"No chance," was my answer last Sunday morning in the Vondelpark. I didn't mean to be rude to my walking partner, but I often hear it: "All I need is a technical co-founder, and then we can start building." The sad fate of the idea person in the internet age is that you can discover problems, but you cannot build the solution on your own.
Tech startups are about intelligent people sitting in a room and building cool things. A tech startup without programmers is like a carpentry company without carpenters.
Are there exceptions? Yes, of course. Idea people with deep pockets can hire programmers. But I still see that fail. It turns out the pockets aren't that deep, or the excellent programmers don't want to work for you. I know quite a few people who have had a platform built but eventually run out of money, or even worse, in debt.
Therefore, my heartfelt advice to idea people that want to do a tech startup is to learn to program and, in the meantime, take on the concierge role. Fake the solution until you make it with paying customers. And I mean paying customers who become ambassadors. Meanwhile, the sooner you learn to program, the faster you can find techies who want to join you. I know someone who took that advice to heart in 2014. She stopped working on her brilliant startup idea. She is now one of the best programmers traveling the world as a digital nomad. This way, it can turn out for you; you have learned an admirable skill in the worst case.
Does this only apply to programming? No, of course not. There are tons of skills you can learn as an entrepreneur. Skills to help you move beyond the idea phase.
Our friends at Trends.vc produced this list. However, there are many sources out there. I'd love to know if this list inspired you to follow one of these courses. Let me know!
- Khan Academy • Free online classes for high-school students.
- Coursera • Courses, certificates, and degrees from universities and companies.
- Egghead • Tutorials for intermediate and advanced developers.
- Masterclass • Edutainment from influential instructors.
- Maven • Platform for cohort-based courses.
- Udemy • Marketplace for self-paced classes.
- Lynda • Self-paced courses on software development, design, photography, and more.
- General Assembly • Coding, data, and design training programs.
11 Interesting Courses for Entrepreneurs
- Produced Services OS • Learn to build a productized service.
- The No-Code Beginner's Course • Learn the fundamentals of no-code.
- Product Buffs • 5 weeks of hands-on product discovery coaching.
- Superpath • Courses and a community for content marketers.
- SQL for Humans • SQL lessons for developers.
- Notion Mastery • Use Notion in your life and business.
- OKO U • Training for “budtenders.”
- Find Your Niche • Find a creator-market fit.
- Consulting Club • Learn to build a lucrative consulting practice.
- Freedom Business • Learn to make a sellable business as a solopreneur.
- Podcast Like The Pros • Learn to produce high-quality podcasts.