As part of our own startup creation process, we naturally tend to look for articles, books or events related to startup creation, and to discuss with people that are or were in the same situation. Sometimes, some nuggets of knowledge or insight emerge from those exchanges, one of them I wanted to share today.
The more we work on our own project, the more it becomes clear that creating a startup have everything to do with creating a company, and (almost) nothing to do about IT. Meaning, our main concerns for now (and probably for a while) revolve among money flows, customer development, marketing, networking, user traction or other things like that. Almost none revolves among technical choices, specific languages, architecture or patterns. I'm not saying those could not became important at one point, but they are not really bothering us now for two main reasons.
First, it is too early. Having technical problems means that you've of a good idea of the product you are building. Having a good idea of your product means that you have a well defined problem, that you've validated that it exists (for someone else than you), that a market is present for your offering (meaning not only that you can solve a pain, but also that people are willing to pay for it - which is another matter entirely, especially in software), and that you have some first contacts with possible customers.
Well, we're not there yet. If you are not there either and are already building something, I suggest you to put your software aside for a time, and that you starting working on those points. You'll have plenty of time to build it after, or at least you have more important things to do before.
Second, well, we are technical. Both of us. Which means that the technical challenges are the one that we fear the less. The only interesting "technical" question at this stage is the one of feasibility, and we have the required background to answer it without much work (actually, without work at all).
Now, an interesting point that might surprise you (it did surprise me). We're hanging with many startups would-be-founders, notably in the Founder Institute, but in some other forums also, and most of them are not technical people. Actually, in our (shrinking) Founder Institute group, on eleven founders, only two are technical: us. The others are domain experts in different fields, a various and very competent group of people with a lot of expertise, but not especially in technical matters.
This means two good news. The first is that, if you've an idea, do not let your lack of technical knowledge stops you. It may not be the most important thing to succeed (I'm pretty sure it is not - at this time, I would kill for sales experience, which I completely lack).
The second one is : if you are a technical guy (or gal), that the startup world intrigue you, or that you just would like something that change from your day job, but that you lack ideas or a clear vision of what to do - you are the lucky few: almost all non-technical founders are looking everywhere for technical co-founders. Heck, some guy even make slides to explain to them how desperate it was.
So go to some founder events (if you are in Brussels as we are, go to the Betagroup). Sign into founder events, take a look at the Founder Institute, pay a visit to coworking space (such as BetaCowork), go take a beer at OpenCoffee, and have a chat with the people there. Two-third of the room will probably be looking for a guy just like you.