Three Lessons Learned From A Technology Entrepreneur’s Journey: It Takes People, Patience, And Persistence

Joe McKendrick | Forbes | June 5, 2021 takes much, much more than a great idea to build a business — no matter how wondrous the technology. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to speak with many technology professionals who got tired of working for someone else and parlayed their talents into starting new businesses. What they consistently have shared is that technical chops and interesting ideas are only half the story — or maybe even only 25% of it. Success is more dependent on developing the people skills and coping mechanisms to deal with fickle customers, difficult employees, nervous investors, constantly probing competitors, and incursions by larger tech giants. Oh, and one more thing — tending to the needs of one’s family and personal well-being....Bruno Lowagie has a word for the individual with technical skills who channels their technical chops into a business idea — “entreprenerd.”

He is an entreprenerd himself, having spent his career in the tech industry, developing iText, a FOSS PDF library that is free and open source software. He eventually sold the company he and his wife, Ingeborg, ran, iText Group, with subsidiaries in Belgium, the US, and Singapore, to three private equity companies backed by another storied entreprenerd, Peter Thiel. Lowagie released a book about his journey in business, titled Entreprenerd: Building a Multi-Million-Dollar Business with Open Source Software, which documents his journey from initial idea to eventual exit. It is an account of dealing with personal crises, to finding the right management team, to legal challenges he and Ingeborg faced leading up to the company’s sale in March, 2020. The company was entirely self-funded, Lowagie points out.

In his book, Lowagie shares three key lessons learned from his entrepreneurial journey. His inspiration was drawn from the TV series House, which he watched with his son who was recovering from cancer during the time the company was being formed. In the show, Dr. House, an extremely cranky but brilliant practitioner, was able to employ deductive reasoning to solve even the most baffling medical issues...