2014-08-09

Notes for Non-technical Founders Looking for Technical Co-founders

Jotted down after the N-th time I had to answer this. Probably partially applicable to technical founders who are just getting into the nubznz game.

In general

(... ok, maybe just in South-East Asia.)
  • Read everything on google's page 1 for "non-technical cofounder", and page 1 for "why startups die" and you should be good to go.
  • This is a website for matching co-founders (hopefully) https://www.cofounderslab.com/
  • startupjobs.asia has billions of non-techs looking for tech-co-founders. Check it out to see what you're up against.
  • Be super proactive in seeking first-hand, local-market advice, from recent non-technical founders who have bootstrapped their software operations via outsourcing. Ask everyone you know if they know someone, who might be willing to have a chat with you about their experiences.

In Malaysia

  • https://www.facebook.com/groups/wckljobs/ <- you can post in detail about what you're looking for in a co-founder here. Non-detailed posts will probably be ignored due to the volume of non-technical founders looking for technical founders.
  • https://www.facebook.com/groups/webcamp/ <- this is the parent group of the jobs group. No job postings here. But a lot of meetups between developers and designers are in this circle.
  • MaGiC - has some funding. Headed by some chick who sold a company to WalMart.
  • If you're raising funds, get ready to meet dingdongs at every corner. It's a bit of a bubble right now. dingdongs = inexperienced investors; it's a bit of a bubble right now. Not a good thing.

Bootstrapping: Coding a Web App

Your options are basically a bunch of scripting language platforms which have enough community support to be reliable. Ruby, Python, PHP, JavaScript are all viable candidates. Ruby is a bit of a mess (I'm doing that now), and PHP has a lower barrier to entry.

Second. You don't want to be writing things from scratch, so again a community supported framework within the chosen language would be necessary. Ruby -> Rails, PHP -> CakePHP, for example.

A Case for PHP

If you're planning on hiring in KL, you're probably in a better spot with PHP because KL is quite behind the curve on Ruby (supply of skilled labour).

For your own first-timer development infrastructure, EasyPHP and CakePHP might be the way to go, for Windows users. PHP is also (arguably) the closest relative (in this bracket) to ALGOL, which is the ancestor of stuff like Visual Basic which you may have used before, if you have done much work in Microsoft Excel.

A Case for Ruby

Globally, the Ruby language and the Rails rapid development framework, have the greatest community support in this bracket. If you have the luxury of time, then consider learning this stack instead.

A Case for Python

If your core product or service relies heavily (read: is how you make money) on crunching a lot of numbers fast, say a statistical analysis or mathematically algorithmic product/service, then Python is a good place to start. This is because Python has a high degree of adoption among the scientific (and thus finance) communities, with a lot of common/basic/popular mathematical libraries that can crunch numbers fast. You'll figure out the details of how this works later, but for now just look in this direction.

A Case for JavaScript

If your core product or service relies heavily on user-interface design, then you probably want to start with JavaScript, as you'll need it to get prototype user-interfaces up and running for web or mobile applications. JavaScript can also be used on the server-side to write infrastructural software, so consider that a bonus.

other hubris...

Personally, I've been interested since 2008 in a pattern that seems to occur all over the place. This would be in the "grand-unified market-clearing social-network," problem. Analytics wise you just need lists of "stuff I have," and "stuff I want," - the rest is analytics ops work. Every market can be modeled like that. Just my 2sen.

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