” From the very beginning, we said I’m the front man…
and you’re the guitarist with mystique. That’s the dynamic we agreed on.
Page, Plant, Mick, Keith–”
-Jeff Bebe, Almost Famous
Most social media startups are a collaboration between the social aspects and the technology. Even the most pure technological startups require an edge that people can relate to in order to gain success, otherwise your userbase will not be interested in your product, and potentially use your competitor’s product.
Programmers tend to be introverted and focus more on technology than the uses thereof and need to be balanced out. The creation of an application is a process of building a skeleton and building out the muscles, skin, circulatory system, and other parts that make the creation a living, breathing technology. A repetitive process of constant revision that improves upon the previous version in leaps big and small, from small bug fixes to the addition of new features. It sometimes takes a person to set the path for the programmer and promote it as he or she continues to build.
While the programmer focuses on all the cool stuff an application can do – be it for the web, the iPhone, or another platform – someone has to make sure that not only does the application get released regularly in the cycle but also make sure that others are aware that the application is out there and how it would be great for them to use. A hype man who can deal with the general public and sell it to potential investors so that the creation can continue unabated.
It is possible for a programmer to be creator and promoter for their work, but as the application grows, it becomes a lot of work for one individual. An amount of work that could grow out of hand as the project grows, to the point where the developer loses perspective on what they are doing. Most programmers don’t want to think about those aspects and are benefitted by someone who relishes those opportunities.
In the 1980’s, one of the most successful bands was Van Halen. Eddie Van Halen was considered a genius who invented guitar techniques replicated by everyone who picked up an electric guitar back then. When it came to interviews, Eddie was fairly low key and didn’t put forth the personality that leads a band to the heights Van Halen reached. The frontman that took Van Halen from technical rock band to the life of the party was David Lee Roth. “Diamond Dave” was the wild man at the front of the stage that sang, danced, jumped around, and made everyone want to get up and join him. The necessary hype’ man that took Eddie’s technical proficiencies and showed them off to the world.
The most successful social media ventures are those that have the perfect balance of the social aspects and the technology that hosts it. By having individuals that can balance out the hype man and the technical specialist, it can bring forth the best of both people and create something that neither would have been able to create alone.