want to validate your idea. If a product team doesn’t ask you any questions and just wants to take your money, they are probably not very good, and so you should not work with them.
  • To prepare to work with a great product team, research the problem you are solving and your target users. This research will also be useful if you are fundraising or applying for accelerators.
  • User and problem research is also relevant if you want to get a job in a tech business, invest in tech or lead digital transformation. This...
Continue Reading...

72. Break Into Tech: three examples of successful career transitions

The number of technology oriented jobs is predicted to rise to 190 million in 2025, according to Microsoft. But, if you're a non-techie, how do you get in on that?

In this episode, you'll hear how three people transitioned into successful careers and tech, and learn how to apply their tactics to your career transformation.

Learning notes from this episode:

  • To succeed in tech as a non-techie, you need to learn core technology concepts and understand how they translate to business outcomes and user needs. You do not need to retrain as a coder.
  • There are more ways to be part of the tech boom than you think. For example, if you're a marketing expert, you could run a marketing company, which only serves tech clients. 
  • Transitions into tech often have an interim step, like volunteering for a start-up or helping a product team do user feedback. You can use this interim step to build your network, learn about new opportunities and add a tech position to your LinkedIn profile.
  • Listen...
Continue Reading...

65. Fundraising For Non-Technical Founders

Many investors view non-technical founders as more risky. Sometimes this is plain silly, but there are legitimate investor concerns that non-techie founders will make costly mistakes that technical founders will not.

The answer is not to learn to build the product with your bare hands, but to know enough about tech to have a product strategy and relate it to business goals. 

Learning notes from this episode:

  • “You can be the ripest juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches,” - Dita von Teese. Some investors don't invest in non-technical founders and they never will. There are plenty of those who do. Spend your time on them.
  • Learn how to connect product metrics to business metrics, for example how does user engagement relate to revenue or fundraising goals?
  • Understand key tech concepts to make the right hires and set the right goals, but you do not have to retrain to become a...
Continue Reading...

62. How I used accelerators to build a tech business

Andi Govindia has gone through three accelerators on her start-up journey. This helped her build a business model, find co-founders and get her first major clients.

Andi leads Riviter, a visual search company that uses AI to predict fashion and beauty trends, and counts L'Oreal amongst its clients.  

If you’re interested in entrepreneurship and how non-technical founders can succeed in tech, this one is for you.

Learning notes from this episode:

  • Use Effectual Logic: ask yourself what the simplest and laziest way is for you to solve a problem. The simplest way is often imperfect, but results matter more than perfection.
  • If you are applying for accelerators, link their speciality to your current needs. Andi participated in Chicago Booth's New Venture Challenge, Plug & Play and Founders Factory. Each accelerator has different strengths, and Andi used them for different purposes.
  • Andi collaborated with her co-founders for a year before they...
Continue Reading...

61. How To Hire Product Teams: Outsourcing vs In-House

Hiring developers and designers to build your tech product is always risky, because as a non-techie, you're hiring people to do things you don't know how to do.

Is outsourcing more risky because you're far away from the team? Or is in-house more risky, simply because it usually costs more? Listen to this episode to find out.

Learning notes from this episode:

  • Always get employees and contractors working on your products to sign over the Intellectual Property to the company. If a person or a firm is refusing to sign an IP Agreement, this is a bright red flag.
  • In the early stages of product development, your job is to test ideas, get an MVP out there and get initial traction. The focus should be on doing this as quickly and cheaply as possible, which often means working with an outsourced product studio in a cheaper geography.
  • After you've proven market need, you can hire in-house to scale the product.
  • Right at the start of product development, you don't know what tech...
Continue Reading...
1 2
Close

50% Complete

Sign Up

Get insights on what non-techies really need to know about tech to run companies, transition careers and make smart investments.