Why are there business people in the Silicon Valley? Isn’t it supposed to be the kingdom of engineers? I even remember reading on a blog post while I was myself looking for a job there “we want developers, code-eaters. Business guys, out”. But still, I made it to the marketing department of Hitachi Data Systems. Looking around, Silicon Valley is definitely the place where engineers are on top: coding skills and 2.0 communications are shining. Googlers don’t even use papers; have no printers at all actually. This trend contaminates the world and in Europe I’ve heard as well that it sounded ridiculous to go to a venture capitalist firm asking for money to develop websites or apps, as it’s given that “modern entrepreneurs are code-savvy”.
Now, big companies and successful modern startups hire business people. Why is it? Anyway, good ideas will break through, right? Google strength is in the power of its code and Facebook just expanded virally because the idea was so great! Well, I like engineers, and sorry about what I’m going to say but this paradigm is no longer true. The truth is, more and more entrepreneurs are coming up with amazing ideas every day. Where is the new paradigm? Well, if growing a company required a million dollars in the 90s, now just anybody can do it with a computer and coding skills. You need to set your product apart from the competition. Granted, when starting with an idea you’re already supposed to follow the Blue Ocean Strategy and not to do something already existing. “So, my product/service has been different since its inception, why would I worry about the competition?”
That’s an interesting start! But further studies show that “Customers, generally speaking, see significantly less difference between us and the competition than we do ourselves” (The Challenger Sale, Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson, 2011). Visualize your company as this tiny little gold nugget: it’s shiny but you need to make it stand out from the sand first, then to distinguish it from the other precious stones… And don’t forget that eventually, gold value is only perceived. Mayan people used to value jaguar canines more! So yes, your product rocks. But your customers don’t see it… So basically you’ve wasted your energy, your time, and your money. Don’t desperate. Business people are here for you! And I can’t help myself from thinking, there are so many cutting-edge start-ups in the Silicon Valley, that I’m sure a lot of business youngsters are willing to join the teams of engineers. Groundbreaking ideas deserve to be recognized. Smart engineers deserve sharp business managers!