In the last year, I have had the great fun of advising a number of tech startups, in both a formal and informal role. It’s been so energizing and refreshing to see these companies bringing such interesting new technologies to the live events marketplace. The blend of science and creativity is really what makes this AVGirl’s heart go pitter-patter.
On the other hand… there are also many moments when the AVGirl’s logical core feels squeezed like a trade show stress ball. The central issue in almost every single case is not about a lack of a business plan or marketing strategy, but when the technology hasn’t been engineered and delivered as a solution to a problem that matters. It’s important to think about both parts of this. First, you can’t just have a good idea and hope to cram it down the neck of an unsuspecting buyer because it’s such a good idea they won’t be able to resist it! Next, if you have identified a problem and come up with a tech solution, the problem has to matter enough for someone to spend money to fix it!
About 90 percent of the tech gurus and tech providers (whether AV or other event technology) that I encounter lament about buyers being so resistant to change — and how we need to educate them more on the way technology can change their life for the better; how they need to get caught up “with the rest of the world” — how they just don’t get it and blah and blah and blah, more of the same. But if this is true, why are there successful startups such as PopBookings, a beautifully engineered, well-designed technology that is event staffing made simple? The founder, Scott Hanson, is supercharged with energy and excitement about the positive industry response to his technology.
Do you know why?
Because the problem he identified, sourcing and managing staffing for experiential events, actually matters. The events industry is very familiar with this problem, and has long struggled with many of the challenges associated with it. And, perhaps most importantly, it’s a common problem. Meaning, thousands of professionals share the same problem. Which means that because of the familiarity of the problem and the number of businesses/people who have it, creating a solution will actually matter. For a tech solution to succeed, there must be buyer who quickly identify that they have this problem (and, hopefully, have been seeking an alternative) and there must be many of them.
What about you? Maybe your technology is a beautiful, creative, brilliant idea. Maybe it even solves a problem. But to truly be successful, and to sell millions and millions of your beautiful solution, you need to be sure that it matters. As you look forward in your business planning and strategy for the future, I challenge you to evaluate your offerings with a keen and honest eye and ask the tough question, “Do I sell a solution to a problem that matters to a lot of people?” This is the true test of the viability of your technology as a sustainable business.