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Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. His business interests include a diverse range of industries from manufacturing to property to technology. As a technology commentator he has a broad presence both in the traditional media and extensively online. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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2 responses to “Domain, Business or Tech-Specific knowledge – Which Trumps?”

  1. edloessi

    Ben,

    Good discussion prompt. Having been involved in my own technology company but not in a technical role and having been involved in discussions with many other founders and CEO’s, I would list things in this order of importance; domain knowledge, specific operational knowledge and governance knowledge.

    Very quickly,

    Domain Knowledge – is an absolute because you must understand that problem that you are trying to solve or you will not be able to win the customers and deliver on the promise.

    Specific operational knowledge – you must understand the tools that are available for you to solve the problem in the case of technical companies it can be a serious challenge if for example the CEO or an adviser does not have sufficient understanding of the technical environment as you can make a series of poor decisions along the way that mean the product is never correct and never scalable etc.

    Governance knowledge – this is interesting but really only applies if you have become successful and for the most part this knowledge can be bought based on the success of the first two.

    Overall I have generally not found that a lack of governance knowledge was the reason for the failure of an emerging technology company but rather a lack of technical vision and success in problem solving for the domain.

    Ed Loessi
    Faulkner Technologies

  2. Tara Kelly

    I’m discovering that Governance Knowledge can quickly become cumbersome if it isn’t Domain specific, or if it’s not properly proportioned to the stage and size of the startup.

    My future bets will be placed on Domain Knowledge — on its own, or as a validating pre-requisite for Governance Knowledge.