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Build or Sell: The two critical skills in tech

If you want to be invaluable in the tech industry, you need to learn to build or sell. These two skills are arguably the most important in the tech space since every crucial role falls under one of them.

Let's dive into what they mean, why they're important, and what they can look like, specifically in the tech industry.

Building

Building is the process of adding business value in some way. This can manifest itself in different forms, including:

  • Building new features for an application
  • Writing code to build an MVP
  • Designing the next iteration of a mobile app on Figma
  • Building a website with a no-code tool like Bubble or Wordpress
  • Managing a service

Selling

Selling on the other hand is the process of convincing someone to do something. Selling will look different depending on the business model and stage of the company. It could be:

  • Selling to customers in the form of copywriting, outbound sales, or online marketing
  • Designing landing pages or sales funnels
  • Selling the company's vision to investors when raising money through pitching
  • Selling upper management on what features or products to prioritize as a product manager
  • Inspiring direct reports by selling the company's vision
  • Selling the company's culture to prospective employees to attract talent through recruiting

Conclusion

At the end of the day, every critical role in a tech company will fall under building or selling. One also can't operate without the other. You cannot sell something that doesn't exist and you can't simply make a great product and not sell it. Nobody will buy it if nobody has heard about it.

Learn how to do one very well, and you'll become an asset to any business you join. If you're a startup founder, you should be able to do both.

"Learn to sell, learn to build. If you can do both, you will be unstoppable." - Naval

Just knowing what category your role falls under and how it fits into the bigger picture of your organization is invaluable. You'll have more insight into choosing the right problems to work on and how you can add value to your company.

Actionable advice: Learn to build (coding, designing, managing) or sell (copywriting, marketing, sales, PM). Become really good at one of them, then learn one skill on the opposite category to build your talent stack and become unstoppable.