The world of technology entrepreneurship can be a daunting one. Things change quickly; from peculiar consumer habits, new channels of engagement, regulation via legislation, market readiness and even investor appetite. However, the one thing that remains top of my list is timing. Getting into the market in an almost perfect environment or adapting oneself appropriately, should be the goal of every technology entrepreneur. There are those who subscribe to the school of thought that says, start where you are, with what you have got and get to market as fast as possible. In my opinion that line of thinking could fast track the entry of any technology based enterprise into the dead pool; unless of course one is looking at building a simple lifestyle business whose barriers to entry would be low and competitive advantage almost non-existent.
Timing is important because it feeds into everything else. Come in too early and you will burn through your runway faster than you had anticipated; educating the market, dealing with consumer skepticism, dead-end pitches to owners of capital or figuring out when to pivot. As a technology entrepreneur, you must determine with a certain level of accuracy and confidence when product-market fit will happen or when diminishing returns are eminent if you are to leverage network effects to create the scale that is key for any tech centric business to break into profitability and have a shot at growing into a sustainable enterprise.
In athletics especially in long distance running, it is widely expected that the first one out of the starting blocks will not be the first across the finish line. Factors of tech production outside talent and capital are easily available and one can fire up scalable backend infrastructure and access targeted marketing inventory to drive awareness plus funnel in users on the cheap. Pacing ones business is critical to surviving the long haul.
The global space is littered with stories of those who went before, perhaps with better service propositions but are no more. Some markets shifted, new markets opened up, consumer mindsets changed, dynamics of capital access improved, barriers to entry got demolished, people got complacent; among many other environmental factors.
The second first mover advantage is real, use market data, research and gut to read where the wind will blow and position your sail appropriately.