Many times when I meet people and I use the term ‘Techpreneur’ I get the ‘what are you talking about look’. So I’ll use this platform to define who a techpreneur or technopreneur – as some people choose to call it, is.
A techpreneur is someone who finds a technological idea or solution to a problem, using real technology methods and then commercializes it.
The major difference between a techpreneur and the orthodox entrepreneur is the use of high-end technology. Techpreneurs span across many industries including, health, finance, agriculture, transport, etc.
Successful entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezoz, etc. don’t only have the technical ability to win but also a great amount of business acumen. Ergo, a techpreneur is one who is bent to succeed with a fair combination of both business and technical skills (coding, programming, design thinking etc.).
It is of no doubt that technology is the most rewarding industry in this Information Age.
According to a report by Glassdoor a jobs website, the most paying jobs in the world are in the tech and finance industry. Tech companies are reported to pay their employees more than any other industry workers.
Facebook for instance pays interns $8000 per month, that’s almost twice the monthly salary of the average full-time worker in the USA.
At Microsoft, a software engineer intern could rake up to $7100 monthly, while Amazon and Apple splurge a fine $6400 monthly on their interns, with a lot of perks. (Updated)
Forbes named the world’s richest men for 2017, and 4 (Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and Larry Ellison) out of the first 10 were techpreneurs.
A report by The Economist, in May stated that the world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil but data – “the oil of the digital era” (as they described it.
In 2015, Silicon Valley produced 23 new billionaires on the list of richest men provided by Forbes.
The industry is booming and birthing rich men every single day. So for anyone who aspires to be on that list some day and is treading the tech path, I say you’re on the right path. It always looks shiny on the outside, but these men have had to deal with a lot to get to the top.
It is not enough to know how to write some lines of codes, or develop software and combine it with a good marketing or sales pitch to win in this field. Here in the tech industry, it’s dog-eat-dog, rat-eat-rat. Kill or be killed.
What are the quirks that make a successful techpreneur? The nuance between entrepreneurship and techpreneurship has already been discussed and established, it is prudent to make known also that characteristics of successful entrepreneurs may differ from that of successful techpreneurs, although all techpreneurs are entrepreneurs but not all entrepreneurs are techpreneurs. Agreeably, there are similarities between the two, which may include, having a clear vision, possessing a deep passion for what you do, being flexible but decisive, among many others.
Nevertheless, there are some peculiar traits of winning techpreneurs, and that’s our focus for this article. Let us take a look at some of these essential skills of techpreneurs.
Disruptive thinking: Most techpreneurs are disruptive thinkers.
They are creatively innovative. They spend most of their time engaging in disruptive innovation. Carefully consider these names, Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezoz. One thing that’s common about these people is that they dare to do things differently. They have single handedly changed the whole world’s view and perception on many things. Successful techpreneurs build from zero to one. This is the hard way of thinking and doing things, because it requires doing things that are not only daring but also something no one else has ever done.
Peter Thiel in his book Zero to One, elaborated this with this case study; “if you take a typewriter and build 100, you have made horizontal progress (copying what is already in existence). If you have a typewriter and you build a word processor, you made a vertical progress (moved from zero to one). This is the way of thinking of successful techpreneurs.
Vast understanding of technical knowledge.
“Steve didn’t ever code. He wasn’t an engineer and he didn’t do any original design, but he was technical enough to alter and change and add to other designs.” This is an account of Steve Wozniak in Steve Jobs biography written by Walter Isaacson. And this argument has been used many times by people to say you don’t need to write codes to be a techpreneur. Agreeable enough. But don’t you think it’s equally sage to have a fairly deep understanding of technical things, just as Wozniak accounted in the opening statement of this point? Steve Jobs didn’t write codes but he was technical enough to know what works and what doesn’t. And that’s the kind of knowledge every aspiring techpreneur needs. You need to be able to apply design thinking – not problem focused but solution oriented.
Product management skill:
Let’s say you don’t write codes or don’t engage in any programming works, it’ll mean having to always rely on someone else on the team for detailed product information. Possessing a deep understanding of technical knowledge opens your eye on the details of your product and not getting lost in the details. It means you don’t have to always depend on your CTO for product information. This is a crucial skill you need to have.
Have a gambler’s mindsets:
Risk taking is almost synonymous with entrepreneurship. Every techpreneur that I have interviewed or had a casual conversation with appreciates the huge significance of risk taking. And that is the gambler’s mindset. Real gamblers bet their last monies on anything they think is worthy of it. Real techpreneurs risk everything for that one worthy cause they believe in. Talk of those who risked their college education, dropped their secured paying jobs, invested their last pennies etc. To make bold statements you need to take bold steps. Innovation resides in the heart of risk taking. You can’t innovate if you don’t take risks. Trying a new method means stepping into the unknown, and stepping into the unknown means taking a risk.
Forge on in spite of difficulties or opposition. You may lose with some risks; in fact many before you get that one right hook to succeed. It is not about the one big win really; it’s mostly about the small incremental progress you make. Being persistent is a vital characteristic of techpreneurs because you’d have to apply a lot of trial and error methods in the process of innovating. And when one idea fails, it doesn’t mean to give up on the entire journey. Failure can be a good teacher when you allow it to be. Techpreneurs, with their positive attitudes, don’t see mistakes as it is; they see it as a lesson.
Congratulations if you made it to through the article feeling you are blessed with all these traits. We can’t wait to see you on the Forbes list of richest techpreneurs in the world. Or on TechToday list of richest African techpreneurs. Keep innovating to change the world. The world is counting on you.