Awesome Ideas · Non technical

Non-technical entrepreneur. What to do?

MARIANO BLUMENFELD Founder & Managing Director at MALKA (malkasite.com) ✪ Collections Specialist

June 7th, 2017

I have an idea but I do not know anything about software development & I don´t have money to invest. Which option is better: a) looking for a technical partner or, b) Try to get a loan and just to outsource development? Another option I'm not considering?

Ben Cotta Sales and new business development expert. Business startup pro.

June 7th, 2017

Hey, an idea is good. You don't need to know anything about software dev and you don't need any money to invest. You should try and validate your idea to see if people will actually pay money for it... if so you could possibly get funding via pre-sales if you have a good concept and it commands the price/value/worth bothering for etc... message me I can point you in the right direction. :)

John Zhu Can help MVP development in exchange of sales expertise

Last updated on June 9th, 2017

Mariano,

I am a big believer that you can serve first a few customers with little need of software development. In other words, serving the first batch of customers manually, by using tools such as emails, Facebook pages etc.

Rarely rarely, great ideas require a software system to serve its first customer.

May I suggest you think deeply, and design a process to serve the first customer manually and by available tools. If you need to twist your ideas to meet this end, so be it.

I served my first customer with a one-page html file and email. Ebay started as several database scripts and daily emails. If you can do this, you will be in a great position.

Good luck to you


John

Amit Bhattacharyya 17 yrs hands-on @ Ent. solution architecture, s/w design & development. Want to join Startups.

Last updated on June 17th, 2017

Hi Mariano,


I can understand the daunting predicament here but it is not as difficult as it is looks to be . I had recently answered a very similar question on Quora in quite some detail .

My inclination is not to totally outsource development . The lure of offloading all the headache to outsourcing is enticing but should not be jumped to, right away . Having a technical co-founder/Senior Technical leadership reporting completely into you would also be good options to look into.


Now on evaluating a technical co-founder, I would love to share my 2 cents!!


I know you are non-technical which means either through forums/groups/meetups & other networking, you can at least vet your idea and get information at a very high level about the following topics. So my aim here is to let you know that the below bullet points need to be laid down on a table and looked at, while you are progressing to your bigger decision of bringing a Tech guy onboard.

  • At least have a high level flow overview of "which" & "how" technologies come together to help your company achieve the solution/idea that satisfies the business objectives for your customers and is a part of your value proposition.
  • Is your company going to be involved in handling customer data and if so which technical products enable you to do this and how secure are they?
  • What components of your technical systems will or may require regulatory constraints (either Industry drivers like PCI compliance or other Govt. regulations)?
  • If you core offering is not software or tech-heavy , then what is the level of control you really desire on the tech aspects of your startup - software development/deployment/maintenance or Data Center setups and management or System Integrations between homegrown & 3rd party or if there is other hardware control and management necessary or control of digital channels as well as related technology aspects key to Startup success.
  • How is technology helping/will help your company in supporting customers post launch of your products as well as future product diversifications and business expansions?

So these are a host of important questions. Get involved and educate yourself on these aspects of your business. And hence pretty soon as you push yourself forward with this exercise, you will quickly develop the basic knowledge which will help you in your early conversations & apply quick filters to arrive better, on a list of potential probables.

Now based on the actual work that they have done in the past, (detailed references are desirable which will also help you) also focus on some of their other capabilities which are attitude related.How flexible is the attitude on the evaluation and adoption of new technologies and solutions ? How do they handle failure and their approach to successfully rebound?Persistence is a great quality but in technical troubleshooting , you sometimes have to have the ability to try out multiple paths of solution search rather than adamantly sticking to a single route and pivot intelligently.


So this is a lot of work I know and the temptation to rid of the headache is to just outsource but if you do this , then the benefits of this will be with you longterm . You will have a much better handling of the technical side and will never feel overwhelmed or out of control. So all the best in your search.



Scott Hudson Owner of Hudson Legal Services PLLC and the Stratagem software product

June 7th, 2017

One option you might consider (and that I've had some luck with) is teaching yourself how to code through tutorials. There are dozens of free tutorials on youtube and formal courses are available very inexpensively on udemy.com. I'm making an app myself and I went from having no background in computer programming whatsoever to having a functional app in about 4 months. Good luck and I would be glad to chat about it if you would like more info.

Paolo Dotta Co-Founder @Altar Technologies, @10kstartup

June 9th, 2017

Hi Mariano!

Going straight to the point (I was in your position): you always need a bit of money to start. Even if you work on it yourself, you always need money to survive while you're not getting paid. btw, YOUR TIME IS MONEY!!!!

Try to raise some fff money (family - friends - fans), coz loan is dangerous if you're not repaying it back...


Besides learning how to code (which I really don't suggest because of the length of time that it might take), you have three options:

  1. The most idyllic situation is represented by the so-called "Soulmate CTO". You've got to find the right person: someone technically competent that shares your vision and compatible with you and your philosophy. Though this person is very hard to find, and the research can take lots of your time and energy.
  2. Hiring developer can also be a a great option, since you're not be marrying anyone before a trial. On the other side play carefully with the management: managing developers is not easy and requires some experience before being good at it.
  3. Third option is the agency indeed. One one side is a great option, coz you don't have to worry about managing resources and you're not gonna be engaging anyone for the board of the business. On the other hand there are several points to take into consideration to understand if that agency is the right partner for you (pricing, philosophy, experience, expertise, and many more).

I've just sum up what's inside the article: CTO, Developers, Agency? What’s the Best Way to Build YourStartup? (https://goo.gl/zfqmKe).


If you'd like to discuss more please be in touch with me: I'm one of the cofounder of 10kstartup.com, a collective of second-time founders with lots of startups launched that builds (design + dev) MVP in 1 month for the low price of 10k USD.

Thanks for reading, happy to help

Paolo

Stefan Smiljkovic Doing lot of stuff, from growth hacking, UI/UX,

June 18th, 2017

Mariano, you might heard this many times, especially from popular big mouths as Gary Vee (which doesn't mean he invented the sentence).


Anyway, ideas are nothing and most are shits.


You have no technical knowledge, you have no money, but want to start something ?


I think you are in bit of trouble my friend.


How does someone who doesn't provide few critical experience can provide a value ?


Just simply having some idea, which you don't know if its possible to do it, how much it can cost and so on ?


So, I suggest you to start learning a bit, and reading about Javascript Ecosystem and Open Source Community.


There, you will understand many things, how you can get something at much lower cost or even free, where on another hand someone else would charge $XX.XXX ...


And yeah, taking a loan is easy, but not sure what would happen if you fail with your idea, since you don't have either technical knowledge or money to invest.


I am talking from point of view of the Technical guy, who spent lot of time into JavaScript Ecosystem, but I am not developer and not writing the code.


Why I am telling you this ?


Cause I was like you, without technical knowledge, with no money to invest, but over the time I got both.


Back 11-12 years ago, I was a student with $0 on account and everything started just with a free domain and hosting which provided a blogspot.com (Google).


Now I am founder of vanila.io, where leading team of developing apps using cutting edge tech.


Good luck and have fun Mariano.


Peace,

Jay Crouch Freelance CTO & Startup Coach (5x successful entrepreneur)

June 13th, 2017

Never, ever, trust it all to just one person - or agency.


Software development is too expensive, and too complex, to be managed alone. It doesn’t matter how senior your technologists are or whether you trust them. Every technologist on the planet should regularly explain their decisions to other technologists. It’s really that simple. Independent review is how you catch mistakes early, prevent agencies from fattening their contracts, and stop developers from writing bizarre code that ensures their job security.


If you want to know more, here is a link to the e-book I'm writing about building MVPs cheaply and scaling teams effectively. For now it's just a google doc... I'll try to update this note with a link to the ebook on my website when it's ready. https://tipsfortechteams.com

Jacob Baytelman CTO, Founder, Full Stack Developer

June 12th, 2017

hire a techie :)

As simple as that :)


Kevin Fortier

June 13th, 2017

I think it depends on what your idea is. If it is a really technical business you NEED to know something about technology. But if you have an idea that is only supported by technology then you should do what others have recommended and prove the concept manually.


For example, if you have a great idea for a medical device, yea you should probably take some time to do some studying. Maybe you won't be a genius techie, but you will need to at least be able to convince a genius tech that it is possible and get him/her excited about the problem.


Everyone sites the airbnb founder as a non-tech entrepreneur example. This is not a very technical business. Maybe as they scaled the business became more technical, but the business is not based on some complicated underlying technology.


Nowadays, all airbnb would take is a wordpress site with some plugins. You could do this yourself and get used to overcoming obstacles in the process, or if you have a few thousand dollars pay a developer to whip something together.


Then iterate and optimize to test out your business idea(s) and prove the concept.


Do not take a loan!!!


I think it will be harder than you think to convince a technical cofounder to join you this early on. Get the ball rolling. I would be happy to talk to you about your idea to see if we can find the path of least technical resistance.

Samuel Vishal CEO & Founder @ Purple Artech Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

June 7th, 2017

You can get a basic website done which wudnt be much expensive and then pitch it the investors.

Whatsapp +918674932990

or writeto me at purpleartech@gmail.com