How to find the right engineer / technology talent?


The question is simply "What approach should I take to find the right technology partner?"

Some background for context: I am currently employed full time in my industry and have been for over a decade. I have a compelling business idea which requires advanced skills for database and web application programming. Although I have some basic background in understanding modern web technologies, I clearly need a strong engineer / CTO / programmer partner to work with (or for) me on this project.

Once this startup is launched, I plan on departing from my full time job and spending my time on this new company.

What strategy or approach should I use in sourcing the right partner? Are there organizations or communities where I could find strong technology talent on the flip-side of my scenario?

Software Strategy Partner

asked Oct 11 '09 at 11:52
21 points
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  • One strategy that I have considered is to use venture capital firms to find the right talent. However, I would prefer not to take any external funding at this point. Would the VC route be something that could work? – User431 14 years ago

4 Answers


There are really three ways

  • Hire somebody but that requires money which is out of the question at your stage
  • Advertise for somebody to partner but how do you know the person has the skills and dedication and is willing to invest his time for a potential payout?
  • Involve people you know from work, networking etc, get them excited about the idea and ask if they are interested in working on it. My preference is to involve people you know or have worked with. The advantage of co-workers is that you know there ability, attitude, work ethics etc.
  • answered Oct 11 '09 at 12:40
    John Soer
    596 points
    • I am willing to hire someone with compensation in the form of equity. I have the seed capital myself and would prefer not taking external funding at this point. My business is in the field of institutional finance, and most of my contacts are business contacts who I will tap for customers, referrals, potential partners or employees. However they are generally not web developers. I have done extensive recruiting in the corporate world, but I am still not sure where to source this type of technology talent to hire. – User431 14 years ago
    • This is a common issue. Developers know other developers, business people know other business people it seems that these two groups are not very well connected. The challenge I face is finding business people the challenge you face is finding developers. At the surface this problem seems trivial since we were able to hook up. – John Soer 14 years ago
    • However there are a lot of trust issues e.g. (1) How do I know your business idea has merit. (2) How do you know that I have talent (3) My experience is all medical yours is all financial (3) Working for equity is fine however it means that the person needs to either have money saved to pay the bill or have a job to pay the bills – which greatly reduces the number of available candidates. This is a very interesting dialogue I don’t engage business people often enough please keep the dialogue going – John Soer 14 years ago


    You'll probably want to tap your network first, before partnering with a complete stranger. It tends to work out better.

    Otherwise invest some time and get to know the local startup and tech scene.

    Somebody asked a similar question a couple of days ago and it has a bunch of thoughtful answers.

    answered Oct 11 '09 at 12:34
    Slav Ivanov
    1,146 points
    • Thanks for pointing out the other question thread. – User431 14 years ago


    You sound like my opposite. I am a developer bootstrapping a startup and building the platform myself, but don't have a co-founder to help form relationships with first customers. Since I would never work for another startup for free or for equity (because I have enough failed startups to know this is too risky for my particular personality and balance sheet). My solution has been, honestly, to learn the business area myself, to force myself to connect with potential customers and partners, attend professional development events, and practice my pitch.

    It could be that I'm at an advantage somehow because I can do the kind of work that makes the site happen despite customers, but it's probably that our roles are equally needed in a new venture.

    One of the users on this site, Alain Reynaud ( ) is the founder of, you should check that out. I haven't used it personally but it sounds like a match for what you're looking for.

    answered Oct 18 '09 at 04:41
    Daniel Crenna
    236 points
    • is a very interesting site and something that may be helpful in my search. Thank you for pointing it out. – User431 14 years ago


    Try and find an engineer with experience in similar industries as the one you are targeting with experience in a variety of technologies (a jack of all trades) and convince him that your idea is worth investing time and effort in.

    A good site to start networking with people from other backgrounds is LinkedIn.

    answered Oct 29 '09 at 08:16
    131 points

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