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Ognjen Regoje

I make things that run on the web (mostly).
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Not all startups are *tech* startups

I’ve had this discussion a couple of times with people who work in a more traditional company. There is a implied equivalence between startups and technology companies. But the product that many, if not most, startups sell isn’t tech or software but it’s the entire set of processes and systems that use technology to optimize.

Supplybunny’s product isn’t the platform, it’s basically tail-end sales. The platform is a tool to accomplish that effectively and efficiently. Other tech is then used to further improve and optimize everything around that.

Perhaps we might sell the platform independently later but maybe not. The tech isn’t the product, at least not directly.

DahMakan is a delivery-only restaurant. WeWork/Airbnb are in real-estate. There’re those that sell batteries and tire replacement services. Or insurance. Or bank accounts. They just happen to have websites or apps.

Where this sort of opinion is most detrimental though is with people who run startups themselves. A few people I’ve encountered equated their entire company as the software that they produced. They either didn’t realize or didn’t value the systems and processes that exist outside the software. In Supplybunny that’d be things like supplier sign-up, or customer service, or advertising.

Because of that, the way they’d launch features is by building the software first and then educating their users. They’d effectively be using their tech teams time for building something that’s very uncertain.

In fact, a very important step that comes before that is doing things that don’t scale. At the very least the initial version of the process needs to be known and nailed down before software comes in.

Concrete example: in SB supplier sign-ups on the website were basically a form that sent an email to us that said that a supplier wants to sign up. Then someone would go and talk to the supplier, guide them through the process, get products, images, etc. After a solid process was established, and we knew all the potential pitfalls and difficulties, then it could be made into software.

The concept of an MVP has been around for forever, it does seem sort of counter-intuitive to go just as minimally as possible. So minimally that you aren’t even building tech. It’s definitely correct though because the tech isn’t necessarily your product.

#business #opinion #product