Tech Vendor or Product Partner? Should You Even Care?

4 min read
Article by Andreea Chis
Product Consultant
Tech vendor or product partner featured image - a group of people standing thoughtfully around a table.

“Our client is our boss,” the saying goes. I am just wondering, is a tech vendor all we really are for some clients? Does this always happen? What are the implications of such a collaboration? I might not have all the answers, but I certainly grasp Tapptitude’s approach to this.

Tech vendor vs product partner

On the one hand, you might say that power is where money is–in this case, the client. The client has many options while being the final decision-maker. The client is the one defining the terms of the exchange; without a doubt, the client is always right. Since the money comes from them, the tech vendor must put together a financially-attractive proposal, execute his expectations, and never upset him. Serving the client at all costs seems mandatory; otherwise, there is no business. Here, we can (imperfectly) say our client is our boss. Yet this complete ownership comes with the caveat that for success in the long run, the client should have a clear roadmap for what they’re building and the know-how to evaluate the performance of the vendor.

On the other hand, however, you might be more utopian. You could tend to believe in an equal partnership, where both parties have an essential and hopefully straightforward say. A partnership where there are expectations on how the product is built, but they’re not imposed by one side but rather decided together. A way of doing things that enhances each other’s expertise and where the power is shared. A partnership where value is created at multiple levels and putting a price tag on it (even though it happens) is in vain. Here, we can (imperfectly) say our client is our partner.

How we work at Tapptitude with clients

We are a bit idealistic here at Tapp, as we don’t really believe in bosses–we don’t really empower hierarchies. We rarely put ourselves beneath the other side. We prefer the same level–the same table. We prefer being committed together. 

I know, we are a bit weird.

I might be biased since I’ve never gotten along well with an imposed authority–be they clients, employers, or colleagues. Respect is something that is earned. However, the blunt truth is that it all depends on how each party operates. There’s no such thing as “better”-just “better for me.” 

In my experience so far, founders who choose to be “bosses” usually look for tech vendors to execute. Meanwhile, the founders who believe in collaboration usually look for partners to co-create (a better product) with.

Are we the right product partner for you?

At Tapptitude, we believe in partnerships. We believe that 1+1 equals 3, in the long run, in the right setup. This, however, implies that we also look for specific characteristics when choosing to work with a founder. 

Are you one of the founders we’re looking for?

  • Problem. Do you understand the problem you are trying to solve to the level that you’re obsessed with solving it?
  • Validation. Do you believe validation is part of the process of building a product?
  • Funding. Do you have a runway budget of at least one year to ensure you’re giving your product the right chances of survival?
  • Open-mindedness. Are you open to having a partner that challenges you to look at problems differently?

I invite you to reflect on the type of tech vendor/partner you want–and how this choice impacts what you should expect from the collaboration you’ll have. Working Tapptitude–and product studios in general–is not for everyone. And that’s okay.

Let me know if our mindset aligns with yours, and let’s build something with impact–together! 🙂

Andreea Chis Product Consultant

Andreea has fallen in love with entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial mindset at 17. Ever since then, she’s been part of teams launching new services or products, both within companies and as a startup. She currently works as a Product Consultant within Tapptitude.