Why technical skills won’t take you all the way to success

A happy but also a naive engineer

Let me start by introducing myself, my name is Mads Mikkelsen and I am an engineer within the fields of robotics and electronics. I have always been fascinated with building things from scratch, especially, the ideation process of figuring out what sequence of automated processes that can take over boring manual actions and make them obsolete.

Nature took its cause and I ended up as an entrepreneur. But something I learned a bit too late on my journey was that technical acumen will only take you to the prototype – commercial acumen is needed to bring you all the way to the customer and a signed deal.

Prototype done – but where are the customers?

In 2017 I founded the company MM Technology, which specializes in industrial equipment and software for data integration and acquisition. This is a field known for being meticulously trouble-some due to many different industrial protocols, layers of custom-made programming and proprietary thinking. I wanted to create a simple translator, which could function as the middleman and make previously incompatible systems and equipment compatible. Quite a task! But as you might have guessed I succeeded and finished the prototype of the SIA (Smart Interconnect Access) platform in 2018. With a functioning prototype, I was sure I had overcome the largest of my challenges as a startup – but I was to become smarter.

I tried to hire competences with experience in sales, but it did not take long before it became obvious that more experience and strategic considerations were needed. Hence, I looked into start-up counselling programs and joined a few. Here I found experienced commercial experts that could

  • guide me in thinking more strategically on how to approach the market
  • advise me on how and what to prioritize
  • make me see the importance of planning for growth
  • and perhaps most importantly, change my focus from development to what do my customer need and will hence pay for

I am now able to pinpoint what commercial competencies are needed in the company, so I can attract the right candidates. Additionally, I have to build a huge network of talented people, who I frequently reach out to when I am in need of expertise or advise.

Much more than an engineer

In 2018 I have reshaped MM Technology and made it ready for embarking on a growth journey in the years to follow. I have developed my commercial acumen and found important people to continue collaboration with. I still need to look more into my network and identify the missing keys to complete the puzzle, but I am well on my way.

I want to end on a piece of advice – don’t only engage with people like yourself, it is very important to surround yourself with people, who have different strongholds than you.

So on that note – if you would like to connect feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/in/madshavgaardmikkelsen or read more about MM Technology at www.mmtec.io & www.linkedin.com/company/mmtec/.