Out of frustration, I decided to leave a post here hoping that it would help the ‘Non Technical’ entrepreneurs understand what’s in the mind of their technical peers and how NOT to build a toxic startup.
I’m a full stack developer and tech entrepreneur just moved recently to Seattle to work on a new startup. Few months ago, a friend of mine (whose a biz guy) pitched his idea about a new startup and asked me if I would join him and help build the software. I was not interested in the idea itself, but I belived in him so I said yes. We started working together and I finished building the whole software in a couple of weeks. Once finished, I thought we would be hustling to get customers, iterate, make the product better, etc… But I was surprised that once I finished, he started throwing huge milestones my way just to keep me busy. All of the sudden, we need to build a client for all mobile phones, a web client, couple of major features that would take months to be finished, constant changes. All of that before we have even got our first customer!
Here is what’s wrong with that and what you could learn from it as a non-technical cofounder:
- Non-technical co-founders need to understand that when a programmer joins their team, it’s not because they can’t come up with their own ideas, or because they LOVE to work for a startup. Programmers want to use their skills being “part of a diverse team” to make something of value. Being a biz guy doesn’t make you a better entrepreneur than a programmer.
- Some non-technical founders think they can keep programmers happy by throwing coding tasks at them all of the time. While this might be true for some programmers. But for those programmers who risked their careers and jumped into a startup, they obvioulsy want something more than just coding.
- Some non-technical founders think they should be the decision makers (the boss) for some fictional reasons. Keep one single fact clearly ringing in your head all of the time, if I want a boss to tell me what to do, it would not be you. I would go work for any company, get X grand a month instead of letting you driving me crazy for free.
- Finally, if you think you should be the one making decions for the rest of the team and push them to do it.. Let me save you time and save others some paint, go freelance someone. There is a difference between being a leader and being a jerk.
I feel better now. Hope this would help somebody.