3 Steps for Attracting a World-Class Tech Co-Founder

3 Steps for Attracting a World-Class Tech Co-Founder

Do you consider yourself to be more of a “marketing mind” than an engineer?

If so, what if I told you there was a very *specific* type of partner that can take your big disruptive ideas and turn them into game changing realities?

Exciting right?

Doubly so if you’re allergic to code.

Cue the technical co-founder.

And while not a day goes by where I don’t come across a young entrepreneur who’s desperate to bring one of these “golden geese” into the fold…

… it’s staggering how poorly these would-be founders go about recruiting one.

Some will hop onto Craigslist to try and land one on the cheap, while others will infiltrate the local college campus with small stacks and big promises hoping to lure a wide-eyed dorm dweller.

Sound familiar?

STOP.

The technical co-founder you bring on board is responsible for bringing your big dream into the world.

The implications are massive… and therefore the process deserves a bit more thought than most founders are willing to give.

Landing a world class tech co-founder can be the difference between a frustrating startup that fizzles out before getting off the ground…

… and a game changing company that rewards you and your team with massive outcomes.

Here are the 3 steps to make sure you attract only the best of the best to carry out your vision:

Not too many people realize this, but landing a top level tech co-founder is something that many investors look at when evaluating your company.

Why?

It gives them confidence that you absolutely cannot fail…

… for you’re armed with the internal capability to take customer feedback, growth strategies and new product ideas and spin them into winning iterations faster and more cost-effectively than competitors in a similar space.

But the key here is that your tech co-founder MUST be world class.

And in order to do that, there’s a very specific criteria on how to attract them the right way.

Watch it now, and then let me know in the comments what YOU would build if you had a world class tech founder eager to bring your dreams into reality.

To your big dreams…

… and the amazing, God-sent geeks who help you achieve them!

 

  • http://blog.perfectspace.com nateritter

    Hey Dan, here’s an interesting other side of the coin…. we technical entrepreneurs get pitched all the time. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how to evaluate ideas/people/startups/etc as a technical person also.

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Nate, great question.

      Give the “business” guy a list of things they need to prove.
      – Customer interest
      – Clickeable prototype
      – Recruit a design team
      – etc..

      As I mentioned on the YouTube comments … biz people need to show the tech founder they’re willing to do the work to get customers so they don’t end up buidling something no one uses.

      AND..

      It’s not, once it’s built I will….

      Make em’ get the deals done up front with fake screenshots, etc.

      That’s how you know they’re serious / capable / etc..

      DM

  • http://www.about.me./Mariah.Lichtenstern Mariah Lichtenstern

    My region has a lot of large tech and tech-enabled companies as well as colleges and universities. Meetups have been a rewarding way of meeting local technologists – both seasoned and emerging. So far, I’ve found it to be a wonderful support group and have enjoyed getting to know the community – particularly the recently formed “Women in Data Science” where we discuss topics like data visualization and machine learning. Men and children are welcome, and I hope to see this kind of inclusive environment drawing more women in tech out.

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Mariah,

      The fact that you’re getting out there and meeting people tells me your gonna build a great team.

      Tough to find world class talent sitting behind a desk.

      At the end of the day, it’s H2H (Human 2 Human) when building a company.

      Appreciate the comment.

      DM

      • http://www.about.me./Mariah.Lichtenstern Mariah Lichtenstern

        Thanks for the vote of confidence 😉

  • Peter Jones

    Awesome info as always! Probably good to remind founders to always include vesting schedules and consider the stage of the company when weighing co-founder possibilities.

  • Richard Cinta

    2 questions.

    1) What are the top 5 really killer questions to ask in interviewing potential tech founder candidates? I have gone to a couple of Developer meetup groups….but how can I tell the best of the bunch? Its all above my head.

    2) I was approached as an expert to join in an equity position. They are looking to pay my expenses and pay me later on with a 5% share. 50% is being shared with gurus to share their list of 10,000 to 100,000 ideal candidates. But this credible guy..is just in the beginning stages of building his team…that he wants me to be a part of… he hasnt really proved anything yet.. BUt I know, the person is a very credible…but it is a new business..and I see good potential…but I really dont see a huge benefit..as an equity holder. But I do see, that he can definitely be a Key person with lots of contacts, that I can grow my business with later on down the road. I am his outsource expert…he is looking to acquire as inhouse expert…of sorts. I was going to outsource it for a few months..to see what plus and minuses are..of providing my services to him and see if its worthwhile later. Any thoughts?

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Richard,

      Great questions…

      re: 1 – I’ll add that to the workbook for ITE launching soon, should’ve been there from the beginning. That being said, my approach is to use my advisors to help screen people for specific skills that I don’t understand (ex: finance, HR, etc)

      re: 2 – well I’m all about focus… if it’s not inline with your current business it’s a distraction. If you want to help him, then do so but with “no work products” attached (meaning you don’t have to “Do” anyting more than answer emails, talk on the phone a couple times a month.

      Hope that helps.

      DM

  • Dennis Meng

    Hey Dan, love this post. I’ve been on both sides of this situation (getting pitched to be a technical co-founder, and trying to find a technical co-founder). I think you hit the nail on its head.

    I think to re-state your point more broadly, the best way to find world class co-founders is to prove that you know how to get shit done. and i think this goes both ways. whatever it is: design, marketing, coding, fundraising, etc. just show that you’re the type of person that always gets results.

    thanks again for the post!

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Dennis, you nailed it.

      Prove to others you know how to get shit done and it’ll attract people with similar skills 🙂

      DM

  • Colin Kennedy

    Hey Dan, I couldn’t agree more in the value of a technical co-founder. My business partner and I tried numerous workarounds (a dev team with no true leader, trying to outsource a CTO with a partner firm, etc) and nothing changed our company trajectory more than finding a legit CTO/technical co-founder. I think it may have been the single best move we made in all of 2015.

    With that said, do you have any thoughts you can share to help non-technical founders distinguish between someone who is a “rock star developer” and someone who can legitimately serve as their CTO? One of my personal lessons learned is that being a great developer doesn’t necessarily equip them to be a CTO. Have you found this to be true as well?

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Colin,

      What I suggest is have an advisor who is a CTO/strong technically and use them to interview potential candidates to help you filter.

      DM

  • http://IRememba.com Gaurav Gulati

    Some good pointers, Dan. Being a non-technical Founder myself, I would like to add that it is also of huge importance to show your Tech team that you are 100% vested in the startup and not pursuing it as a hobby or an experiment. Show your research, talk to them, bounce ideas off of them and they’ll come to you. That’s how I ended up with my Tech Team (+ I’m bootstrapping IRememba.com and paying them for their effort + they have 5% Equity once we raise first round).

    We’ve gone from talking about things to pre launch site live to now working on MVP for private beta.It is really important that you communicate and everyone understand your vision.

    Good Post thought!

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      You nailed it… if you’re not 100% committed then the dev team will slack or bounce.

      Smart.

      DM

      • http://IRememba.com Gaurav Gulati

        Thanks for the vote of confidence, Dan. Cheers!

  • Jaap Nieuwland

    How does a technical person with a service they’ve built, ready for market with paying customers find a cofounder to handle growth?