He is really hard to find nowadays. Many tried, many are still looking for this one person. They ask on forums and among friends. Even Sherlock Holmes would have a challenge with it.
Who are they looking for? The CTO for a startup.
I’ve recently read an interesting article on Techcrunch titled “Stop Looking for A Technical Cofounder”. It described why it would be hard to find your tech co-founder and what options you have right now.
Many startup founders think, that they have a great idea, they will find a tech co-founder quickly, they will build a product and then magic will happen. Then they will find an investor and build a great startup. Good luck with that.
“If you pay peanuts, you get Monkey” – James Goldsmith
In 95 % this is what happens next:
- tech people are really well-paid, so they don’t have motivation to join startups (exception: they are co-founders, they believe in the idea, they are pissed off with current situation);
- tech people know technology, but in many cases they haven’t managed a tech team or haven’t built a product from A to Z;
- non-tech founder doesn’t have enough money to keep tech team for longer than 2-3 months;
- building a product takes more time and energy than founder has assumed before the start;
- non-tech people start learning to code, but after a couple of weeks they lose motivation.
Is there any solution here?
Sure, there is.
First step: Don’t start your startup if you don’t have a market defined and maybe some declarations from buyers or preorders. Validate your idea with existing tools. Build the simplest MVP to prove your concept (it’s not a product yet). Check if people are already solving the problem some way and build a better way to do it.
Second step: OK, people are solving the problem with your “glued” MVP. Cool. Now it’s time to build a version 1.0 of your product – the base. Should you hire a CTO now? Yes, if it is your friend or someone who believes in your product or wants to sacrifice his/her well-paid corp job to build something awesome. In most cases you need a team at this stage (some front-end and backend devs, some graphic designers, UX designers etc.), but it doesn’t make sense to hire all of these people too early. Good people are really expensive and managing a team of unknown people is a huge challenge. At this stage, you should hire some external team for version 1.0 of your startup.
Before you choose your team ask yourself following questions:
- Did they build any startup before (by themselves)? – this proves, that they are familiar with all challenges and they won’t only be coders, but software devs who think both about tech and business side
- How do they create software? Is the methodology flexible and what’s the deliverability rate here?
- Are these guys team players? Do they work together on a daily basis?
- Do they argue with you? – never take someone who always says “YES”, later they don’t deliver what’s promised. Avoid “YES-people” in software development.
- Do I have enough money to keep them until a release of version 1.0? – money is running out quickly. Make sure you have enough cash to launch the product and start earning first bucks.
- How do they communicate? – Communication is the biggest challenge. You need to transfer human needs to business and tech and it takes some effort. Also working with remote teams is kind of challenging, that’s why
- Do they cooperate with someone like you, the person with an idea, who wants to build something great? Ask for the recommendation, talk to these people. Make sure they had the same obstacles like you, but the Tech Team solved all of them.
I see your doubts. All startups should have an in-house team. You are right, but in many cases it’s the last stage when you need such a dedicated internal team. A CTO won’t build your startup alone. Before that you need to optimize costs, processes and deliver version 1.0 ASAP to prove your hypothesis and convince investors to your product.
Third step: Good, you have the team, you have version 1.0 of your product, traction and hopefully funding (if needed) or sales. This is the time when you should hire some best people available on the market for your product. Product works, it is being sold, now it’s time to scale it!
Does using external Tech Partner make sense at the end of the day?
It does. We do create some startups this way and we help people with first steps. We cut off all unnecessary functions to deliver a product 1.0 within 2-4 months. Product Owner (The Startup Guy) cares about the business side, but he becomes a part of our team as well.
For many people from UK, Germany or USA such a solution is cost effective + they get well-organized and experienced tech people. The biggest benefit of such a cooperation is that you can keep your focus on business side when in the meantime Tech Partner like Desmart cares about effective software development of your startup (it also has an advisor’s role).
“Why did you decide to work with the external tech team and would you recommend it to young startup owners?”
I think that as long as you do your research into the team that you plan to work with then it is a great idea for young start up’s. It allows for flexibility and also you have the back up of a few developers, rather than having your eggs in one freelancer basket. Unless you have a mega budget to employ your own in house team, then I think it is the best option. Despite having some excellent experience with freelance developers you can not rely on their continued involvement the way that you can with a reliable external team
Still not convinced?
Well, let’s get in touch and argue a bit. I am also curious of your points on that topic.With an experienced Tech Partner, you can build something and launch it quickly. With random tech folks, it’s rather gambling. Without methodology and any previous project run together you will deal with many HR issues like communication, lack of understanding everyone’s role etc.
Let’s Talk Dear CEO!