Startups: Overlooking The Intangibles

A recent article (blog post) in Harvard Business Review raised the important point that startups need to think about more than unique and innovative products. Instead, startups need to think about providing innovative business structures as well.

It’s interesting to think about how startups talk about “disruption,” but only around their products. Instead, as Jessica Lawrence, this article’s author, pointed out,

Entrepreneurs are faced with a unique opportunity to not only build innovative products but also to build companies that break the cycle and do not play off of fear, false superiority, or treating work as simply an exchange of labor for money. Instead, startups can build companies in which every person they employ can flourish. The world will get better when we build better organizations, not just when we build better products.

startup marketing and startup intangibles
The key point here, and the key connection to developers specifically, is that developers can and do flourish in the right kind of work environment. As I’ve said for many years, software developers are craftspeople, not assembly line workers. And the word “craftsperson” is carefully chosen, not only to be the gender-neutral version of “craftsmen,” but to imply that software development is a combination of art and science.
When you market to developers and appeal to them, remember this idea of them as craftspeople and appeal to their artistic side as well as their engineering side — and provide the mental image of an environment in which they can flourish.

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