To investors, 'technical' means programmer

By , ITworld |  Software, programming, startups

flickr/dierken

When meeting with venture capital groups, they will ask you if you're "technical." They really mean, "can you write the code yourself?"

Startups in a software world need coders, and the money guys know that. But they don't ask, many times, if the one giving the pitch can do the programming, they ask if they're technical. While technical means many things, programmer included, they really are trying to find out if you can create the product, or if you need to hire programmers first. Jason Freedman of 42Floors, talking about non-technical founders: "you can't build stuff."

More bluntly, Business Insider says, "Non-Technical Founders Will Always Make Subpar Products That Fail Slowly." Founders who can't code have to relay their vision of a product to others to write the code, and something always gets lost. Worse, hot coders get hot salaries, and startups tend to be shoestring affairs. And if you're really motivated, you can learn to code and create your product yourself. Not easy, but doable, and that may help your startup get funded.

Coders rule

I don't even listen to a non-coders pitch these days as they can't do any of the real work.
Brant on 42floors.com

Coding is a hard requirement when you want to make software, and if you don't have it, or understand it, then all the other stuff is kind of pointless.
zedshaw on news.ycombinator.com

You forgot to mention the frat boys, wall streeters, rich kids as well who want to be geeks,nerds and own a start up because its the new trendy thing to do.
saeedjabbar on 42floors.com

Not so fast

Steve Jobs disagrees.
Jay Yarow on businessinsider.com

I always find the plethora of hate for MBA's to be amusing. A team is just that a team, it needs to be highly functional and complimentary.
James on 42floors.com

The "checkbook" is the most important thing. So, yeah, having money or more importantly being able to access or raise money, is more important than almost anything.
tatsuke95 on news.ycombinator.com

Startup advice

you need a technical co-founder, who owns a big chunk of your company, if code is crucial to your start up.
dlmcdonough on businessinsider.com

As a non-technical co-founder myself, I've spent the last year out working everyone on my team just to feel to MYSELF that I deserve to be part of the team and keep everyone's respect. And that's how it should be.
Tommy on 42floors.com

Technical = Coder goes hand in hand with the narrow definition of 'startup' that's commonly used here.
reneherse on news.ycombinator.com

It makes me wonder whether Peter Thiel is right when he says that the Valley should think more about flying cars and not about 140 characters.
skrebbel on news.ycombinator.com

If venture capitalists and investors are so smart, why can't they just ask point-blank: "are you a programmer?"

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