This month’s phenomenal Sime MIA has allowed us to meet like-minded entrepreneurs and champions for the Miami tech scene, while getting great content and inspiration from an amazing lineup brought together by Demian Bellumio. During one of the talks, Susan Amat, a friend and respected Entrepreneur in our community, had this to say, "You don't build a company by going to events or just networking; you build it by sitting down and working ridiculous hours."
Lately, in Miami's tech scene, I've noticed lots of Wantrepreneurs, people who like the idea of successful entrepreneurship but do not exactly have the right mindset, perspective, discipline or direction to pursue it. These Wantrepreneurs do not want to risk their cushy jobs but want in on the growing Miami startup economy. They want to be a broker of ideas and network with all the past successful entrepreneurs, but they do not understand that ideas and networking are not what makes a real entrepreneur.
Successful entrepreneurs require mental toughness with the combination of a creative idea and a superior capacity for execution. In the process of execution, they are taking risk and offering a product customers love. They are also setting quantifiable goals about the product idea, measuring the results from the ideas and feedback from customers, and then they “Rinse and Repeat.” Today, product marketing, sales, pounding the pavement and other non-technical risks are actually causing more failures than technical risks.
The question that plagues these Wantrepreneurs is "job lock." Each one of them wants a sustainable income with benefits and time to build the perfect product – a product for which there may not be a market. Wantrepreneurs fear validating their ideas with paying customers and are afraid of approaching potential clients who may not be willing to pay for the product. An even greater fear is that the customers might find the product or idea to be a failure before any funding any is received.
The primary benefit in building a minimum viable product (MVP) is entrepreneurs do not have to quit their jobs to have paying customers tell them exactly what problems are being experienced. Savvy entrepreneurs are able to start building out ideas and solutions to those problems, allowing validation of the idea before spending excessive time networking or looking for cash to quit their jobs.
After validation of an idea, even successful entrepreneurs can find it extremely difficult to be passionate about it, convincing investors and teammates to join, while simultaneously remaining skeptical enough to test and continuously validate the idea. But by going down this path successful entrepreneurs don’t just take risks, they manage them.
Miami is now a real viable tech market, and I believe Wantrepreneurs are actually a byproduct of our success. They just need to move beyond being imitators by making strides towards becoming innovators, and not continually wasting time and resources by hustling vague ideas like “It’s an Uber for Slack with AirBnB functionality.”
Real Miami entrepreneurs are creatives who are continuing to bring innovation to market in education, security, mobile payments, the unbanked, beacons, rewards programs, music tech and marketing as well as other new ideas, strategies and products. These risk takers have fresh ideas that can continue to transform the Miami tech scene by creating new jobs and opportunities in Miami. In a year where Miami has seen its best year yet with over a billion dollars raised or in acquisitions, we are ripe for an even bigger 2015, but only if the Wantrepreneurs stop just networking and start working their tail off, chasing ideas and the American dream of being a Real Entrepreneur.
Mario Cruz is CTO of Wynwood-based Choose Digital, owned by Viggle.