Our latest poll asks what it takes to be an entrepreneur today – is technology key to success or are other factors just as important?

Our final Entrepreneurship Matters session saw Lisa Bridgett, Global Director of Sales and Marketing at NET-A-PORTER, talk about how the online retailer combines technology and creativity to preserve its entrepreneurial environment.

From the start, its focus on technology has been intrinsic to NET-A-PORTER and its success; its digital footprint stretches across mobile apps and social media, as well as its ‘traditional’ site. A new social shopping experience is in beta testing, and, according to Lisa, nurturing people with coding expertise is one of the key priorities of the company.

But Lisa also talked about how the influence of Natalie Massenet, NET-A-PORTER’s founder, is felt across the company, from the interns up to the directors. Apparently she walks the floor of their vast, open-plan HQ atop Westfield Shepherd’s Bush shopping centre, sharing her passion, creativity and willingness to explore new ideas, encouraging staff to think and work innovatively. And the technology focus is backed up by traditional values. Customer relationships are paramount, and there is a large customer service team ready to advise and take orders by telephone.

So what is the key to entrepreneurial success?

Is technology essential for entrepreneurial success today?

Technology companies dominate the public perception of successful start-ups. Ask people to name a successful start-up from the last few years and chances are they’d come back with Apple (despite it being well out of its start-up phase) or one of the ‘unicorns’ (start-ups with a valuation of $1 billion) that hail from Silicon Valley, like Uber, AirBnB or Dropbox.

While these companies clearly do not represent the vast majority of entrepreneurs, the technologies they’ve created have had a huge impact on entrepreneurship around the world (as LSE Entrepreneurship’s director described at the unit’s launch – read about it in this post). The high-profile tech start-ups facilitate smaller scale entrepreneurship by creating accessible online marketplaces (the App Store, Etsy, ebay), payment systems (Bitcoin, Paypal) and office infrastructure (Dropbox, Skype). It means one person with a PC and a credit card can start a business.

Yet, if you google ‘successful entrepreneur’ the many thousands of articles about that topic rarely focus on technological prowess. There’s a lot more about personal traits like tenacity, willingness to fail and problem-solving, as well as advice on building customer relationships, pitching confidently and closing initial sales.

Is this because technology’s not as important as these other factors, or is it because today technology is so ubiquitous it’s not worth mentioning?

So what do you think? Is technology essential for entrepreneurial success today? Vote now in our latest poll!

Sara Feast is Communications and Events Officer at LSE Entrepreneurship.