Why You Don’t Have to Be Technical to Start a Tech Startup

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Breaking news: You don’t have to be a tech guru to launch your tech startup. Garner support, do your homework and learn along the way.

By Dorian Ferlauto (Founder & CEO, BriteHub)

Imagine the typical Silicon Valley technology company founder: Computer Science degree, the ability to code for 36 hours straight, a disruptive vision that will not only attract more users than Facebook, but will also single-handedly save the world.

Now imagine a person whose highest degree in computer science was earned by downloading music and persistent emailing. A person who started a technical company with no technical experience.

Meet the Non-Technical Founder

Becoming a non-technical founder is not an easy task. It requires all of the blood, sweat and tears that most businesses require to get off the ground. Then you have to learn a completely new language as well.

Non-technical founders must develop an entire skill set while also developing their business. They must learn when they need to bring on the technical help, how to speak the foreign language of “engineering” and how to overall manage the software development process.

One solution might be to find a technical co-founder.

Find a Technical Co-founder

This may be easier said than done. Not everyone can leave their job and pluck leaders from the surrounding unhappy talent pool of high-paid technology magicians.

If you want to start a company but don’t have the luxury of being tapped into a technical community, my advice is to network and build relationships. You want to find a technical co-founder who shares the same vision, understands your business model and can help you guide the technical aspects of the business.

Work hard to find the right fit. Do not hire a job shop, an independent contractor or rush into any partnership because of time constraints. Have patience, keep moving forward, connecting the dots, and meeting new people. This investment of time and energy will pay dividends into the future.

Do You Speak Engineering?

When learning about the development of a technology company, there is more that has to be understood than just the basic ins and outs of website development. Sure, the typical discussions of programming language, development timelines and the difference between front-end and back-end coding are essential – but just as important as that is the understanding that you are beginning to speak a new language.

When learning how to “speak engineering,” you must show respect to the hard work and dedication of the individuals that have spent their own time becoming masters of their trade. Good communication is built on trust and effort. The hard work you invested in finding the right partner will continue to pay off as you learn to speak engineering and build a strong company foundation.

SCRUM The Floors With It

Learn SCRUM – not the rugby term, but rather the process description of agile software development. It’s the vital hammer inside of your toolbox. You will define this term while you are learning to speak engineering.

You are not the first non-technical founder out there, so take advantage of the rich resources that have been published, blogged or Instagrammed, and become educated on the process of managing product development. SCRUM is the ability to stay lean, to stay agile and to allow your technology product to flow with every iteration that is brought to the table.

Day-To-Day Utopia

Investing your personal time to carry out research into, and learning about, the technical world that exists outside of your comfort zone will pay off. Once you have found the right partners and built the right startup team, your day-to-day business will feel like a utopian society as all of the pieces operate in a streamlined cohesion.

Needless to say, your business will always meet with new adversities. Your team will always struggle on a new feature development or meeting a hard deadline. But your dedication to learn about something that is foreign to you -- and the never-ending need to focus on teamwork and communication -- will keep your technical business moving forward.

No matter if you are the typical Silicon Valley tech founder or someone with a business solution that is learning how to take ideas and shape them into realities, you have a future in this ever-evolving world of technology. Especially if you have don’t have any experience.

Did you start your business as a non-technical founder?


About the guest blogger: With over 10 years of experience in product design and working with manufacturers, Dorian Ferlauto launched BriteHub in 2013 with the mission to create a centralized marketplace to initiate, educate and guide the relationships between manufacturers and the people that need their services. In 2014, Dorian was recognized by Newsweek as one of 13 "Disruptive Women" paving the way for the future of the industry in which they work.