Rootstrap Blog

Category: Startup

Total 4 Posts

Your idea is only a rounding error

Don’t kill the messenger, I’m only delivering the bad news.

As a tech services company, we see lots of clients who are in love with their idea. They try to protect it from disclosure with NDAs or by revealing only partial information about it to us. I’ll always remember when a prospective client in New York City made me manually sign an NDA before he would have breakfast with me. He didn’t trust electronic NDAs.

In court, NDAs usually aren’t worth the paper (or PDF) they’re printed on. That’s because ideas usually aren’t unique. The world is full of ideas. If you have one, about a million people probably have almost the exact same idea. About 50,000 people might have tried to execute it to some degree. About 5,000 people might have made an organized effort at developing it. And about 300 or 400 people might already have some results from a variation of your idea. It’s hard to prove in court that someone stole your idea if many people already use it.

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The Value Pyramid

A mental framework to identify at which level your organization is generating value to your clients.

The value pyramid is based on the business value chain developed by Michael Porter in 1985. Porter’s detailed version charted the actions and capabilities of a business provides in steps that progress from basic to advanced.

Our tech service pyramid shows the four main levels of the value chain specific to computer service providers: skills, processes, strategy, and vision. Your company might be positioned on any of these levels, depending on your capabilities and your customers’ requirements.

Where value is delivered
Delivering value can be done at a single level or rise to include multiple levels on the pyramid. For example, your client might require the application of your skills to build a software platform as well as a process to achieve the production and integration of the software. But they might not require an advanced strategy or vision from you.

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What is the problem?

As a CTO of a company that runs 20+ projects in parallel, I usually get involved in technical discussions or have to answer questions where I don’t know the answer.

I work with brilliant people. Way smarter than me. They usually know the technology in question better than I do. Often, my role is just helping people to organize their thoughts and find their solutions. However, there’s something about my problem-solving skills that I find very valuable.

Sometimes the questions that I am being asked are very specific, or tricky. I immediately wonder why we have to answer this question in the first place.

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