Am I a business or technical co-founder?

May 22, 2012

There seems to be a lot of hub-bub lately about “business” co-founders and “technical” co-founders and it made me wonder which one I am.  Am I considered technical? What makes someone more “business” than the other? For that matter, what makes someone “technical”? Is there a minimum coding ability required or does anybody who has used excel macros count? Where do we draw the line? 

On one hand, I write a lot of code; so I must be technical. I’ve had my hand in every level of our product, from setting up the production server to slicing and designing in Photoshop. I spend most of my day in the terminal or an IDE. I dream in code. 

On the other hand, I do a lot of networking, sales calls and planning the vision; so I must be business. Anytime I’m not writing code I’m answering emails or writing invoices. I might even be at the white board reevaluating our message - or drafting some hair-brained way to gain some interest in what we’re doing.

I can’t possibly be both right?

There seems to be an unspoken.. disdain.. for business people. As if they have more to prove than the so called “technical” co-founders. I can understand the sentiment; it only takes 1 or 2 “business” people explaining “their idea” that you should “just make” before you resent them. My issue with this, however, is that it almost makes being the “business” guy seem inferior. Are those tasks less important? I think not.

For an early stage startup like ours, we have to be “busnical” co-founders. That is, Khaliq can’t just code and I can’t just schmooze (or vice versa). We both move pretty fluidly between roles and fill in where the other has trouble or is stuck. That isn’t to say we don’t lead each other where we excel, but for the most part we consider each other equals on both fronts. We do whatever we have to do to make it happen.

That’s why I don’t understand why everyone is “looking for a technical co-founder” as if that’s all they need. If you can’t code, learn how to. If you aren’t a good networker, learn to be one. If you can’t balance a budget or understand some marketing techniques - learn.

I’m not saying become an expert in everything, but as a co-founder you need to be at least proficient in them all and damn good in one. With that in mind we shouldn’t be finding “technical” or “business” co-founders, we should be looking for “busnical” ones.

Which is why I’m honored to have Khaliq on my team, because he’s probably the best “busnical” co-founder you could hope for.


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