We recently introduced our new technology department here at 321. We’re excited to provide a more in-depth look at some of the tech-related things our team has been up to through our new tech series: Tech Specs. Throughout this post, Tyler Nichol, 321’s Director of Technology, shares his insight on the keys of surviving in the technology industry.
Ready, Set, Pivot: How to Survive in a Volatile Tech Industry
The volatility of the tech industry is not a new concept. Consider the following scenario: You launch a product that extends another platform, only to discover the platform your business relies on doesn’t have staying power. You’re now left with two options — keep plowing forward or burn everything and run.
This is an all-too-familiar scenario for many businesses. And while the ever-changing nature of the industry means there’s no formula that guarantees success, the experiences of others that have walked the same path can provide a blueprint to help you avoid a similar outcome.
How to Prepare for the Unknown
When using third-party platforms or frameworks as part of your core product offering, two of the fundamental rules of thumb are to always be cognizant of changes that are coming and always be prepared to port using another platform.
You never want to find yourself caught off-guard if a new, unsupported framework bites the dust, as it can become a nightmare that cripples your progress, and even the existence of your product.
How can you avoid this? When you’re choosing a framework or platform, only choose those that are well-documented and always kept up-to-date. This increases the likelihood that you’ll know when a change is coming that could potentially affect your product.
The Importance of Having a Plan B
As part of a successful tech business plan, you should always have a backup route. This is especially true when relying on a third party for the core service of a platform. Start by asking yourself the following questions to determine if you’ll have an out in case things go south.
• Is there a similar third party you can pivot to?
• Does the platform have multiple functionalities where losing one of them that pertains to the third-party platform would not cause the entire boat to sink?
• And the most daunting question: In a worst-case scenario, could you recreate the platform? (And, more importantly, would it be worth it?)
The Bottom Line
The companies that are successful in this arena all have one thing in common — they aren’t afraid to pivot. So when it comes to building a business that relies on a third party, the bottom line is this: it’s always going to be a risk. But you can minimize that risk by being diligent upfront, and by ensuring your business model remains agile and responsive to the ever-evolving tech environment.