A lot of the revolutionary technologies started with the question ‘What if?’. Of course, they required a lot of dedication and grit to get from the inception to the profitability stage, but the starting idea was a vital first step. Most Tech companies aren’t “making hardware” or “creating groundbreaking software” but using technology as a vessel to conduct business.
Implementing technology into your business depends on your business model. Some companies focus on recurring revenue from micro-transactions, subscriptions, or large one-time purchases. As companies involve more technology, business models and user experiences become increasingly important.
Even the hottest new device depends on a viable business model. Long-standing companies may not have the upper hand anymore as new companies enter the market. Large companies may have to spend to keep up, either by developing their own technology or buying revolutionary companies.
Netflix was the catalyst for changing how we consume video-based media. It started as a mail-order movie rental subscription and has evolved into a media giant with feature-length productions. They were the first to join the television industry. After Netflix, the floodgates opened. Hulu was next, offering running television series (for a limited time). This started some competition for three lettered channels deciding the best location for their programming.
Now instead of deciding which service to choose, NBC, Disney, and ESPN have created apps with exclusive content. The accessibility of television is driving millennials, and other economically conscious groups, to ‘cut the cord’ and drop cable companies in preference for on-demand applications. To offer these services, companies are hiring Tech workers left, right, and center. There are many career changers attending Tech bootcamps, like Lambda School, to gain the skills to get jobs at companies like Netflix, Hulu, and Roku.
One of the differences between Hulu and Netflix is their business model. Traditionally, media companies depend on advertisements for revenue; this is where Hulu and Netflix differ. Netflix uses a subscription model with no advertisements. Hulu offers both a cheaper rate with advertisements or a premium subscription without advertisements.
The hardest part about going to the gym is mustering the motivation to get there. Between traffic, parking, and waiting for the squat rack to open up, we lose valuable time which could be used for working out. Fitness Tech companies have stepped up to provide relief with a small-profile in-home gym. Peloton and Mirror offer internet-enabled workout devices; a stationary bike and LED mirror/screen, respectively. Besides purchasing the hardware, they also require monthly subscriptions to the app, to join live workouts. Their popularity has only increased as gyms are closed during the pandemic.
As these companies are jostling for position, they need UX designers to research and optimize the user experience. Many people become UX designers with no degree. Purchasing one of these devices is no small investment; purchasers will heavily research the apps and devices to determine the best fit. Easy navigation and usability are going to be a focus as these companies battle for market share.
There is a slew of apps aiming to give more people access to the stock market. These apps have taken away brokerage fees, increasing the ease of purchasing and selling stocks. These fintech companies take the stress out of investing. One perk of these apps is they allow, and make it easier, for users to research stocks without the fear of an advisor leading them one way or another.
These apps are focusing on the volume of purchases from users to make their revenue. By offering lower fees, they can undercut more traditional firms. An additional edge these companies have over local agents is the lower costs of an online-only presence over leasing office spaces and paying salaries to employees in those offices. Instead of office managers, these companies are hiring Software Engineers to keep their website functioning.
Tech Is Making Things Easier, Faster, And Cheaper
Regardless of business model, new companies are making traditionally complicated or hard to access industries streamlined to the general public. By lowering barriers, reducing red tape, and lowering cost, startups are putting historical companies on edge. This movement is heavily reliant on technology and employees’ knowledge of programming languages. Learning these languages provides people with the chance for gainful employment in growing industries. Tech skills offer high salaries, competitive benefits, and the opportunity for remote work. New companies are going to keep needing these skills as entrepreneurs continue coming up with innovative ideas that are ruining incumbent industries.
Artur Meyster is the CTO of Career Karma (YC W19), an online marketplace that matches career switchers with coding bootcamps. He is also the host of the Breaking Into Startups podcast, which features people with non-traditional backgrounds who broke into tech.