I have a business idea, and I am looking for technical co-founder.
You probably have a great business idea and can’t stop thinking about it day and night. You thought that your idea will be the next Facebook or Google, if only you know how to code. You have heard that you need to look for a programmer or software developer as your technical co-founder. (Or you had probably been looking.)
You are not sure where to start, or if you had met some, you are not sure if they are the right for you, or are there other options out there?
How to find technical co-founder to build your idea?
It is obvious that your technical co-founder should have solid technical background with product development experience. Apart from that, they should also possess strong business sense with the ability to provide you business and customer insights through their knowledge of working in the market with other entrepreneurs. Here are a few key criteria that you can go through while evaluating suitable candidates as your technical co-founder:
They should be interested in your business, and not just the technical challenges. This is important if you need someone to build a great product. Their interests in the business will motivate them to contribute good suggestions and improvements, and not just build as per your specification.
They should have design expertise, aside from their technical expertise. A great product is not just about the efficient code behind it, but how it interacts with your customers to help them accomplish what they want to do. Good design skills are not so much about the ability to come out with a pretty user interface, but to design a process that solves your customers’ problems in a simple and intuitive in a way.
They should have good communication skills. While you might think it is ok for your tech co-founder to be a quiet person, after all, you will be the one that talks to customers and investors most of the time. In reality, it is important for them to be able to communicate the company’s technology strategy and strength to investors, management, staff, partners, customers, and stakeholders. Though they will be initially working on the backend work most of the time, you want them to be your lead developer or project manager as your company grows.
Where can I find them?
So where you can find these type of people? Here are some suggestions:
- Tech events. There are a lot of events in Malaysia and around this region where a lot of techies attend. Some of them are WebCampKL, StartupWeekend, Technopreneur Open Day, etc. If you are looking for a technical co-founder as well as other professionals (marketers, designers, investors, advisors, etc.) who often work with startups, you should attend or pitch your idea to StartupPartners as well.
- Universities. Reach out to Computer Science professors in the universities to see if they can recommend talented students to you or promote your project to them. You can also try to get introduced to the leader of student clubs. Try to build relationships with them through volunteer speaking and hang out with them and get to know them better. They are usually very happy when they see someone from the industry
- Software outsourcing companies. These are the companies that focus solely on providing software development services. Due to their business focus, their team is usually comprised of developers and programmers of all ranges of skills and experience. Although it may sound attractive, this is also the most expensive option. Successful outsourcing also requires you to hire a technical manager to supervise your outsourced team so that your money spent will not go down the drain
- Online job board and outsourcing sites. Although it takes time, there is nothing stops you from posting an advertisement on local jobs board like Jobstreet, Monster, YourPartime, though the candidates that you get might not necessarily use to work for a startup company. Aside from that, there are outsourcing sites like Elance and oDesk, where freelance programmers hang around to look for projects.
How do I work with them?
The 2 common ways of working with developers or programmers are you either pay them a fixed price based on the specification or get them to commit certain time in a week on your project and pay them either weekly or monthly. (Just like paying them a fixed salary.)
The advantages of a fixed price based on the specification are you get a clearer picture of how much it’s going to cost and what you are going to get. Some people even use this approach to hire the cheapest developers. The downside of this approach is you will need to put a lot of time and effort to understand, decide, and document what you want up front. Although you the developers that you will be hiring can be cheap, they will just do what you ask. They will rarely get creative and offer you ideas on improving your product. Literally, you will get what you give.
Paying them on fixed hours and fixed pay will give you more flexibility in managing your product development. As you get more experience in startup, you will notice that your idea changes rapidly. As you talk to others, you will notice there are certain things that you overlooked, and there are things that are not as important as you thought. For that, you will need a flexible plan and specification that can be adjusted as you learn more about your market needs. To manage cost so that you don’t go over budget, you will probably need to have regular meeting with your developers to review what they have done, update them on the new opportunities that you discovered, and what is the next step. This process is also known as agile and iterative development that many startups practice.
What are other available options?
If you already have a complete spec and design for your product, and you are confident that this is what your customers want, then you can just look for developers using the tips shared above. But if you are interested in exploring potential improvements for your idea, or other cost and time saving shortcuts to build it, or other strategies that can minimize your risk in building something nobody wants, then our CTO can probably help you.
How our CTO help you to build both your idea and business?
“Our CTO are not coders for hire. (Well, not just that to be exact.) If you just need someone to do what you tell them to do, you are probably better off to save your money and hire a developer, or outsource to a software development company.”
Most of our CTO possess strong background and experience in product strategy, UX design, MVP planning, team building, project management, investor relations, etc. Our aim is not just helping you build your idea, but to minimize your risk while turning your idea into a product that the market wants. The followings outline how we will work with you:
Get market feedback faster via minimum-viable-product
A minimum viable product (MVP) is a development technique where a new product is developed with just enough features to validate the product hypothesis, together with measurable feedback loop to guide future development.
A good MVP allows you to test and get feedback on the core product hypothesis with the least time and effort. Our CTO will come out with a variety of MVPs based on your idea and business model including their feedback measurement system.
Once the MVP is launched, we will interpret the results for you so that we get a better understanding on what customers think about your product, and discuss on how we should improve or change our business model in light of the feedback, and then plan for our next MVP to build.
Give you more design options to choose what is the best
Good design is much deeper than just “making a site pretty”.
Most people can choose a color for a button, but where that button should be placed so that people will click on it is a product design question that our CTO can help you.
A site with poor design will cause your user to give up, even when technically, everything is functioning normally. This cannot be solved merely by the technical expertise of developers. It requires multi-disciplinary expertise with a deep understanding of user behavior and testing practices.
You can leverage the expertise of our CTO in this area, where they will come out with prototypes with 2 or 3 design options in the first few weeks. Rather than asking you to imagine the design out of nothing, you can then play with the prototypes as though as you are testing the final product, and choose what you feel the best.
Achieve the lowest development cost through technology shortcuts
Once the design is finalized, our CTO will share with you at least 2 development approaches: (1) Ideal approach, and (2) Low-cost approach.
(1) Ideal approach is the optimal way of building your product that will cover almost all of your requirements.
(2) A low-cost approach is a cheaper and faster alternative that is achieved by combining cloud solutions, technology frameworks, and scripts that are already in the marketplace. (Using APIs or other non-obvious ways.)
Though the low-cost approach sometimes might not fulfill 100% of your requirements, through careful prioritization, your end product will still retain its practical value, but with greater time and cost saving without reinventing the wheel. (Hence, maximizing your financial runway to success.) We will leave the choice to you.
What can CTO bring to your startup?
You have an idea and already know what you want to build. If you think it is challenging to know what technologies to use in order to balance your short-term and long-term goals as well as other time and financial constraints that you may have, this is where our CTO can support you like your technical co-founder. To be more specific, getting our CTO onboard will benefit your startup in the following ways:
Most developers will usually default to building everything from scratch, using the technologies they know, and give you the cost based on the required time and effort. With a CTO, you get more options to decide what exactly you need to build, how do you phase development to balance cost, features, and risk, etc.
While your CTO cannot guarantee that your business will be 100% successful. But with clever product planning using various techniques mentioned earlier, you maximize your chances to tweak and improve your business model on a limited budget constraint.
After your CTO built and launched a few MVPs, you will validate all your assumptions about your idea, together with the data that supports your plan. Compare with a business plan (or verbal plan), this will make a more convincing pitch to attract investors and other talents to join your startup.
As you now have a CTO who can read and evaluate code of other developers, you will have more choices when it comes to hiring the right technical talent. Your CTO will guide you through the hiring process by interpreting their resume for you that are often filled with technical jargons.
If you need really someone to get through these technical challenges of your startup, please get in touch with our CTO and let us know your startup (or your new product idea) in brief. We will share with you how we can work together to build your idea and business.