IRI veteran Gian Fulgoni had a leg up on rookie entrepreneurs when he and Magid Abraham launched ComScore, eventually taking the company public and growing to its current size of a thousand employees, 2,100 clients and revenues of $250 million+.
But he had no idea at launch about how he and Magid would develop the tools necessary to perfect Internet audience measurement and online purchase behavior. Nor did they know how they would build a measurement panel two million individuals strong. Those were the challenges the business initially set out to solve, and because they were problems of technology, they had solutions rooted in technological expertise. The team proved to be successful and the business flourished.
What happens though when your own solutions and creations may not be enough?
Gian notes three conditions outside the control of the entrepreneur that could upend the best laid plans: competition, the marketplace, and the state of technology itself. And because we can’t control our competitors, the market, or the rate, nature and direction of rapidly changing technology, he cautions entrepreneurs to not lock themselves into one frame of mind, plan or vision, especially in tech-centric businesses.
In his case, MediaMetrix was a competitor with great brand recognition. Lucky for Gian, the market had a downturn at the point when MediaMetrix was out of cash. ComScore was able to swoop in and acquire MediaMetrix on the cheap, grabbing market share less expensively than if they had to build on their own.
Tech entrepreneurs think it’s inevitable that everything they envision must be built from scratch. But is that really the case? Look at your market and resources from all sides before you commit to the make versus buy decision.