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Entering software as a non-technical founder


#1

Hi everyone!

I just wanted to make this quick introduction into the community. Kyle Brown from WPSaaS directed me here and it looks like a special place.

Do you guys have any steps or a process for getting an MVP up?

I’m at a point where I’m not sure what type of code to build a web application for. It’s going to be a rank tracker (not a Google one) with a few other features but that’s the most important part.

I don’t have any software development experience, but I fall under the marketer realm. My day job consists of running a few websites as the content manager and I’m around software ppl sometimes, but not often enough to know.

I’d also like to open up any discussion to give back on my end. I specialize in content marketing and SEO so happy to answer any questions surrounding that too! Thanks guys!


#2

This question is asked often and the realistic answer is:

1. You can hire someone (a contractor from upwork or a full time employee).

It requires money, being able to pick good people (in a world where most of them aren’t) and being able to manage other people so that they deliver.

2. You can learn to code.

It requires lots of time and effort and self-discipline, it’s unclear if everyone is capable of programming at a sufficient level. On the other hand, if 13 year old girl can do it, then maybe it’s not impossibly hard.

And to cover the ground, there are unrealistic expectations.

The most common idea non-technical people have is “I will find a developer that will work for free, and give him 10% of the business”.

The second most unrealistic idea is “I don’t have any money to hire developers. I’ll get investors to give me money and then hire developers”.

As far as first steps to MVP as non-programmer, the least you can do is to create wireframes for all of UI using e.g. Balsamiq.

It’ll help clarify your own thinking, it’ll make it easier to communicate your ideas to a developer or convince potential investors that you’ve thought things trough.


#3

Thank you for that answer.

I’m definitely not going to be learning to code, so I’ll be hiring a developer. Not looking for investors either as the software is somewhat small and spawned from the idea as an internal tool. But of course, with a commercial aspect to it as well.


#4

Hi, Kevin. There’s a ton to learn as a non-technical founder, but I’ve written a book (free to read on the web right now with other versions coming soon.) It’s not a short read, but it should provide you with a lot of context. While there are some technical bits, it’s intentionally written at a fairly high level so that everyone on a team can understand the bigger picture regardless of their expertise.

Starting & Sustaining

It won’t help much in the “where to start coding” department, but it can provide some context that might help once you start to dig in.


#5

Holy wow Garrett, that is incredible. I’ll be taking a look - thanks for this resource you’ve put together.


#6

Actually, I found a very useful tool just for the process of validating a MVP and I wrote it earlier this week here:

If you’re going to do a Lean Startup, validating your MVP idea is where you need to start.