Hacker, hustler or hipster?

20 May 2014

Ben Southworth spoke at Wayra yesterday and shared his opinion that there are three types of business personality.

1. Hacker

A digital, ‘business to business’ service built by developers, for developers. Uses great technology to make life easier for developers, who become advocates within their own companies (generating sales).

Stripe typifies this type of ‘hacker’ business, providing a smart payment system for developers to use.

2. Hustler

A digital service targeting middle-managers (often business to business), ‘Hustlers’ sell on benefits like ease of use, great customer service, and value for money. The technology does not need to be sophisticated (and might be relatively basic).

Mailchimp typifies this type of ‘hustler’ business, making electronic mailing lists quick and easy for people with limited time and technical ability.

3. Hipster

A socially driven, brand focussed business that relies on being ‘bang on trend’ and has social baked in. This type of business is beautiful and personal, often free, and might have a huge number of users but can be difficult to monetise (which leads to the question: is it actually a business?) . . . and remaining ‘bang on trend’ takes a lot of time and insights.

Instagram is a typical ‘Hipster’ that creates a loyal and passionate community of users (but struggles to find a business model).

What kind of business is yours?

Understanding the personality of my new business (a product management consultancy) has helped me to understand my customers and refine my value proposition. My business is a hustler, selling to middle managers: I need to sell simple benefits (like increased user engagement) rather than complex features (like technical explanations of product management).