Qualities of non-technical co-founders

Found this comment on Hacker News on the blog post: “Founders who can’t code“:

There’s a big difference between the HN stereotype and “real” business people. REAL non-technical co-founders:- Can raise funding and know funders well

– Have a massive network of people to tap into

– Can cold-call like no-one’s business

– Know how to negotiate a deal to the point of paranoia

– Have deep domain experience and connections

– Make plans for the future, but can pivot on a dime

– Can talk enough tech to understand well beyond buzzwords

– Know how to keep themselves and the tech side accountable

– Let the tech side concentrate on what they do best

Comment by Nick Pinkston.

My 2 cents

A lot of this is true. If you can’t code, you need to bring other things to the table. One thing that I have is a large network, can pivot, love tech and can talk to developers. I also have experience in a multitude of areas which are useful: business development, marketing, customer development, accounting, legals, etc…

I’ve always wanted to learn how to code – born out of a frustration on the limits on what I can do with technology. There’s a lot of free online resources as well as short courses I can do. In addition, I’m surrounded by tech genius both at work, at home and my friends. My brother is a PHP dev and has been building his own iPhone apps, and my cousin was a senior Java dev at Vignette in R&D.

My goal in the next 6 months is to learn the basics of programming. I’ve been talking to my developer friends, and it seems like learning how to code in Python or Java is the way to go. I thought I should learn HTML or CSS to begin with, but the consensus is to dive straight into those two.

I won’t be a competent developer for a long time, but it should give me enough to hack together a basic prototype if I have an idea or modify a wordpress blog. In addition, it will help me if I work with developers. It also expands my current knowledge and keeps me fresh – not off the boat btw =)


I’ve found these resources. Haven’t had a chance to sift through them yet:

Learn Python the hard way

Beginners Guide to Python

Teach Yourself Python in 24hrs

If you are reading this blog, please leave a word of encouragement and keep me accountable over the next 6 months! Ask me, “Matt – how is your programming lessons going?”, “Can you hack together a web app yet”. I would like to join the Startup Bus @ SXSW, so this will¬†definitely¬†help my case!

I’m out like the HTML,

Matt Ho