After spending much of my life building products from scratch, or fixing scalability and adoption problems in existing technology, it became clear that I was not the great innovator I thought I was, but rather a smart integrator with a vision. For entrepreneurs and developers, the pressure to be innovative, deliver a game-changing product or solution, or create the next unicorn has been taxing a generation of talented individuals who consider themselves failures because they didn’t make it big. I’m here to say that you don’t have to make it big, you just have to hit the marks constantly. That means being able to read trends across industries, concentrating on your strengths, and partnering with others when needed. Hence the conviction today that the world of crowdsourcing and open everything will be the next wave of major innovation for many industries. Why? Because crowdsourcing reduces the amount of money that individuals need to invest, cuts the time to go-to-market significantly, and allows for more flexibility more often.
So how to do it? When working with start-ups and entrepreneurs, you have to accept that you can’t do everything AND that you will lose control of your company (at least partially) at some point in time. It’s like sending your kids to college. You invested in their success up to that time and then you have to let them out of your sight to mature and become who you hope them to become.
Losing control of your company doesn’t have to be scary. With the advent of APIs, micro-services, data sharing, and distributed computing, you’ll still have a support system around you. You can rely on expert advice for a fraction of the cost it would be to learn it on your own. You can access proven and established technologies, services, or datasets which can help you accelerate your business growth.
My goal of always being available to entrepreneurs and independent developers in the world of fintech and mobile was put on hold for a while when I was building Zelle. Now, I can go back to my passion and original roots by helping the fintech community that still amazes me today. That community exists not just in Silicon Valley, but anywhere there’s a meet-up of entrepreneurs, a hackathon, or access to the right API for changing the industry in a given country.
Now that I’m at Envestnet | Yodlee, I can influence not just individuals and the community in general, but also the overall experience of the next generation of developers and entrepreneurs. What’s next? We will discover it together as we expand the reach of Envestnet | Yodlee financial data. Stay tuned.