I was talking with a napkin stage (idea only) entrepreneur recently about his business and we got to the product portion of the conversation. He said he didn’t have a technical person on his two-person team but that they have talked to some programmers that will build the web app application. Immediately, a red flag came up in my mind. It is imperative to have a technical co-founder on the team. Why? Let’s dig into it.
Here are several benefits of having a technical co-founder:
- Ability to iterate faster on the product
- The technical person can communicate directly with the potential customers or users (the company closest to the customer wins)
- Alignment of incentives and long term interests to build a successful business
Here are several negatives of not have a technical co-founder:
- Shows that the entrepreneur hasn’t been able to sell the vision to a technical person to get on board and be a technical co-founder
- Makes the project timeline and deliverables more suspect as getting a consultant’s help just isn’t the same
- Results in more narrow-minded thinking of the technical possibilities due to not having someone on the founding team 24/7 to obsess over the future
I recommend all teams have a technical co-founder. For Shotput Ventures, it is a requirement.