Hey FD community,
Ok..so I’m developing a concept that fits somewhere along the periphery of the mobile app photo-sharing market-space (it’s a bit disruptive and unique, hence the periphery). The concept is rooted in my research in the humanities / social sciences, and as one who has spent years and years in advanced education, I’m pursuing the co-founder journey through Mordor as one who treats ideas the way Gödel treats theorems (seriously, my bedroom walls are lined with schematics like a guy who needs to go outside more). This is just to say, YES, I’m an idea person, YES, I get upset when people say ideas are a dime a dozen (although, I understand where they are coming from), but, NO, I don’t think my idea alone can carry the weight of my journey, obviously. So, I’m now looking for the ones who can help execute. Just so you know, I’ve validated (and continue to validate) the concept extensively, with good results so far. I’ve wireframed the concept and have several story-boards / thin-prototypes. And I’m great with public relations and interviewing / conducting focus groups (my background is in ethnography). I’m NEITHER a business developer NOR a programmer. Yes, I know I’m a biz dev in the sense that I’m moving through the pain-points of entrepreneurship and learning the ropes along the way, and, yes, I’m trying to learn what I can about programming, and am even dabbling in it a little. Nevertheless, I don’t have the wallpaper credentials of either, and I think this can turn some people away who want to see one of these “badges” posted on my LinkedIn profile.
So, my questions are directed to two types of co-founders: the hacker / programmer and the hustler / business developer. Moreover, these questions are intended to be structured in a way to get answers not only for myself but for anyone in my situation who may come across this post.
To business developers: Do you prefer that a programmed prototype (something demonstrable that potential customers can use) exists prior to coming aboard a situation like mine? Not the full architecture, necessarily, but something functional that is up and running? To be clear, by business developer, I mean someone who can assist with areas like fundraising, marketing, and financial metrics. Or, is substantial validation minus a programmed product enough? Lastly, if more remains to be desired in terms of validation (although progress is, in my case, good so far), how likely are you to come aboard?
To programmers: Do you prefer that someone who is business savvy in the areas of fundraising, marketing, and/or finance is in place prior to you coming aboard and building a working prototype? Validation is one thing, but I’m guessing you would like the piece of mind of knowing that the finished product will be in the hands of those who can confidently press forward. Or, is validation enough to come aboard without a bona fide biz dev person in place?
Please be candid and try to speak for yourself, not to what you believe to be the case for most biz devs or programmers (although your sentiments may align).
Finally, the point of asking these questions is twofold: 1) to get an idea of what type of co-founder I should aim to collaborate with first, and 2) to try to bring to other FD members (via this post) some clarity to this enormous chicken-or-egg problem. I’ve seen others try to get to the bottom of this issue in various forms over the course of reading other site-members’ posts and related responses, and I hope this helps.
I would be most grateful for any feedback you may have to offer. Apologies for going all “War and Peace” on you; I tried to keep it short, but...