Having had two conflicting advice from startup incubators/investors I'm now more confused than ever. One said get the concept validated and gather a team, so I built a prototype and had several video demo's and received excellent feedback, it went very well, so well that one subject took it upon himself to go and build his own version etc! but struggled to find candidates to form a team. The other said stop validating, learn to code and build a working model asap to reach series A. I have never coded, is this possible using Udemy etc? I do know my concept is viable, but the execution is a painful process!!
To come up with a "working model' you need to keep testing and iterating till you get it right. I think both are saying the same thing. You need to bootstrap your idea either by yourself or with a co-founder.
In your case, I think finding a technical co-founder may work best for you because you want to get your idea to end users as quick as you can, so you can collect feedback and improve your product market fit.
There are few other places that you can find co-founder:
At softup, we help startups get their ideas off the ground. If you're considering a third option, shoot me an email.
Best of luck!
Pennant, you say you are in Devon. I have mixed feelings about remote teams having done it for quite some years and starting to go stir crazy. So ultimately you need to get out, get a team in the same room and be able to go for beers with them.
but, to get started with your idea, Devon is no issue at all. I have a sysadmin who lives 300 miles away and i have never met ( but done lots of chats, background checks, etc to make sure he is trustworthy). i have used web developers, a guy to create a logo, graphic designers, etc who live all over uk - never met any of them.
And my current CTO lives in Serbia. Yes we've known each other for years and got long history. But never met.
and to be honest (and i can say this because i am a techie too) a number of techies have, lets say "interesting" attitudes to socialising. So finding one that is happy to hide behind a screen and use skype chat for 95% of convo with you will not be a problem! Btw, skype chat is a great way to converse "live" with them because everything is recorded and easy to refer back to.
i am not saying this process is easy. And that beer with him is going to have to wait til we launch, make some money and we can arrange him a business visa to even be allowed into the UK. But do not let that put you off finding some great tech guys on here and working remotely ... for now.
Any other tips on remote teams just ping me a msg...
who exactly told you to "learn to code"? I don't mean tell me their name. I mean, was this an "investor"? what was their role. Because this is infuriating. The exact thing they should have said would be "go to university for 3 yrs to do a computing degree, then spend 10 yrs or more in a software role gaining experience".
This ridiculous concept that I am seeing on here day in day out (and I have only been on here a week) that anyone can learn to develop is bonkers and insulting to those of us who have put half our lives into it.
And if it really was a money person that said this, it leads neatly into my other post about Entrepreneurs versus MoneyPeople. It was meant as a philosophical question because, again being quite new to this kind of forum, I am feeling that there is very little respect among the wider investment community for what technical entrepreneurs and developers do and bring to the table. Not from all individuals obviously. But as a whole something is very one-sided. Just a feeling. But something feels very wrong.
My boiler is broken so I might just do a quick course on Udemy...
as for what to do next Pennant. You are in the right place. start networking on here and find some of the [many] great tech people and get yourself co-foundered. Sell the dream to them and then live the dream ... together.
I spent a lot of time 'just building it' before validating the idea, and found out not everyone was as enthusiastic about my idea as I was. If you've gotten excellent feedback, then the question becomes, "how do I form a team to build my validated idea, and who pays for it". Assuming you're going to build it, you either need to decide to bootstrap it yourself with your own funds, or get an investor to pay for it.
There are a few types/stages of validation as well. Excellent feedback is great, but paying customers are even better. I think you'd want to build an MVP to go from excellent feedback to paying customers. Once you start asking people for money, either as paying customers or as investors, you find out what their true feelings are.
Someone might say "that's a great idea", then ask them to be one of your first customers to pay $10/month for your service, and see how/if their answer changes.
hmm. happy to discuss further, but I'm one of those people who learnt how to code. The order however was that I started learning and then started the startup.
One dilemma I have now is I learnt how to code in Objective C for iOS, but not web development. I could learnt how to code web too but I've already spent 2 years building and testing and failing and trying to iterate. I'd like to expand beyond iOS but I'm wary about outsourcing. So far my outsourcing experience hasn't been amazing and doing an MVP with it is quite expensive.
Another point: I've given up on MVPs. MVP's are great for simple ideas but my idea isn't simple nor easily understood. Ive had some feedback, not all great and very mixed and none are paying. However the testing and trying to validate from minimum sometimes backfires especially for ideas that are hard to describe. I more subscribe to Peter Thiel's approach that if the founder had a vision and undying goal to produce something, MVPs won't work since the customer would know what they want, and the founder wants to build the vision anyway regardless of feedback.
Im not necessarily saying this applies to you, but this has been my experience. If you know what you want and its very clear and simple and testable as an MVP and you can get to it in a month via outsourcing, then outsource. If validating requires a longer path because you aren't exactly sure if minimal is gonna hook users (which in my opinion is in more instances than some admit), then it would be costly and can be set back to get someone else to produce your product. Depends on whether you are confident to do it yourself of course
Thanks Steve, I fully sympathise with your sentiment. I also have a cooker but will never be a chef by any stretch of the imagination !! Finding a techie team mate is my preferred option but I have not been very successful mostly due to hiding down here in the depths of Devon
Those are very opposite approaches. In the first piece of advice, gathering the team is the key part you missed. Yes you can learn to code, and there are many programs out there, Udemy being one of them that is apparently pretty good, but do you want to?
If having a technical role in the company is something that you want and envision yourself doing, then by all means go for it.
But in my opinion the first piece of advice is better because if you want to have a different type of role in which you are more skilled in whether that be the launch strategy and business plan development, the financials, or the managing of employees, then go for that.
My belief is that you should focus on your strengths, and build your team with people that have experience and thrive in the roles that you do not.
Just as a resource, here's a great article that can help you think about the idea from all angles: http://www.socalcto.com/2011/08/32-questions-developers-may-have-forgot.html