Episodes
A tech start-up begins its life with a tiny team. The founders are either technical or tech savvy, but as the company scales its team has to change.  Learn about the three stages of start-up team growth here. Learning notes from this episode: At stage 1, the start-up is focussed on building its first product and getting the first customers. The team is usually tiny, and each team member is either building the technology themselves or is very closely involved in the process. Everyone...
Published 08/16/22
The biggest difference between business to business and consumer facing ventures is how they grow. The growth curve and costs of B2B vs B2C growth is what surprises (and sinks) many start-ups. Learning notes from this episode: Consumer to business start-ups growth through paid marketing. If you launch a consumer app on the Apple App Store, expect to pay around 40% of the money you raise on Facebook advertising. Business to business start-ups grow through sales. Sales is much more dependent...
Published 08/10/22
Conferences are full of speakers saying that the latest tech will change the world, but that often leaves smart people even more confused. Knowing about trends is irrelevant if you don't know what to do about them. To learn how to cut through the tech hype, listen to this episode with Andrew Grill, the Actionable Futurist. Andrew began his career as an engineer, became a Global Managing Partner at IBM and today is a keynote speaker on tech & business trends. Learning notes from this...
Published 08/03/22
To lead in the Digital Age, you need to become a Digital Collaborator. The best way to learn anything quickly is to put yourself in a situation where not doing it isn’t an option. Listen to this episode to learn what you can do to start collaborating with tech teams and take your career to the next level. Learning notes from this episode: If you work in a corporate, set up a weekly meeting with technologists and your team to discuss what they’re working on and how it impacts scale,...
Published 07/27/22
Some problems that annoy you daily could be solved by AI, but most business teams don't know that because they’ve never discussed them with a technologist. Listen to this episode with Dr Catherine Breslin, a machine learning scientist with a PhD from Cambridge, to learn how to make the most of the AI revolution. Dr Breslin was one of the first people to work on Amazon Alexa and today leaders Kingfisher Labs, a consulting company. Learning notes from this episode: For AI to have the...
Published 07/20/22
To become SMART MONEY as an investor, founder or corporate innovator, you have to know what questions to ask about a product. This helps you spot signs of early success or early warning.  Listen to this episode to learn what questions to ask and how to link product innovation to business strategy.  Learning notes from this episode: The questions fall into three buckets: How do my best customers behave? What are the characteristics of my best customers? What has to happen for them...
Published 07/13/22
Even the smartest professionals who don’t have backgrounds in digital businesses make the same mistakes when it comes to tech start-ups. They often want vanity metrics, as opposed to what truly matters, and because they don’t know how a tech product gets made, they don’t know how to properly evaluate an opportunity.  In this episode you'll learn 3 core tech concepts and how they apply to early stage investing. Learning notes: There are fundamental differences between software products,...
Published 07/06/22
Listen to what happened when Apple forgot a key market and how to avoid the same mistake. When product teams consist of entirely white males, they make products for white males. When non-technical professionals learn to Speak Tech, you get better products, happier customers & better profits. Learning notes from this episode: While there are plenty of programs to get minorities into STEM, they will take years to have an effect. In the next few decades, most developers will continue...
Published 06/29/22
"One of the most common types of advice we give at Y Combinator is to do things that don't scale," says Paul Graham, Y Combinator founder. Recruiting users manually and getting feedback is what lets you build a scalable product. Learning notes from this episode: "The most common unscalable thing founders have to do at the start is to recruit users manually. Nearly all startups have to. You can't wait for users to come to you. You have to go out and get them." - Paul Graham A product is...
Published 06/22/22
“There are things that are much more important about investing in technology companies than technology,” says Colin Beirne, Founder of Two Sigma Ventures. TSV has invested in around 100 start-ups over the last 10 years, and funded 10 unicorns. They’re part of Two Sigma, a hedge fund with more than $60 billion under management. Colin is surrounded by data scientists and programmers, but doesn’t have a background in programming. Listen to this episode to hear how Colin went from a liberal arts...
Published 06/13/22
Real estate marketplace Zillow took $500 million in write downs and fired 25% of its workforce in late 2021, largely because a pricing algorithm made a mistake. Learn what went wrong and how to avoid it. Learning notes from this episode: Zillow started life as an online marketplace for real-estate in 2005, and monetised via advertising. The company decided to diversity and get into the business of flipping houses. Zillow used an algorithm to find properties it believed were undervalued and...
Published 06/08/22
AI is a great tool to help you make decisions, but it's often not sophisticated enough to make good decisions by itself. This is why companies often rely on AI to do  most of the task, but leave the final decision to humans.  Most tech initiatives fit into one of these three buckets: Reach scale Increase efficiency Increase customer satisfaction Fashion retailer Stitch Fix uses a stylist algorithm to select outfits to send to customers, but the final selection is made by human stylists....
Published 06/01/22
Today, I’m doing something a bit different. As our smart community grows, I know that some of you might not know much about me, my story or how I got into this tech thing. That’s why today, I’m sharing a little bit about me. I’m sharing this with you so that you can see that the confusion you feel about tech, or the fear that your lack of tech knowledge will be discovered, does not have to be your permanent reality. I want you to see that there are many more opportunities for you than you...
Published 05/25/22
Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen famously wrote that “software is eating the world.” While digital transformation is everywhere, and even your coffee shop has an app, this doesn't mean we all need to learn STEM subjects and become coders. The vast majority of jobs remain non-technical.  To succeed in today's economy, ambitious professionals need to learn how to become Digital Collaborators. This means learning additional skills, rather than completely retraining. Learning notes from...
Published 05/22/22
When an app has too many features and pop ups, most users get confused and frustrated. This is feature creep: when the product’s core functionality becomes hidden in too many options and things to do. Feature creep happens when a team is determined to stay productive, but loses sight of its strategy. Sometimes stopping is better for the product than doing more. Learning notes from this episode: Feature creep is problematic for two main reasons: it confuses users and it costs money. This...
Published 05/11/22
Would you leave a high flying career in advertising to set up an adult content site? Most people wouldn't, but Cindy Gallop is not most people. After leading one of the world's top advertising agencies, BBH in the United States. Cindy decided to try her hand at tech entrepreneurship. Her venture, Make Love Not Porn, is in the new category of "social sex" and aims to revolutionise how people talk, share and watch sex.  As a non-technical founder of an adult content business, Cindy had to...
Published 05/03/22
Every company wants to be innovative, but how do you balance the risk of innovation with the need to keep the lights on? Listen to this interview with Kapil Kane, Head of Innovation at Intel China, to find out. Learning notes from this episode: Most tech innovations die because they do not have a solid business case. As much as non-techies need to learn to speak tech, techies need to learn to speak business. “No matter how smart you are, if you are not able to get your idea across in the...
Published 04/27/22
Design is often at the core for why products go viral or flop. But, how can you tell good design from bad right at the start? How do you hire the right people and avoid costly mistakes? That’s what you’ll learn on this episode. Learning notes: User experience designers, not developers, should be your first hire in the vast majority of cases. Learning how to use design software does not make you into a designer. Learning to use a kitchen knife does not turn you into a chef. This is the...
Published 04/20/22
You've probably heard about network effects, but they aren't the only thing you need. Learning effects build the ultimate moat against your competition. Learning notes from this episode: You get better at speaking a language the more you practice and correct your mistakes. It is the same with algorithms: they get better with time and training. The more time and data you have to train an algorithm the more accurate the algorithm’s output will be, and also, the more complex the problems it...
Published 04/13/22
How do you get to the top of a tech company as a non-technical professional? How can you drive innovation, when you’re not building the technology yourself? That’s what you’ll learn from this interview with David Wells, ex CFO of Netflix and chair of the board at Wise. Learning notes from this episode: “It’s called tech, or working in tech, but the entire economy is going to be this. So calling it tech is a little bit apocryphal at this stage,” David says. “Tech jargon distances people...
Published 04/06/22
On Airbnb, people stay at strangers' homes. On Twitter, people get trolled. Both are global tech platforms, but why do people treat strangers well on one, and badly on the other? The answer lies in platform governance: the rules you make to encourage good interactions and punish the bad stuff. Learn how to set up platforms where people are nice to strangers with this week's podcast episode. Learning notes from this episode. Platform governance touches product development, engineering and...
Published 03/30/22
How do you launch a dating app, if you have no men and no women on it? Or, how do you launch a market place with niether buyers nor sellers? This is the chicken and egg problem that all platforms have to solve to succeed. In this week's episode, you'll learn 6 methods for how to launch a platform when you have no users. Some are sneaky, some are fun and all are very clever. To get the full notes and examples, go to  https://www.techfornontechies.co/chicken To attend Tech for...
Published 03/23/22
Facebook disrupted the media market forever. The Apple App Store created the app economy, valued at $6.3 trillion today. What makes platforms like these SO successful? In this episode, you will learn the core concepts behind platform businesses, so you can identify platforms in the making or build them yourself. This is the beginning of a mini-series on platform fundamentals at Tech for Non-Techies. For the full learning notes, go to:...
Published 03/16/22
Does having $2 billion in the bank account and celebrity backing guarantee success for a consumer app? Not necessarily. Listen to how one company burned through almost $2 billion and had to shut down their app after just 6 months. Learn what Quibi did wrong, so you can avoid their mistakes. Learning notes from this episode: Success in one field does not necessarily translate into another, especially without training. Quibi's founders used lessons from launching Hollywood blockbusters to...
Published 03/09/22
Developers don't work in the same ways as non-technical professionals. If you don't know how to work with developers, you can waste thousands of dollars and get very frustrated, as you'll see from the story Sophia shares on this week's episode. Learning notes from this episode: A feature cannot be released when it is not ready. It is either ready to release, or it is not. There is no half way line. A feature can't be half ready, just like you can't be half pregnant.  Developers usually...
Published 03/02/22