In the language of technology, a “Full Stack Developer” is someone who understands how to code every level of a computer: from the fundamentals of server processes to backend programming to database architecture and front-end design. They’re among the most valued members of an organization, able to translate between the layers of a system. A Full Stack Developer can be your best resource whether you’re planning for top-notch performance, diagnosing a tricky situation that’s eluded your best specialists, or are just quickly hacking your way to an MVP.
Allow me to introduce the idea of a similar unicorn: the “Full Stack Business Development” person. A Full Stack BD understands the complexities and interactions between every layer of long-term value:
- The Customer Layer: a Full Stack BD knows that customer development is just as important as partnership development. They understand what motivates, what upsets, what delights your current and prospective customers.
- The Product Layer: a Full Stack BD knows how to identify and solve the needs unearthed in the Customer Layer. They inform the products and services that create value for customers and help advance their own organization’s pursuit of long-term value.
- The Strategy Layer: a Full Stack BD knows how look before they leap, to evaluate the best paths to long-term value. They are comfortable directing attention back towards internal resources like product development or marketing, but can also lead the charge in selling the idea of partnership when the best path leads outside the company walls.
- The Human Layer: a Full Stack BD knows how to reach and connect with people, to communicate the value of an idea to an individual and to an organization. They know how to establish a bond based and build relationships that provide back in equal proportion to everyone involved.
- The Relationship Layer: a Full Stack BD knows how to keep the balance between what’s given and what’s received, when to tow the company line and when to advocate on behalf of another. They know how keep value flowing, so that it’s sustainable and worth the effort.
The path to becoming good at Business Development can be start from a background sales, or marketing, or finance, or partnerships, or accounting, or liberal arts, or law. But becoming great at it requires the full stack.