Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Bleeding-Edge Technology Process in Toronto


This is a true story, based on my past 18 months experiences.
  • First, you have an excellent technology idea.  
  • You hone it till it's a killer idea.
  • You build a prototype of the idea, to show that it works.
  • You decide that you need help to get the idea to market.  
  • You get support from people who like your idea, and they offer to make small changes, based on the knowledge from their respective fields.
  • They call in "experts" to refine it.   The experts like the idea, and they make some bigger changes to the idea, to make it attractive to Venture Capitalists.
  • The VC's are called in, and they love it.  They demand changes to it, so that it can generate the biggest ROI for their investors.

Now, what was several years ahead of the curve at the start, is resembling last years big idea.  More importantly, it's not your idea any longer.  You've lost sovereignty of the idea, it's impact, purpose and direction.  

It's now a totally different animal.

Adding insult to injury, the original working proof-of-concept you built has to change twenty times over six months, and each time a change is requested, you leave a meeting with some apple seeds in your hands and a week later people are asking "Where's my f***ing apples?", even though you're now doing the work of several people, which the money you were trying to raise was supposed to be paying for in the first place.  Additionally, because the animal was built with legs and now the VC's are trying to make it outpace something with fins and flippers in the water, it's becoming increasingly shaky, unstable and embarrassing to show off.

Deep down, you question why everyone now around you is getting pumped up about being a part of last years ideas and old thinking.  The wind comes out of your sails, when you realise you're now building (for free) someone else's dream in your spare time, with the dangling carrot promises that some money is going to arrive soon so you don't have to do this for too much longer.  

The project stalls.  Oddly, nobody questions why.  It's like they all know you've cottoned on to their game, and they've gone and found some other mug to do free work for them, based on some idea that they've totally cannibalised again.

The next year rolls around and you have been honing a new idea for months, and you're back ahead of the curve.  

This time you do as much as you can yourself.  Rather than go looking for funding to make it commercial, you do it on a zero budget.  You also rope in only close people who you really trust, and who share and understand the identical definition of the final goal as you do.  

Effectively, you go from building a car that has steering and can direction to accommodate other people, to building a drag racer.  You're moving forward… fast… and screw steering, because you're already facing the agreed direction to the finish line and all you need to do is move forward.

That way, stuff actually gets built, it remains exciting and you maintain creative sovereignty.