Having just read Disrupted (Atlantic Books) by Dan Lyons over the Christmas holiday, it made me think, that a group of us, over a certain age, we should get together and create a tech company.
Now, in case you haven’t read Disrupted yet (it’s a must read, especially for trying to understand how to invest in companies that don’t make real sense), the gist of the book is that Lyons, nearing his mid-fifties, went to work for an archetypal tech company which is run like a modern-day cult. And things didn’t turn out well.
Lyons spills the beans on how many tech companies are run: young cheap staff, investors desperately shelling out millions in order to back the next Facebook, lots of hype, huge marketing budgets and a do-or-die push for an IPO. Add in whacky logos and colour schemes sported on hoodies and baseball caps, complete loyalty to the company (even though its rarely repaid) and a distaste of anything ‘old’, and you get the picture.
VCs actively hunt nerdy drop-outs from top US universities which look the part, have a convincing back-story and can turn techno-babble into an investable product. In fact, you don’t even need a product – just a good marketing and sales team. The product can wait.
So, I figured, let’s play their game. Hire old, expensive staff; drop the whacky corporate colours for cardigans and sensible shoes; and, ban the use of Facebook and Instagram, in favour of the telephone. But, keep the nap pods – old people like to have forty winks.
As for a product – I’m sure that after a couple of hours in the local hostelry, with some bottles of decent red plonk, we’ll be able to come up with something.
The only problem would be, could we convince investors that we’re worth a few hundred million in our company? I somehow doubt it, even though we could present a good pitch – maybe they think we would tire before the IPO, or perhaps more importantly, just not believe the BS.
Still, I think it has legs – so, if there is anyone out there who thinks it’s worth a go, let me know, it’ll be a laugh.