Why not every startup needs a tech co-founder

How do you start a web business when you don’t know how to code?


Eventually you will need engineers, but you don’t need them at the start. In fact, I would argue there are things you MUST DO before you ask an engineer to join your startup. Engineers are either going to spend your startup’s limited financial resources or they are going to be an investor like you, sacrificing income for the opportunity. In the latter case, you need to show them proof that there is a business here.


This might be a simple validation of need from a small prototype customer base. Here’s what you can do in a single day for example.


Or you might go further and to create the illusion of a platform through mashing up existing tools. Here’s how you can do that with WordPress. I really trust this way of working because the customer gets to experience the core utility of the business and responds with action. Action is so much more powerful than opinion.


I gave a talk the WordPress customer validation project at Blue Chilli Jelly last week and noticed this tweet in the stream a little later.



This utterly misses the point.


I don’t want to build businesses that nobody wants. Customer development helps me to validate my assumptions. It is amazing what can be created if I ‘build on the shoulders of giants’ re-using existing software and doing a load of manual work myself behind the scenes. As long as the customer gets the value I am selling there is substantially more than vapour here. How they react is a conversation that suggests what to build and my startup gets to value quicker.


Phil Morle is the CEO of Pollenizer. He works with startups and corporates all over the world to bring Pollenizer’s startup science to their practice. He has co-founded a great many companies.

This post first appeared on the Pollenizer blog.


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