I get asked this from time to time and most of the time I try to discourage non-coders from starting a tech company. I find it totally okay if at least one of the founders have some coding background, but otherwise it will be like sprinting in the dark–run as fast as you can and just pray there is not a wall in front of you. Good luck 😉
I have found some articles over the years that articulate some of the reasons why this is tricky, but this one is my favorite. Here are some of its snippets:
“You need to learn to sing. Because if you don’t, you’re always going to be at the mercy of some a–hole singer.”
“I have this idea for a song. But I’m not musical, so I need to find someone who will write, perform, and record it for me.”
“I have this idea for an app or site. But I’m not technical, so I need to find someone who can make it for me.”
In case you are confused, he is substituting making music for making software. Why do we think we can outsource making software, would you try to do that with music? You need to be in control of you company and you can’t do that if you can’t go and fix it yourself when there is no one around. Read the whole article, it’s short.
David Bateman, founder of Property Solutions came to BYU last year and spoke at an entrepreneurial event. He told us a story about how his developer became unavailable and he had to go in and figure things out until he could get someone else to do it. What would he have done if he didn’t have that option? He went on to advocate founders learning to code, at least enough to be able to keep things going when in a pinch.
Can you start a tech company if you can’t code? Sure, you can even succeed. But take a quick look at the biggest software companies, how many of them were founded by someone who couldn’t code at all?