Living Entrepreneurship Blog / Babson Entrepreneurs

Don’t Be the Idea Guy

There is no room for an “Idea Guy” in a start-up. Too often I get pitched a start-up in consumer internet (my interest, and the interest of most young Babson students) and the response to the question of ‘”what will you be doing in this start-up” is “I’m the idea guy” or worse “I’m the business guy”.

There are two roles in a start-up, and this is definitely true for consumer internet. You can either be a builder or a seller. A builder is loosely defined as someone who can rapid prototype the functionality of the web app ‘idea’ you want to test in the marketplace. But it’s never a case of build it and they will come. Which is why you need the seller. A seller’s role is to sell or market the web app to who you perceive to be core users.

At a business school like Babson, there just aren’t many natural builders, and being a business school, many might consider themselves sellers. Selling a web app to online consumers is very different to selling anything else most students have done before, and most definitely very different to anything in FME.

Selling is really the wrong term, let’s call it online marketing. There are a few broad generalized categories for online marketing in consumer internet, SEO, SEM, email marketing, PR, social media and affiliates. Now if most of that doesn’t sound familiar, the good thing is most of it is fairly learnable, or rather the learning curve isn’t nearly as steep as learning how to code a web app in Ruby on Rails.

Fan Bi is a guest blogger and Babson ’09 Alum who started Blank Label, an e-commerce site for custom dress shirts.