I hear many opinions and stories according to which Greece has many more economical software developers, designers and technical professionals than many other mature tech ecosystems. Many argue that this is our competitive advantage and we can leverage it, in order to produce successful starts ups successful businesses and successful companies.I will analyze what the limitations are with this type of mentality.
1) It doesn’t matter how fast you’re going if you are headed in the wrong direction.
We all know that the main cost of a software related startup, is mainly the cost for human resources. The biggest portion of the budget in today’s tech startup companies goes to technical people . However as we know, a startup is a temporary organization formed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model. Having great technical people, can sometimes make you move quickly in the wrong direction. You might forget that the essence of business is not only to move fast but mainly to move in the right business direction.
Why might you forget that?
Because you get very excited by the product and less by the product – market fit. You are excited and not realizing that you have reached a local maximum.
2) Startups do not need only technical talent.
A startup needs mainly technical talent. However it also needs great operations people, salespersons , marketers , product managers etc. Without them we cannot build a company. Without them we would always have to sell successful products to foreign companies and this will weaken the Greek ecosystem. It will happen because most of our successful teams will migrate to London, US, Berlin , Tel Aviv etc.
3) Having more runaway for the same money doesn’t guarantee successful taking off
4) Sometimes smaller teams can do the same and even better job of much bigger teams
This is the idea that smarter, more agile teams can be more productive, efficient and effective than much bigger ones. In order for this to happen, technical people also need soft skills. I think that soft skills are not a competitive – advantage of the Greek technical talent. I don’t mean that our technical people do not have soft skills but I am saying that soft skills are not their strong point.
To summarize, I don’t argue that having economical technical talent is not a good start for playing ball ( positioning the Greek startup ecosystem ). It is an advantage when we are producing tech products. However, as we all know, producing a tech product is one thing,whereas making this a successful product, a successful business and a successful company, is another thing. There is a limitation with this mentality when we are dealing with innovative and growth companies. So, I propose to use our advantages , play with them and at the same time be thoughtful about their limitations.