To be tech or not

There are startups that exist because they think they are good at the internet and are trying to find a use for their talents and learnings. There are companies that have had to figure out the internet to deliver the products and services they were delivering pre-internet. There are companies that have recognized that the internet can create brand new businesses based on previously untenable ideals and concepts.

At WebWednesday I listened to a great talk. It was by @JoanneOoi  of Plukka on the new way they are pioneering a method of delivering classy, almost bespoke jewellery, at prices that are far below that of the usual high-street retailers.

This company called itself a tech company and is also well recognised as such (as evidenced by the invitation to present at WebWednesday). The interesting question is why this company was defined as a tech company. Perhaps it was because they have a website, but then almost every company has a website. Perhaps it is because the majority of their sales are through the Web. However window companies that sell a lot of new windows by making telephone calls are hardly defined as a telecommunication companies. No, the medium of reaching the customer is not sufficient to be able to define a company as a technology company.

Calling yourself a tech company is a declaration. It is a declaration of an aspiration to be innovative, to be re-conceptualising the design and solution of an old world problem or need and formulating a new approach in a new connected more advanced system in which we live today. It’s trying to promise that the company will follow the protocols emerging in new business where companies are more open to what their customers want and say and subsequently try to react faster to these needs without adhering to the old ‘ways of doing things’. It is to set new and different standards.

If the medium of the Web disappeared, then we would see many companies fail. The true tech companies, those focused on where their function to their customers and society trump their marriage to their medium would somehow survive and flourish.

For as long as Plukka continue to execute their strategy and provide better ways of choosing and buying jewellery then they should be applauded and have every right to be labelled a ‘tech company’.