“Now listen, sonny, that’s not how we used to do things in MY day.”
Ever been told that before? If so, did it drive you crazy?
Especially when the advice being given was relevant during, oh, I don’t know, when the cool technology startups had green screens and floppy, noisy, storage.
It sure bugged us a little when we got started at MightyCall, and it was easy to think that things have advanced so much that every thing from those early Web days are gone forever. But has it, really?
Some of the older farts at MightyCall surveyed our office, and found a few things that we still use that have been around for a while. They just look a little different. OK, very different.
Here’s a light-hearted look at four ways of doing things that we still need from the pre-Web world, but with a Web 2.0 reboot.
In the 1990s, before Starbucks embarked on its plan for world domination, caffeination took the form of a good old cup of Joe. Sure, it varied between a weak watery abomination and rocket fuel so thick you could stand a spoon in it. But every start-up had a ready supply of it.
Today, coffee still runs in the veins of many people working in start-ups, but the options available are just mind-blowing. Venti Soy Chai Latte? Check. Double-Shot Macchiato? Double Check. Trenta mocha frappacino? Trenta check. Regardless of how you take your coffee, caffeine is still a huge part of start-up culture.
Virtual phone systems
Professional office phone systems like PBX hardware were never something that technology start-ups could afford. Nor could many small technology businesses afford the extra headcount of having a receptionist sit in an office to take calls. So they made do, because voice communications was key to growing the business.
Today’s technology entrepreneurs have more communication tools at their disposal, but voice still plays a huge part to investors, influencers, and customers.
Sure, every one in tech has a smartphone these days, so being able to talk is not the issue. What has made a huge difference are low cost Cloud-based virtual phone systems that deliver a ton of valuable features, without any clunky hardware or wires. The biggest improvements for start-ups is the ability to look like a more established company with a professional virtual phone system (warning, shameless plug here for MightyCall) that can:
- Greet callers with a professional message.
- Route calls to the right people or departments.
- Provide customized extensions and dedicated voicemail for every team member.
- Work with any existing phone numbers and on any phone.
This improvement makes has a huge impact on where technology entrepreneurs choose to work — which is anywhere!
A StartUp’s workplace
This one is a no-brainer, but important.
A huge part of the early tech start-up ethos was bootstrapping out of garages. Some huge names came out them: Hewlett-Packard, Apple, Google, and Amazon.
Today’s start-up is less likely to emerge from the family garage, however. But they’ll always need a place to touch down to meet, hatch plans, and get stuff done. Maybe it’s the neighborhood java joint. Workfrom, a start-up in Portland, has a neat way to help tech entrepreneurs find workspaces-on-demand in the guise of coffee shops.
Regardless of where they choose to get work done, today’s tech start-up will almost always haven open plan space to optimize for collaboration. Quite an evolution from the humble garage.
Getting on the Internet
Does the following make sense to you? “Will you get off the phone already! I need to get on the Internet!”
If you do, you might just be an old fart like me. I still remember walking with a bit of a swagger being the first guy to own a 1.2 kbps modem.
Fast forward past Ethernet, Local Area Networks, Cat-5 cables, and multiple wireless standards, and today, my kids are having FaceTime conversations with my mother, separated by multiple timezones. Well, actually, they are mostly looking at her ear during these conversations since she can’t hear that well, but hey, it’s still amazing.
So there you have it — four things tech startups from the pre-Web 1.0 world still need in the Web 2.0 world.