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Do you have the next new software idea? An innovative product that will shake up your industry? Or are you a non-technical founder inventing something that will solve complicated problems? Creating tech products can be difficult, and trying to gauge your company’s technology needs is a challenge for many founders. We got some thoughts from our CEO, Stanislav Synko, about how Aleph One approaches tech when making funding or building decisions.
Through this framework, you can assess what category your tech product is in right now to help create a solid tech strategy according to your needs, like hiring a tech team or making business decisions.
A Simple product is something you can make yourself on existing platforms, like WordPress, Shopify, or Squarespace, that already have customizable no-code plugins or features. With their automated tools, you can easily create a landing page, promote your product, and collect emails to build a customer base.
The most significant benefit of a Simple product is that it is low cost, meaning you won’t have to hire a tech expert or raise additional capital because you can do most of the work yourself or internally. Also, creating a Simple product is way faster. Since you don’t need complex coding, you can go to market sooner than your competitors.
Simple products are tech-enabled. You are using already existing marketing tools and existing frameworks to create your product. This is great for e-commerce, content-focused, and media startups. The barrier to entry is minimum; you don’t need a big budget or to hire a tech expert for the team. Simple products align well with startup teams that are bootstrapping and creating their first MVP.
At this level, you are not considered a tech company, and your tech is not defensible, meaning your tech can be easily replicated by competitors and lacks competitive advantage. Therefore, your unique edge would have to be your niche expertise and branding as a form of defensibility.
When your company comes to the point where you are building your own platform, now you’ve crossed over to the Custom product realm. This is where you are building an innovative product in an already-existing business model.
Take Booking.com as an example. They’ve taken every hotel in the industry and put it under one platform where users can book hotel stays and manage their travel. The software needed to maintain and build this product is huge. You’re not only handling the data of thousands of hotels, but you are also managing other factors like tours, rentals, plus user-generated content, which creates value for the product.
All these different factors require advanced software and technology in order to upkeep and scale your product. As a result, Custom products are complicated and require a larger budget. This means founders will have to raise capital to build a Custom product and either hire an internal technical expert, part-time contractor, or a software development agency to help create, maintain, and ensure that the product is heading in the right direction.
Custom products enhance an already existing business model and add their own unique features and solutions to a framework with their own unique features. With Custom products, you are now considered a tech company and have defensibility through your unique coding and proprietary technology.
Finally, a Wild product is something that thoroughly shakes up an industry and invents new technologies to solve problems. The Wild product is significantly more complex and will require more capital than Simple or Custom products in order to get off the ground. When you think of Wild products, think of Nvidia, FAANG companies, or any company that utilizes AI, NFTs, or blockchain technology, where it’s creating a whole new business and financial model.
An easy way to differentiate a product between Custom and Wild is if a product is built on technology that hasn’t been widely introduced before or if it requires a patent. Often, a Wild product won’t have a lot of competitors in that category because the technology is the barrier to entry. Even integrating AI or blockchain into a product makes it Wild.
When developing Wild products at the cutting edge of technology, you need a tech expert that will get their hands dirty and build a team of engineers and developers to work and grow your product. Without a CTO that understands the technology, it may lead to higher costs and could likely lead to the company’s failure. Therefore, it’s crucial at this level to have a CTO that is an expert in the field where this product will have the biggest impact and can create a roadmap for the company.
Where do you fit?
Now that you know about Simple, Custom, and Wild products, you can assess where your company falls and what level of capital or technical expertise you need. With a Simple product, you can easily create the product on your own, save costs, and get to market sooner. With a Custom product, you will need some coding, part-time tech expertise, and to raise some capital, but your product will be more defensible and unique. With a Wild product, you are completely disrupting the industry and creating new technology, and this will require more capital and a CTO to help guide your company’s technology goals.
Looking to build a technical team to help scale your Custom product? Schedule a consultation with Aleph One and see how we can help fund and build a scalable solution.
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