The downsides of DIY for startups

The great Kiwi tradition of DIY has its downsides in many tech developments, according to serial entrepreneur Melissa Clark-Reynolds.

Speaking as one of a panel at Unlimited Potential’s AGM, Clark-Reynolds says entrepreneurs and startup founders need to quickly get over the idea that they can proficiently do every task themselves.

The founder of MiniMonos, an online environment for children which currently has 90 percent of its 1.5 million followers in the UK, says getting the right people with the right expertise in at the right time can save a heap of trouble and money. It can also mean the success (or failure) of a project.

“Perhaps it is the downside of our Number 8 wire mentality, and something it would be good at times for us to ditch,” she says.

Clark-Reynolds questioned whether the New Zealand gaming industry (those who make the PC and smartphone oriented games) is as healthy as sometimes portrayed.

Most companies creating such games are doing so on a toll basis for others, “working for hire".

She says there are exceptions such as Ninja Kiwi and Dave Frampton (whose CHOPPER is his best seller. His Blockheads app has more than 1.5 million downloads).

“We need to create and grow our own IP, not necessarily just do it for others,” says Clark-Reynolds.

The rapidly changing of the net, devices and how people access content is something everyone also needs to be aware of, she says.

The Minimonos team has watched, “fascinated” by the growth of computer tablet use, and how it may impact on their online interactive world.

“For the last two quarters, the number of children playing on tablets exceeded the number playing on a PC,” she says.

“It is transforming the way we present our material, and means again we’re going to have to tweak our presentation.”

She also had a prediction of what will be ‘hot’ in the near future.

“There’s a massive education bubble going on, and all over the place we’re seeing pressure to reform it,” Clark-Reynolds says.

“Education’s not strong in the tech world, and when you look at things, there’s a real gap between what children use and experience at school, and what they have available at home.”

The hype, and hope, around education-oriented apps is difficult to appreciate from New Zealand, she says.

She recently heard of one US purchase of an education startup.

“It has no business model, no revenue, and yet it raised $75 million,” she says.

“Something started up in that sector is going to flip really fast.”

This post originally appeared on Sciblogs and sticK

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