As Gary Veynerchuk says, we are all in the media business. No matter if you are a barbershop or an app developer, you need to take care of your media profile and produce exciting content if you want to grow. I am not entirely happy with that because I am not too fond of content with no merit and I think you should rather stay silent if you have got nothing interesting to say. I don’t like the ever-present likes counters, and the last thing I want to read are political puns from local ice-cream stand. However, there is nothing to do about it — we all are in the media business whatever we thought our business was, and we are destined to drown in the never-ending stream of the Travolta meme variations.
So the question that pops up in my mind is — are we all in the IT business as well? Does the fact that you need a CRM to make you an IT company? I guess I am not unbiased, so I am probably not the one to answer, but I will anyway if you bear with me till the end.
Our clients range from start-ups to supranational corporations, and if you ask them, many would answer yes, and many would argue the opposite. What I find interesting is that their answer can be the complete opposite of what you would expect. One of those companies we work with is focused on sport and lifestyle. Of course, I can’t go into the details but why clients stick with them is that they bring definite value to their everyday lives in the form of a service that allows you to exercise more and lead a healthy lifestyle. They also have a not so small IT department that is taking care of the communication with the suppliers as yours truly. I must say that I am 100% sure that this department is a complete waste of resources as its sole purpose is to monitor the project from the technical point of view and to communicate with the companies working on their apps and back-end.
They do have several projects that are important to their users and clearly contribute to the competitiveness of their services, and I do not want to claim that there is no need for oversight on the client’s side (I believe in the complete opposite — if being honest and open). What I think is wrong is that their requests and projects based on their business needs are first processed by this department making the whole process slow and old fashioned and company who could thrive if they would invest into innovation and better customer experience is wasting their resources in absolutely useless bureaucracy. Feeding a bunch of “gatekeepers” will never get you anywhere. Why they do this? The reason is that they see themselves as an IT company.
On the other side of the spectrum, there is a tech start-up that basically crawls data from several websites and offers them in a convenient form. They do not consider themselves to be in the software world at all even when all they do is manage a website. For that reason, they do not pay attention to any technical stuff, and they do not care about that. So that is deeply troubling. I have to praise Pixelfield a bit here — we did a pretty good job, and the project is running on strong bases with minimal technical debt, but working with someone who wouldn’t care would absolutely bury the project without the owners having a clue why that happened.
So to answer the question from the beginning — no, I do not believe that we are in IT business. Not all of us and not even the majority. We need to focus on what we do and where we bring the core value to the user. If it is a software, design or counselling that sure, we might be in IT business. However, the fact that we need software to run the business or that we need to bring some value to our users in the form of an app doesn’t make our software company. We need to focus on the core of the business and read our mission statement every morning to remind ourselves of what the value we bring to our customer is because losing track of this can be very dangerous and costly.