Why do some tech startups succeed and others fail? I suppose if there was a simple, single recipe then the brains at the venture funds would have it bottled by now.
Outcomes are clearly hard to predict but, a bit like forecasting the weather, there will be some trends, and synoptics that favour the one over the other.
To discover what those might be, we’re going to be interviewing business insiders who’ve made the leap from ‘stealth to wealth’ with a start-up – and sometimes with more than one. We’re also going to look into some established businesses – let’s call them upstarts – who have managed to shake up their marketplace, or break into unknown territory. We’ll be questioning CMOs, CTOs, operations directors, general managers as well as heads of sales and business development. We’ll share their insights, inspirations and real-world experiences as they happen via The Crack, our real-time for B2B marketing and tech sector insights.
Each interview will begin with a deceptively simple question:
How did you succeed in captivating your market?
We’re anticipating some multi-faceted answers as you can imagine.
For instance, there’s surely an element of timing involved. I have some first-hand experience here which, as an appetiser, I feel obliged to share. I once helped found a start-up. Actually it was a spin-out from a couple of well-known big businesses. Our mission was to turn telephone companies into doyens of digital entertainment. We had funding, customer relationships, cool technology, content and a damned decent customer experience in the kit bag. However we launched about six months ahead of the dot.com bust. Telcos’ ambitions and capital expenditure shrank from near limitless to next-to-nothing in mere weeks. Couldn’t be helped – but we were screwed.
Funding also plays a pivotal role. But does it take the clearly devastating combination of deep, deep pockets and thin, thin margins – e.g. Amazon Web Services – to underwrite success? Pitting your venture backing against your competitors’ and ingesting cash intravenously while they starve?
Not all markets have their AWS or Uber though – and arguably those business ecosystems are much the better for it. How are those markets captivated? A brilliant and original proposition that you stick by through thick and thin perhaps: or maybe an appetite to adapt to local circumstances? What does the evolving role of traditional ‘middle-man’ look like in 2016 – what should a new vendor expect from a systems integrator or value added distributor?
And of course, as B2B and B2C marketplaces begin to exhibit many more similarities than differences, should we instead focus on ‘human-to-human’ communications? What does that look like and what should it cost?
We’ll unearth some viewpoints we couldn’t have predicted, and answers that may surprise. But that’s the joy of research. It’ll be an interesting journey. Come join us.
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