Technical = Coder. Non-Technical = Non-Coder.
We get 17 seconds into your new startup pitch when I ask you if you’re technical and you say yes. Awesome, I say, and we keep going. I’m on the phone with you because I honestly want to help you. A bunch of startup marketing mumbo-jumbo later and you tell me you’re looking for a coder to help you.
WTF?! You said you were technical?!
Oh, you meant that you’re familiar with the technology. I see.
You took an HTML course in college. You know more about tech than everyone else in your MBA program. You were president of the technology club. You are the one that explains what the cloud is to your friends. You follow TechCrunch on Twitter. You’re the mayor somewhere on Foursquare. You went to SouthBy last year (and refer to it only as SouthBy). You set-up your Roku all by yourself. You have a blog on WordPress. You downloaded Zed Shaw’s book. You have a gorgeous About.me page. You follow Robert Scoble. Yeah, you’re technical…
The only thing is, you see, you can’t code.
You can’t build stuff. You can’t take an idea in your head and produce a
product that works. You haven’t had things break on you. You haven’t spent hours looking for a mistyped space. You don’t get in the zone. You’ve never been on pager duty. You haven’t spent 10 years learning your craft. You’re reliant on other people to make things for you.
You’re always looking for coders.
I don’t code on our team. I’m responsible for product design, PR, sales and marketing, business’y stuff, fundraising, team stuff, and ordering lunch and taking out the trash. Our company is nothing without my technical cofounders. We make a good team. I’m not a coder. I’m not technical. At least I know it and have found other ways to contribute.
A final footnote before I get shat on by the trolls. If you’re an MBA or some other non-technical founder and you work your ass off and earn the trust of coders. And, with their help, together you build incredible products that people want—then my support and respect go out to you and please know this post was not at all intended at you.
About Jason Freedman
Entrepreneur, Co-Founder at 42Floors, Co-Founder at FlightCaster, YC-alum, and a Tuck MBA