The Technical Entrepreneurs Dilemma

Maybe a lack of technical skills is actually a big advantage.

Apr 18, 2017 · 3 min read

Right now there are thousands, even millions of wannabe entrepreneurs out there with a great idea who also believe they don’t have the skills needed to bring their idea to market. Every startup event I go to I hear the same excuses, “I don’t know how to code” or “I need to find a technical founder”! Sorry, I have no sympathy — most entrepreneurs launching new companies can’t do it all. The successful entrepreneurs embrace the areas they are weak and work on them.

This is a message to the non-technical entrepreneurs out there, the grass isn’t greener on the other side. Those entrepreneurs with the technical skills don’t have an advantage over you, and a lack of technical skill could be a big advantage.

A high barrier to entry, ensures a well tested idea

A high barrier ensures only the good ideas and the good founders get through. As a non-technical founder there is a high barrier to building a tech product. You have to convince other people to help you build your idea with time and money or you need to learn the technical skills to bring your idea to market.

Given this high barrier a non-technical founder will want to be sure of their idea, the market opportunity and how they convince people to buy it before they start building. Technical founders often waste a lot of time building a product without a market.

Sales & Marketing are first class citizens

Do you know how many amazing coders are out there building great stuff that will never get used? Hell, I’ve been in that situation more than a few times myself! Building a great product is just the beginning, the tough bit is finding enough people to give you money for it.

Successful companies rely on sales and marketing. Even product led organisations need to get users and spread the word effectively. I would rather bet on an entrepreneur with the ability to generate sales than one who knows the latest JavaScript framework.

As a non-technical founder, learn how to reach your customers and sell to them. Your business may fail without the right product but it will definitely fail without the right sales!

Entrepreneurship is about finding a solution to a problem that people will pay for.

This is to often forgotten in the world of well funded tech startups where there is a strong focus on product development. While having a world class product is key to any entrepreneurs success remember that a product is nothing without customers.

Technical founders have the benefit of being able to build products to solve their own problems but beware the technical founders dilemma of building an MVP before researching the market and finding potential customers. As a non-technical founder you might have more valuable skills to build a tech company than you think.

Thanks for reading this far! If you liked my post lets continue the discussion in the comments or tweet me! I’d love to hear your point of view.

You may also like this post I wrote on teams…

Oli Gibson

Written by

Product Manager @ ThoughtWorks

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