What Every Startup Founder Needs to Know About Their Tech
So many people have a tough time finding a tech cofounder and it’s obvious why. A really good tech cofounder has experience in building something from nothing. It’s a lot of work and burden to put on someone if you can’t really contribute other than determining and prioritizing features. If you don’t have much experience in building a tech product (web app/iphone app/etc.) then you’re looking for someone to make magic happen. Finding a tech cofounder for a lot of people is still that magic pill solution that unfortunately is hard to find. So here’s what you can do to bypass that step… Learn the basics! You don’t need to learn how to code fully (though it helps). You’ll be able to make the technical decisions that will take you to an MVP (Minimal Viable Product). If you can answer the questions below you can easily outsource and contract a lot of your development. That means you’ll have a product or service ready to go in less time and for less money. I intentionally did not give you the answers… Take the time to do some basic research.
Languages & Code
- What are the main rapid development languages, and why do some developers prefer them over others?
- What are the rapid development frameworks in these languages?
- What is version control, ie, GIT?
- What is MVC and why does it matter?
- What is a Service Oriented Architecture?
- What is a Micro-Service?
- What type of architecture makes sense for my idea?
- Why AWS, Azure, Heroku or Rackspace?
- How much monitoring do I need from day 1?
- What is load balancing and do I need it?
- Do I care how secure my data is on day 1?
- How do I make sure no one can steal the data that I care about?
- What is PII and how can I obfuscate it?
- Do I want my developers to work in Waterfall?
- Do I want my developers to work in Agile?
- What is SCRUM, what is Kan-Ban and do I care at this early stage?
- What will my idea cost me in time and dollars to build if I use a freelancer, offshore contractor or full time developer?
- How much product do I want to build on first try? What about the second iteration?
As a startup founder, I can say with full confidence that you don’t need a tech cofounder at all if you know this info on a ground-floor, basic level. It’s a scary thing to do though because of all the insecurities that come along with running your own business but consider this. If you are waiting and waiting to find a tech cofounder and you still haven’t pulled the trigger and started your business in some capacity than you are not an entrepreneur at all. All businesses need something called validation. Not mommy and daddy telling you how smart you are, but an actual paying customer. All the excuses in the world (tech cofounder being one of them) won’t get you there any faster.
If you haven’t taken the plunge and taught yourself how to code by now it means you really don’t want to and that’s fine. There are however many things you can learn to help you manage your development and get something shipped. That’s the most important thing you can possibly do… Ship a product. Now don’t feel like you need to have something before you get to validation. One of the most famous stories of growth hacking and development is dropbox and it’s for good reason. With a very basic pre-signup landing page they got over 100,000 signups in their first week. That’s extraordinary. Imagine having a lead list like that even before you launch. 100,000+ people that are interested in your product give you their email address to message them when you make your app public. That’s wonderful. Most of us would go nuts for that.
Don’t get bogged down by how things “should be done”. All of the companies you admire broke all the rules. Many of them started with close to no funding and low budgets. Many of them existed for years with limited to no traction. The difference between them and you is that they started. Stop creating reasons why you can’t and learn the basics. Once you do you’ll be able to hobnob with the best of them.
Here’s the best part. If you take the time to learn and find the answers to the questions above you’ll create something… Whether people want to use it and pay for it is another process in itself but you’ll be part of the way there and that’s a lot farther than most.