What Is A Technology Company?
New computing and software technology continues to revolutionize our economy. But do we even know what a technology is at this point?
Here are three interesting interpretations:
Marc Andreesen, Netscape co-founder and your favorite VC’s favorite VC: “Airbnb makes its money in real estate. But everything inside of how Airbnb runs has much more in common with Facebook or Google or Microsoft or Oracle than with any real estate company. What makes Airbnb function is its software engine, which matches customers to properties, sets prices, flags potential problems. It’s a tech company—a company where, if the developers all quit tomorrow, you’d have to shut the company down. To us, that’s a good thing.” (See full quote here).
Alex Payne, led API development at Twitter: “‘Tech company’ and ‘tech startup’ are over-applied labels that have outlived their usefulness. Calling practically all growing contemporary businesses ‘technology companies’ is about as useful as calling the enterprises of the industrial era ‘factory companies’; it accurately describes an aspect of what they are (or were), but it doesn’t really capture the totality of their operation. It certainly doesn’t tell you anything substantive about how they’ll behave in the market over the long term, which is probably the most useful reason to label a business at all.” (See full quote here).
Varun Shetty, founder of You Do The Dishes and proud owner of 251 Twitter followers: “Who cares what we call the companies or how we classify them? The real question is where they are extracting value from. Some traditional technology companies build technology and extract value from that core technology – your Googles and Facebooks and Twitters. And then there are companies that use technology to facilitate the extraction of value from some other good. These companies use technologies to make or facilitate markets – Etsy, Groupon, AirBnB, e-commerce sites like Chloe & Isabel. Does the label matter? No, it’s imperfect. The only thing that matters is that technology is driving the creation of value, even if that value is adjacent to the technology itself.”