Why would anyone ask such a question? One would think that everyone understands what a tech company is. Apparently not. It seems these days that any business in which the founder uses a laptop is a tech business/startup. It looks like everyone who uses technology to enhance their business in any way is a tech business. Apparently, it is now fashionable to be called a tech business or startup. Once you have used technology in any way to enhance or deliver your goods and services, you qualify to be labelled a “tech” business/startup.
Something Is Wrong
But something is wrong with that concept. Something is wrong because almost everyone today uses technology in one way or the other to enhance their business. From doctors to teachers to entertainers, technology is everywhere! Every business then becomes a tech business. Not.
A technology business, by definition, is one that offers technology as a product or service. The business either creates technology as a product or as a service. That is a technology business. Nothing else qualifies. Microsoft is a technology business. Apple is a technology business. Samsung is a technology business. Nissan is a technology business. Web4Africa is a technology business.
A business that merely uses technology to sell or scale is not a tech business. Same goes for a startup that merely uses technology. Technology businesses create and/or offer technology, be it hardware or software. They don’t just use it. Technology is the product or service that they sell. When next you hear that a business is “tech”, ask yourself this: What technology (service, software or hardware) does this business sell? If the answer is none, it isn’t a tech business. Simple.
But Even More Is Amiss
The fallout of the above clarification is that many so-called “tech” blogs are writing stories about companies and startups that are not actually “tech”. Most of the businesses and startups hailed as “tech” businesses by many “tech blogs” are not technology companies at all. Not by a long stretch. Some of them are entertainment businesses. Some are online stores. These businesses use technology to create, process or sell, but do not sell technology. They are not tech businesses. Similarly, some “tech” blogs barely report or publish anything about tech.
See? See how the picture instantly changes? The tech ecosystem in Nigeria is actually much smaller than you probably thought it was. Many of the startups and businesses that are labelled as tech businesses and so touted everywhere we turn are not at all tech businesses. What do we have left then? Only a handful of businesses that qualify to be called “tech”. A small handful.
It isn’t compulsory to be a “tech” business in today’s age. Business owners, bloggers and reporters need to get this sorted out and stop confusing people. A business that uses technology to sell entertainment is not a tech business. A business that runs an online store selling shoes, bags, food and clothing items is not a tech business. These are all valid businesses and there is nothing wrong with that. There is also nothing wrong in the fact that they are technology users like everyone else. However, to call them tech businesses? Please spare me the crap.
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.