Use every resource available to gain knowledge and connections
Jullien Gordon is a Stanford MBA graduate who turned down a lucrative corporate career to pursue his passion of speaking and teaching. In his presentations, he often talks about the four types of capital that really matter:
- Personal Capital – How well do you know yourself?
- Intellectual Capital – What do you know?
- Social Capital – Who do you know and who knows you?
- Financial Capital – Who knows that I know what I know?
Invest your time and energy into growing the account balance of these four capital resources.
You don’t have to build every part of the company yourself
Most new black tech entrepreneurs think that they have to build every part of their technology platform to create a great product. The outcome of this thought process is feeling overwhelmed and having mental clutter. The truth is that most of the successful Internet companies either outsources development to a third party or connects with partners through an API. An example is how Wufoo, Highrise, and Mailchimp all integrate with each other to form a seamless user experience for group communications. Using these software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications drastically reduces the development costs for new tech entrepreneurs.
Silicon Valley is not the end-all, be-all
There is this perception that the only great technology startups come out of the Silicon Valley area. While this is true, Silicon Valley is not the only place where innovative things are being done. Mailchimp is based in Atlanta; 37Signals is based in Chicago; and Wufoo started in Tampa, FL. All of these are highly profitable, multi-million dollar ventures. No matter where you are, leverage the talent in your network and start to build something great. If you prove your concept, individuals will start to take notice.
I have learned many other things during my five-plus years as a web-based entrepreneur, but the principles above will get you off to a great start in growing your tech venture.
Lawrence Watkins is the founder of Great Black Speakers, Great Pro Speakers, and co-founder of Ujamaa Deals, which is a daily deal site that promotes black-owned businesses. He graduated in 2006 from The University of Louisville with a B.S. in electrical engineering and earned his MBA from Cornell University in 2010. Lawrence currently resides in Atlanta. You can follow him on Twitter @lawrencewatkins.