It happens all too often. I see investors come in and steal the credit from brilliant technologists who failed to communicate the value of their tech. Is this really stealing though? How much is good communication worth? Millions.
If I have a new tool and I want to protect my equity, I’d better be able to:
- Clearly explain how it works (Can I explain it to a child?)
- Fluently answer questions on market potential
- Navigate my way through my first customers
- Fully understand funding: seed, warrants and Series A (if I’m taking the financing route)
What sits at the heart of all this? Value communication. That’s what investors do. They communicate value within their circles to raise money. The more room you give to investors to develop resources, the more value you hand over to them.
A chimp could understand it
My communication method is “Reduce, Refine, Repeat.” It’s like I toggle back and forth from the primitive ape me and the highly intellectual me until the ideas gel into one.
I continuously make things simpler. I’m going to spoon feed the king lobster so the client doesn’t have to crack it apart piece by piece. If I do this, I’ll have the king’s favor. The easier I make something to understand the more people will spread the word. Why do politicians speak at a third grade level? Simple spreads.
This skill makes you money
Remember the Feynman Technique? The best way to explain complex ideas is with brief and simple terms. If you can’t do this, then you don’t understand the topic.
As CTO, if you can’t explain value simply, it means you don’t understand the business value behind your technology. It doesn’t matter if you understand it internally. If you can’t communicate it simply, to the outside world, you don’t understand. A savvy investor, however, will pick out the value in a heartbeat.Ultimately, you’ll pay for their ability to effectively communicate the value of what you are doing.
I do it for me
I make things simple for my own benefit so I can get a handle on what I’m doing. Simplicity lets me understand the why. It keeps the business value of any system I build in front of me at all times.
However, simplifying things has led to some unintended benefits. I practiced this skill for my own benefit, but it brought a greater value than just my ability to write clean code to the business. I was called in for quality code from Bitcoin, to real estate, to law. Then, I ended up taking a seat at the table driving direction. Why? All business is, is a value exchange. And I speak value. Now, people approach me to provide simplicity and value, and the code part ends up being secondary—if at all. Isn’t life interesting?