I have pondering over this question since the last one month. Can I be an efficient tea or coffee maker while still being a good salesman and marketer? Can I run an auto-rickshaw while also being a decent repairer for the same auto? Can I develop and run my code and be efficient in selling it to the right people as well?
While having a much elaborated and somewhat depressing chat in my company on the very second day of my coming down to Mumbai, I was posed with this question. They out-rightly questioned the validity of my role in NgoSphere (wherein I did marketing), further adding, in a jocular mood, that I was doing ‘time-pass’ there. I knew I wasn’t. The comment simply brought a smile to my face.
I have been in love with products since the time I started knowing what product(s) is/are. And for that case I always loved good products. In fact everybody does. Why settle for an ugly girl when you can get a beautiful one?
But the problem arises when the issue of getting that beautiful girl comes up. If you don’t know how to impress a beautiful girl, you will have to eventually settle for someone lesser beautiful. Similar is the case with products. If you don’t know how to make a good product, there is nothing-so-great in your love for the same. If you don’t know how to make tea, to manufacture a boiler plate, to write a program or to drive an auto, there is practically no point in selling them, because you will never really love it. It will always be the ‘lesser beautiful’ affair. Like real-world romance, product development has to be two-sided and exhilarating affair. You have to love and develop your product as if it were your own child.
Having said that, I also feel it is equally important that you sell your product/service(s). The problem with doers, be it programmers, manufacturers or service providers, is that they often end up doing something great that nobody uses. Even if they make something great in value and intense in need, they often don’t know how to sell them. If you have someone real-doer in your team who is also a great salesman, it is the best solution you can ever get. If he/she is only a doer and not a salesman, it is also acceptable. But as DHH says, there is no place in the company for the ‘idea’ guy, good for neither real-doing nor marketing.
After this one month’s intense think-overs, I finally decided that multitasking is not evil. If you are jack of all trades and master of one, the company will eventually benefit the most. Come whatever may, I will never leave my product for cheap salesmanship or for fancy marketing titles, whose jobs exactly are to do nothing. Neither would I leave sales to blind-wrap myself up in coding, most of which doesn’t matter anyway. Start-ups need that only at its core.