It’s coding. New Literacy – For years, people have called programming the X-factor that guarantees future success.
It’s no wonder there’s a widespread perception in the startup world that anyone who doesn’t know how to code should never try to create anything. After all, Silicon Valley, historically the Hollywood of software engineering, has built its reputation as the birthplace of technology companies that have changed the world.
The truth is that great talent is everywhere, and technical talent is not the only thing that matters. Silicon Valley is by no means the only booming tech hub in the world – in 2013, only 37 cities were home to unicorns. In the year By 2021, there were unicorns in 170 amazing cities.
No matter where you are, a founder doesn’t need to have a technical background to build a great company. We work with many technical and non-technical people, and encourage founders with non-technical backgrounds to enter entrepreneurship.
Why do we feel so strongly about this?
The proof is in the data. In his book “Super Founders,” venture capitalist Ali Tamaseb collected 30,000 data points and found that unicorn founding CEOs were split down the middle: Half came from business backgrounds. Half had a technical background.
And, there have been many non-technical founders who have built huge tech companies, like Melanie Perkins of Canva, Brian Chesky of Airbnb, Whitney Wolfe Herd of Bumble, and Evan Sharp of Pinterest.
Coding is “A” new literacy, not “THE” new literacy, and is only one of many ways to achieve good results.
If we find an applicant who doesn’t have a technical background but brings drive, grit and some specialized knowledge, we almost always want to partner with them, connect them to our ecosystem and jumpstart their entrepreneurial journey.
While this sounds encouraging, it doesn’t change the fact that every company should go to market with an MVP. How do you build without coding skills?
You should always try to have at least one technical founder on your team. It makes for fast build and iteration, easy turnaround, consistency throughout the product’s lifetime and fewer headaches or inconsistencies down the line.
While we don’t recommend sole-founding a company, if you don’t have a technical founder or freelancer to build your MVP, here are four principles to help you get there.
Principle 1: It’s okay to be non-technical. It is not a non-product
People often confuse technical knowledge with product knowledge, but they are not the same. Each requires different educational backgrounds, team structures, areas of focus within the organization, and types of questions to be asked.
Product knowledge is the ability to describe what your object does at a very basic level. Even if you have no clue how the technology actually works, you should explain clearly and concisely what the function is. On the other hand, technical knowledge is about building the thing itself.