What does a technical co-founder mean to you?

Domie Sharpin
25 replies
Hi everyone! πŸ‘‹ I'm currently researching the role technical co-founders play in new projects. Wondering what the role looks like from both perspectives. If you are a technical co-founder, what set of skills do you bring to the table like no one else? If you are a non technical co-founder, what skills do you expect from your technical cofounder? How did you decide to partner with them? Looking forward to reading your thoughts and opinions!! Thanks! 😊

Replies

Nidal
Think Aquaman, but computers instead of fish, and technology instead of ocean. Technoman :D
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Domie Sharpin
UX/UI Designer from Argentina
@nidal_ghonaim Haha πŸ˜‚
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Alina Liu
building something new!
@nidal_ghonaim πŸ˜‚ πŸͺ¦
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Shekhar Chandra
Software Engineer @ Accord
IMO, a technical co-founder should be a generalist who knows or could find out the feasibility of technical requirements early on. Someone who could build and manage a team to achieve product development tasks.
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Domie Sharpin
UX/UI Designer from Argentina
@shekhar_chandra Nice, totally agree Shekhar :)
Christina Schinner
for info
A technical co-founder is way more than a skilled programmer. They're someone who is deeply invested in the company and willing to muck through the startup trenches with you. They also own founder-level responsibility, such as building out the technical side of the business and setting the overall vision. mcdvoice
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Domie Sharpin
UX/UI Designer from Argentina
@christinaa Thanks Christina!!
Andrey
Founder at Trackabi.com
The primary goal and responsibility of a technical co-founder is to know and control what's happening in the code and the infrastructure of your project. This person shouldn't be the smartest person in the company but should be able to assess made decisions, check the code quality, understand the tech stack, approve tech people hires, etc. What's crucial, you really need a co-founder and not a remote guy managing a remote team of developers who work on your project. Keep in mind that if you're not a technical person, or you don't understand the tech stack used, you will not be able to check if what that tech lead says make any sense β€” his/her soft skills may appear to be much better than technical skills, and you can get into trouble spending more and more on something that will not work.  Some extra thoughts on this matter are here https://trackabi.com/blog/why-ev...
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Domie Sharpin
UX/UI Designer from Argentina
@andrey_mi Interesting Andrey, would you say all tech leads could be technical cofounder?
Andrey
Founder at Trackabi.com
@dominique_sharpin A good technical lead who has a bit of entrepreneur spirit could be. But you should offer to become a tech co-founder to someone you know well. A tech co-founder isn't somebody who just works for salary and may leave any moment.
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Alexey Shashkov
Inspired product maker
You know, that's a good question, Domie. I'm looking for a technical co-founder too in my project. 1. What skills do you expect from your technical cofounder? I expect from my tech co-founder that he can solve any kind of tech problem. And he never says: Β«That's impossible.Β» 2. How did you decide to partner with them? If he likes my vision and we enjoy each other, let’s go!
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Domie Sharpin
UX/UI Designer from Argentina
@shashcoffe I liked that approach Alexey. I believe that when starting a project you should partner with doers and problem solvers, iterating constantly to find the way around the many challenges you will face. Thanks for your answer, it was very helpful! :) I would love to ask you some additional questions about your tech cofounder search, would you be up for it?
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Andrey
Founder at Trackabi.com
@shashcoffe I think a tech co-founder should sometimes say "it's impossible", "it's stupid", "it makes no sense". A tech co-founder should not execute orders saying "yes, sir" :) He should stay 'sober' while non-technical dreamers may think about some unrealistic things. Certain features may be too hard to implement and bring almost no additional value, some things are not allowed like storing credit cards data in your database unless you're PSI compliant, etc.
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Alexey Shashkov
Inspired product maker
@dominique_sharpin Thanks for sticking by me, Domie. πŸ™ŒπŸ™‚
Alexey Shashkov
Inspired product maker
@andrey_mi Totally agreed, Andrey. Thx!
Vadim Kravcenko
Working on vibes.so
Being a technical co-founder can be summarized in a simple dialog: CEO: I have a vision - let's build this and this. CTO: OK, I'll make it happen. CEO: Great, I'll find a way to sell it.
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Deepak Yadav
Brand enthusiast and product designer
Assume you plan a road trip with your friends. Everything is well planned in advance and you got all budget on table and permissions that you need. How important would be that only friend in your circle who had car and will bring his/her car for the roadtrip? Bit important, Right? Hahaha You can still go without him but it still risk your whole trip and you have to find a work around. Maybe its gonna cost you a lot to rent (outsource) a car. ----- If you are building a product company backed by technology at its core. CTO and tech cofounder is very important to your startup for the entire venture. Benefits: Product will not be at risk of being non functional Product will always be progressive in growth Tech support will be top notch to build customer relationship Keep your running cost as low as possible Help you with funding ( Investors bet on promising people with low risk) Help you understand technological competative landscape of your product marketplace. By all means I am not saying only CTO or tech cofounders matter in building promising venture. I am just pointing out benefits of having one. ----- Now association option, 1. Vested equity (2-5 years) 2. Vested equity + product royalties (limit by time) 3. Only product royalties (limit by time) 4. Esop (Only if company has other promising technical human resources) These are my views on your discussion topic. I faced thise issues on my early startup back then, It took some professional advice and wrong decisions to figure out the right thing. Let me know if you want to know how to right equity and what should be the exact no. how to decide upon that.
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Domie Sharpin
UX/UI Designer from Argentina
@worklab Hi Deepak, thanks for taking the time to put together such a solid answer! I would love to chat about some of those challenges you faced in your early startup. Would you be willing to schedule a brief chat?
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Deepak Yadav
Brand enthusiast and product designer
@dominique_sharpin definitely in free time if it helps. Connect me on twitter.
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Eugene Hauptmann
Founder at REACTIVE LIONS INC.
Oh man, being a co-founder means that you're committed to wearing multiple hats. Technical and non-technical. Mind that technical means different things in the software vs hardware. I'd say DeepTech gives a whole new level of how "technical" can be defined. Lookup CSO for more ideas. So back to technical co-founder, usually it combines several roles in one person, until you raise funds to unbundle it in several hires: - CTO - VP of Engineering - VP of Product - Product design Depending on what kind of org you're building you'll have different people report back to each of those executives above. On the day one, as a technical co-founder, you wear hats of all those roles: - design the product - architect the product - build the product - build the team – build the infrastructure – build customer support To summarize, knowing how to code, doesn't make you a technical co-founder material, but it's a start. What makes you a technical co-founder is ability to comprehend what resources and skills you'll need to implement company's mission, and then executing it well. Funny fact: as you see more engineering get into the management roles, you see them code less and less. You can still be hands on here and there, but the value comes not from your ability to code, but rather organize team around the idea or product and then executing it. From the prospective of non-technical founder, I'd treat it as any other co-founder you need to onboard. What set of skills are complimentary to yours, and which of them as mission critical for your company. Here's the extended edition with a bonus.
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Domie Sharpin
UX/UI Designer from Argentina
@eugenehp Eugene! πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘ Thanks so much for this, it's been super helpful!
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David Rodgers
CEO at Robo-AI Corp
CTO is a must
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Domie Sharpin
UX/UI Designer from Argentina
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Donny Torphy
info
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Sofa Kraud
i mobile app developer
It’s important to understand that a tech co-founder is not just a regular employee with a technical background. Tech co-founder is a co-founder in the first place. These people fully dedicate themselves to the product and build it from scratch. They invest no less amount of time and effort into the project as you do. I found such an explanation at Cleveroad: https://www.cleveroad.com/blog/h... .