Latest stories of our network
Do you have what it takes to lead a tech start-up?
Feeling like you're back to the same-old, job? It's frustrating when your ideas at work go unrecognized, for reasons outside of your control. What if you were making all the decisions? Do you have what it takes to lead your own tech start-up?
Here are six qualities that make a successful tech entrepreneur, coming from those who've broken the mold of what it means to be one.
1. You embrace diversity and don't let your gender hold you back
Christina Morillo - Pexels.com
The tech industry benefits from diversity. But there are still perceived barriers for women, like lack of role models, stereotypes and inflexible working hours. The good news? Change is underway. A new Kaspersky study shows over half of women working in tech feel women are represented in leadership roles, and 7 in 10 feel confident and respected at work.
There's some way to go to having gender-balanced tech teams: only 1 in 10 work in female-majority teams, while 1 in 2 work in male-majority teams. Let's be the change we want to see – don't place limits on what you want to achieve in your career.
2. Uncertainty doesn't faze you
Starting a tech business is riddled with uncertainty. You need to be able to make a plan when the goalposts, and the ground beneath your feet, are moving. And you'll need to be able to adapt to change fast. You'll never have all the answers, but you'll still be able to see ways to move forward. Did you know that Tesla and SpaceX, both flagship companies of Elon Musk, came close to failing? The first electric car created by Tesla, the Roadster, had big production problems and SpaceX had many launch failures before its final effort was a success.
3. You're willing to develop, improve and even throw out your ideas
Tech entrepreneurs don't decide their 'baby' is the right solution and doggedly cling to it. Stories like that of Elizabeth Holmes – inventor of the blood-test biochip that never existed – show just how destructive hanging onto a dud idea can be.
Great tech entrepreneurs want to solve the problem more than they want to be right about how it's best solved. They're more interested in being useful than in being popular.
4. You can be persuasive, but you're more substance than style
When you run a start-up, you need to win people over to your idea, time and again. From securing funding to motivating your team, you need to be tireless in inspiring people to give you their best. And you're not just selling your product, you're selling yourself.
Contrary to popular belief, leaders don't need star quality – experience and skills predict success better than charisma. But you do need to make people believe in what you can do.
The famous author and pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once said: "If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea."
5. You're happy to do whatever needs doing
Early in the life of your start-up, you'll need to turn your hand to all kinds of tasks that won't feel like what you were born to do. If you're the kind of person who tends to think, 'that's not my job,' or you've developed advanced skills in avoiding tasks you don't like, tech entrepreneurship may not be for you.
Did you know that the search engine and company we know as Google today, has started as a PHD project? At the beginning, the world wide web wasn't that big. As a matter of fact Larry Page, one of the founders of google collected the links on the web by hand. He didn't know exactly what to do with it but it seemed to be a good idea, because no one had ever collected the links before. This seems inconceivable today!
6. You can cope with imperfection, and you're willing to put your ideas to the test
Free Creative Stuff - Pexels.com
Gone are the days when entrepreneurs jealously guarded their ideas up until the moment of a giant, glitzy launch. Perfect is the enemy of good. And in tech, it's usually much easier to get a prototype or beta version out to gauge the response than it is with other kinds of products.
As anyone who's done user research will tell you, the biggest shortcomings of products often aren't what the team thinks they are. Testing with real people isn't a luxury; it saves time and money.
Leading your own start-up almost always means working long hours and testing your skills to their limit. Few succeed, but if you have these six qualities, you have a great chance of being among those who do.
"Recently, a young woman approached me during my daughter´s cheerleading practice. She asked me what I do for a living. She'd been thinking about her future and had overheard me talking about cybersecurity. We spent some time talking about my role and my passion. At age 17, she was already concerned that being a woman in the industry might be hard." - Daniela Alvarez de Lugo, General Manager at Kaspersky.
What would you have advised her if you were in this situation?This year for International Women's Day, people around the world are talking about how we can improve equality, so the next generation of girls can achieve whatever they want in their life and career. So, we asked women in tech business: How can we get there faster
Be brave and follow your passion
Luckily, we do not live in the 1960s anymore, where it was very unusual and nearly impossible for a woman to work in the tech or science branches. But even back then we do find success stories, like the example of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson shows.
No doubt – the share of women working in tech is still sadly small. According to a research from Adeva, the ratio of women in computing jobs is around 25 percent and only 3 percent of female students would consider a career in technology as their first choice.
"Ten years ago, I would've warned her that in tech, she'd have to work harder than male colleagues. I would have said, 'Hide your emotions and adopt a chilled image.' But instead, I told her, 'Choose a career that makes you want to go for more every day. Your intelligence, hard work, passion and honesty will make you stand out.", says Daniela Alvarez de Lugo.
Daniela Alvarez de Lugo, General Manager at Kaspersky
Indeed, girls and young professionals should not be afraid of the numbers above, in contrary, they should encourage women to be part of the change. All they need is to hear about the career's opportunities and advantages.
"I believe gender equality will benefit all industries. Men and women have different needs, ideas and visions. Diversity is a way to improve and expand." - Vicky Piria, Racing Driver.
Vicky Piria, Racing Driver
Open up the doors in tech industry
Our society is getting more and more digital every day and we can't imagine living without technologies like our smartphone or computer. Accordingly, there are many tech companies worldwide and a lot of them are counting to the most successful organizations.
But in the cybersecurity sector, for instance, it can be hard for young professionals to enter, according to Noushin Shabab, security researcher at Kaspersky. "Many organizations recruit only experts. This leaves few opportunities for graduates and other newcomers who want to start their cyber security career. We need to create more internships and jobs for recent grads. But more important than hiring the same number of men and women is building a culture that lets women and men work and grow in a balanced, healthy and safe environment. If we love where we work, we enjoy and achieve more."
Noushin Shabab, Security Researcher at Kaspersky
Luckily, there have been organizations already, which have the mission to empower and support women with the access and community they need to succeed in tech business:
Let’s make a promise to the next generation of women
Those working in tech, and particularly cybersecurity, know the importance of anticipating what's next and getting ahead of it. It may seem like we've been trying to solve the same problem forever, but the progress is there for all to see.
The task now is to see it through. Let's all play our part to promise today's children who are starting school that when they begin their careers in a few decades, the world will be a place where there are no limits on their ambitions. Please share this article over your social media, if you want to make an impact and empower the talents of tomorrow. You may reach the girl who will stop the cyber virus, which endangers the whole world in 2030?