IT startups urged to partner with veterans

Posted on  21/10/2011  |  Media Centre

Friday, October 21, 2011

BUDDING technopreneurs should embrace partnerships with experienced players to help build their ideas, an IT expert yesterday said.

“I think it depends on what the person is trying to do. If they have a great product idea and they just want to build it and take it to market, I would try to get as many experienced partners to help them along the way,” said Ann Burgraff, mentor advisor at NUS Enterprise, who was speaker at the fourth annual Think Big Innovate Forum.

Burgraff, who began her career in Silicon Valley, also urged technopreneurs to look at the Internet as a platform to connect with the right people across the world when looking for help in building their idea or product, but advised that nothing beats experience.

“The web is a great way to do that, the person doesn’t have to be in Brunei. If someone doesn’t have a new product idea, but they just want to experience life at a startup or building a new product, or bringing a new product to market, one thing I would recommend is finding a company you’re really interested in and doing an internship.

“Many companies especially startups love interns, especially if they’re inexpensive or free. So it’s a great way to get exposure and learn,” she said.

Burgraff said that is how hubs like Silicon Valley grew through people who want to simply learn and be a part of the process, eventually spinning off their own companies. “They go to companies, whether they’re big companies like Oracle, Microsoft, and they learn about technology and marketing and sales, and then they spin off and create their own companies.”

Work can also be done remotely, which allows cross-border partnerships to develop, she said, noting that taking the initiative to just immerse oneself in the industry and learn from the process can be “a scary notion for people”.

Asked about how budding entrepreneurs or technopreneurs in Brunei can overcome the fear of losing their ideas to someone else sometimes excessively keeping ideas under wraps to protect themselves in a small market, she said, “I think there’s a time to be stealth, like if you’re building a completely new, unique product, and you don’t want anyone to know about it like building a better widget or a better Facebook it’s good to be stealth.

“But otherwise, I think the more people who know about you, your product and what you’re doing, the better,” she said.

The Brunei Times

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