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Golden Key International Honor Society, along with six co-sponsors, hosted the second ever Be Your Own Boss: Innovations in Technology event on Oct. 20.
This semester the panelists included four entrepreneurs in the field of technology.
According to Chris Mirabile, Co-Founder and CEO of hotlist.com, there are different types of technological development methodologies. There is the agile methodology, the waterfall methodology and the lean startup methodology.
The agile methodology refers to the ability of someone to continually develop things based on new input of information that was not expected. One will be able to adjust to the new information.
Mirabile gave the example of a new competitor entering in the startup market one is already in. Adjustments can easily be made to the development process.
Waterfall methodology is a more traditional way which requires rewriting an entire guide of what the end product is going to be. It takes too long in these companies to adjust and they tend to fail, stated Mirabile.
Lean startup methodology is a break down of features on a product. If one has a vision of a product doing 10 different things, one needs to figure out what the core of the product is.
The core should be created and put out in the market and tested as to get as many data points and analytics as possible, then fix the product and layer on the other features of the product.
Mirabile believes it is important to take one idea and apply it to many other ideas. He used the example of Steve Jobs, and how he learned calligraphy and applied it to the fonts on Macs.
Sarah Doody, director of User Experience at AdKeeper, added it’s important to decide what style of development you want to pursue.
“One piece of advice when entering a market as a first mover is you really have to be [advanced] in what you do and why you do it because people will respond to a company that adds value to life,” said Doody, as to whether or not it’s better to be a first mover or a follower.
She went on to say that being a first mover is a challenging time to enter the market since consumers don’t understand yet why they want to be a part of your product or business.
When one is a follower it is easier because people already have heard of the person creating the product or business.
Mirabile, added that being a follower is not so bad. He gave the example of Facebook learning from the mistakes of Myspace and Myspace learning from Friendster.
Depending on the lifecycle of a startup one has to consider different things.
“In tech startup like mine when you first launch your main thing is to consider the consumer, the user and make sure what you create is something they would find value in,” said Mirabile.
Professor Marios Koufaris, a CIS professor at Baruch college brought up that there has to be a dependency for the innovation and one has to be aware of institutional restrictions.
Mirabile agreed one has to be aware of the institution and one has to know the hurdles that are needed to get over when starting a company.
“If you take a step back and you think of just human nature we’re always trying to be at the best point, the best place for ourselves. Whenever something new steps into the equation people tend to get protective,” said Mirabile.
Mirabile believes it’s more about who you know not what you know.
“You can be as innovative as you want, if your technology depends on something else that you don’t have control over it’s a dead product,” said Koufaris.
Mirabile also stated with new players in the market place, they will either be loved or hated because they are considered disruptors.
“There is a general rule that having creative individuals in an organizations that are involved in innovation is a necessary factor but nor sufficient,” said Koufaris.
Charles Myslinsky, head of Business Development at AdKeeper, shared a story that his first start-up failed. The company blew 92 million dollars over three and a half years.
The company was the first to market with an amazing technology that no one wanted in the first year, according to Myslinsky. The next year suddenly people wanted the technology.
He went on to say the company made revenue north of 15 million dollars, but than competition came into play.
The biggest challenge was the company was not able to iterate technology quickly enough.
Looking back, the most important thing for him to have within a company is a culture of iteration.
“Take a chance and fail, take a chance and fail but be very quick in failures; be quick in those iterations, test things in markets. Companies that fail to iterate fail in the long run, test everything,” said Myslinsky.
For Myslinsky the term failure has to be redefined, people should not take failure as having a negative connotation to it.
Many companies lose their focus and sight of what made it unique while it tries to compete or appeal to a broader audience, this is why a lot of companies also fail feels Myslinsky.
This is the single biggest risk a startup or business can face.
“As an entrepreneur you have to live off of failure every single day. The key is if you have to fail, fail quickly. You have to learn from these failures,” said Myslinsky.
He went on to say there can be creative individuals working in an organization but without the right structure to support and nurture them then the company will go nowhere. Koufaris gave the example of Steve Jobs being pushed out of Apple at first.
“In order for creativity to thrive in an organization you also have to focus on embracing failure. Because a lot of the time you’ll have creative ideas and you can’t execute them. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed with that idea but you can’t do it now or something like that,” said Doody.
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