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Что делать, если хочешь IT-стартап, но не умеешь программировать. Совсем.

17.04.12, 23:51

Наткнулся на сайте Quora.com на очень интересный вопрос:

I want to start a tech startup. No experience with coding, what are my options other than finding a technical co-founder?

I am currently a college student in my senior year and want to start a tech start-up (sort of an aggregator) upon graduation. I have sufficient capital to invest in the company, however I have no experience with computer science or coding whatsoever! What are my options other than finding a technical co-founder?

What are the skills I should look for in potential employees to get the web application up and running from scratch including it's mainatiance?

Ответ на него дал Ian CrosbyCo-Founder @ 10sheet, TechStars NYC 2012:

18 months ago I was in a similar position to you. I felt like what I had was a great idea and money to invest in it, but I had no technical partner to help me execute. Fast forward to today and I've got a team of 5 fantastically talented developers, we're finishing up at the TechStars accelerator program, and we're about to raise a Series A. It's very possible to be successful without a technical co-founder, but it takes a little strategy and a lot of hustle. Here are my thoughts on the subject.

1. Find a code ninja to interview your applicants
Don't harbor any illusion that you have the ability to discern the technical ability level your applicants. You don't. You'll need a bonafied code ninja to interview the candidates for you. Your only role in the interview process is to assess cultural fit (i.e. find someone you actually like), and then feed the remaining candidates to your interviewer.

Find an interviewer who works at Google, Amazon, Facebook or a similar organization if you can. Someone who's technical ability has been validated by an objective third party that you can trust. Don't know anyone at a premier tech company? That's where the hustle comes in. If you want to start a tech company, you NEED to know talented people. So network like a boss and make it happen. 

Don't settle for an interviewer that's 'good enough'. You are putting the future of your startup in this person's hands. This person will make the most important decision in your startup's early life. So don't compromise on quality.

2. Generate a super talented applicant pool
Before you select a candidate, you need a pool of talented people to choose from. Use every weapon at your disposal to generate leads: oDesk.com,elance.comcraigslist.orgauthenticjobs.com, local tech meet ups onmeetup.com, house parties that your engineering friends throw, parties thrown by Computer Science and other geeky groups at your College, etc. 

Resist the temptation to go with a development shop. They're super expensive and not particularly motivated to make you successful.

3. Interview the right way
We've tried 10+ interview strategies and there's only one that's worked for us consistently over time: pair programming. Have your interviewer sit down (locally or remotely) and watch the candidates write code. You'll test them for their real coding ability, not their ability to answer questions or present well. Lots of people can talk big game about code, few can back up the talk with real skill.

4. Fire fast and start over
If a candidate has got all the way through your interview process but then fluffs the job, don't be afraid to get rid of them and start the hiring process over. Until you have real investors, there's no real pressure to hit milestones. Even if it slows down your development in the short-run, you'll be glad you did it. We fired our first two hires before we found our superstar technical lead.

5. Give them equity once they've proven themselves
To really keep your tech lead motivated, committed, and invested in your success, you need to give them substantial equity in the company. This doesn't need to happen right away. But once that person is 100% battle tested and you know exactly what you're getting, it's time to lock it down. (You should set up Stock Vesting over a number of years, which is an entire topic unto itself.) The ownership amount should be up for discussion, but something in the 3-10% range should be sufficient if he's taking a salary and you funded the company out of your own pocket at the beginning.

Additional notes:
  • Hiring a remote CTO can be a great solution. Eastern European countries (Russia, Ukraine, Romania, etc.) have fantastic untapped talent pools. Our CTO is from Russia and we relocated him here once we raised our seed round; it worked out quite well for us. We've hired 3/5 of our developers from Eastern Europe. oDesk.com is a fantastic platform for recruiting there. Hiring from India, however, doesn't seem to have worked for anyone that I know that's tried it (including us).
  • Don't hire someone who can only work part-time. You want someone who eats, lives, and breathes your project. Anything short of that and they just won't perform the way you need them to. If they're only willing to work part-time for you, they're clearly not passionate about your project.
  • Don't read dev blogs and think you know anything about what languages or solutions your dev team should use on your project. It's fine to present ideas to your team, but don't argue with your dev lead that he should use Ruby on Rails because "all the other cool startups are doing it." Let your dev lead make the right decisions for your project with his superior knowledge and experience.

Вот так вот. Всё возможно, господа не знающие премудростей PHP, mySQL и Ruby on Rails. И да, наши программисты рулят!

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