A Practical Guide to Tech-Preneurship from JSBeirut 2016

Christina Fakhry, Mar 22 2016

On the weekend of March 12-13, 2016 Lebanon hosted its first ever JavaScript Conference. With an impressive lineup of workshops and talks, and a total of 30 speakers, the 2-day event brought together over 150 developers and programming enthusiasts at Berytech’s Technological pole in Mkalles.

In addition to JavaScript JSBeirut covered different topics from applications to IOT and robotics.

So much for the pure technical side of the conference. On the tech-preneurship side. multi-startup founder and entrepreneur Ziad Alame presented a dynamic workshop titled “The Tech-Preneur’s Manual - Growing the JS Community by Teaching JS to Teens”.

The Key Ingredients to Launching a Successful Tech Startup

Alame started coding at the age of 17 and has worked on a panoply of startups including Zoomaal, Pikaside, TeensWhoCode, and Spoke. A geek at heart, he aimed to provide the attendees with a practical guide to tech-preneurship by walking them through the key notions to take into account when launching a startup.

1. Your startup is not a lottery ticket

Many entrepreneurs step into the startup ecosystem with the illusion that they will get rich overnight. “If you want to launch a startup just because you want to make money, then startups are not for you. You will only start making money out of it after an average of three years,” Alame noted.

2. Being your own boss does not eliminate accountability

You might not be accountable to a boss in the context of a startup but you surely are accountable to your clients. According to Alame, this pressure is something you need to take into consideration before you launch in order to be able to cater to your growing client base later on.

3. Competition is an evidence of your product’s value

Even when you think that your idea has never been done before, you will most probably find out that something similar has been done somewhere in the world once you do your research. “Competition is never a bad thing, it means that there is value to your product in a potential market,” Alame explained. “Your role is to find the added value that will allow you to rise above your competitors.”

4. Product is king

“You need to build your product while talking to the users at the same time and,” he added. You don’t necessarily need to come up with something that pleases everyone but should rather build a product that a small group of people really love because those people are the ones who are going to spread the word about it and eventually help your business grow.

5. Hustle, hustle, hustle

Networking plays a major role in your success as an entrepreneur. “Entrepreneurs are hustlers by spirit. A good hustler knows where he is and tries to approach as many people as he can,” Alame observed.

6. Do not keep secrets

You shouldn’t refrain from sharing your idea with other people out of fear that it might be stolen. “Share your ideas for feedback at an early stage, as this can help you anticipate and address potential problems early on,” Alame noted.

7. Focus on the team

Alame listed three important team-related notions. First, you need to “hire slowly and fire quickly.” This means you need to take your time hunting, selecting, and interviewing candidates prior to hiring but also shouldn’t hesitate to fire an employee who complains excessively or does not meet the requirements.

Second, you are advised to put your team first, before your investors, and even consider giving shares to early employees at a certain stage.

And if you’re planning to launch in a different country than your own, you should consider having someone from that country on your team at all costs.

8. The only thing you’re racing against is time

You might think that you are racing against competitors but in fact the only thing you should be racing against is time. “Do not race against your competitors because this means they’ll always have the upper hand,” Alame explained. “Execute or get executed. Set your own pace and try to reach an efficient work-life balance in order to avoid becoming a workaholic.”

9. Make peace with KPIs and focus on growth

Key performance indicators help you measure your performance and evaluate the success of your business in terms of meeting strategic goals.

In addition to the above, Alame acknowledged luck as an equally significant factor when it comes to the success of a startup. “For the perfect startup, you need: idea, product, team, execution and LOTS OF LUCK,” he noted.

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