In tech startups, marketers are more important than developers.
Thatâ€™s what one aspiring entrepreneur and software developer told me today in a huddle at Charlie Oâ€™Donnellâ€™s NextNY â€œNYC Media: Meet the Startupsâ€ event at Sun Microsystemsâ€™ New York City office. After admitting I was a marketing guy, three other young entrepreneurs at early-stage startups nodded their heads in agreement about that assertion. I was surprised, honored and a little embarrassed.
While I love to celebrate my art and craft, I disagree. In the case of these fledgling entrepreneurs, who admitted being one-dimensional engineering types, marketing was their weak spot. They believe they were penalized as a result. Therefore, they overvalued marketing’s relative importance.
Yet hereâ€™s the truth: Marketing and product development are mutually dependent competencies in any successful Web startup â€“ and in any business, really. It can be that both competencies come organically to a single person, or separately via multiple people on a team.
Product development and engineering must lead, for without it, there is nothing beyond an idea. But development also needs marketing to identify opportunity, reconcile development with that market opportunity, and channel development in a way that creates extraordinary value. Without marketing, development is nothing beyond a science project.
Thatâ€™s why itâ€™s important to be multidimensional â€“ as individuals as well as teams. But being multidimensional doesnâ€™t just happen. It comes through conscious investment in things like education, cultural enrichment, social activities and environment. At Clickable, our startup, multidimensionality is one of our three core values. We refer to it as being an â€œandâ€ culture.
Are you multidimensional?