I have a bunch of ideas and before the fire department comes to doubt the potential fire from this statement I realize I have to narrow the bunch down to one and take it past an idea. Ideas aren't worth the paper they are written on without execution and most people have don't know jack shit what they are talking about anyways so why the hell am I any different.
I have have a Business background (although that doesn't really mean much either and may not be worth the paper it is written on either) and I aspire to own at least one successful online startup in my lifetime. One challenge is that I am not technical and I am now 32.
Should I consider learning code and if so where should I start? I find the choices mind boggling. Ruby seems to be good but then I want the full understanding at high level (backend, frontend, web design). Read 37 signals (you can check out what I read minus the shitty books I read like 4 hour work week on my blog). Just stopped Inc and Fast Company. Need more action, less reading.
I believe scarcity (lack of funds) is a great thing, bootstrap breeds creativity, however I am having trouble finding a good technical co-founder prospect. Elance, etc simply want to get paid (so much excessive crappy work on those sites) where I am seeking someone who will accept generous equity along with having fun while working hard and hopefully adding value to the world and their life. Fairsoftware.net looks interesting. I have been scoping out the local Toronto scene and most are working or don't have the character I am looking for. I want much more then a coding monkey as I would be practically living with this person. I see enough useless urban robots as it is (it's late... had to add some humor)
I believe and seen (Alexis of Reddit, etc) that one does not have to be technical to succeed in founding a great startup.
Advice, books, breaking down programming considerations or understanding from back/front/design, etc would be greatly appreciated. Ideally I am looking for someone who has the guts to risk and at minimum sweat in the time and code and help wear other hats. Can Sell. Check. Selling since I was 8. Speak. So I am told so check. Determined. Check. Someone to help get my vision in technoville. HELP. Thanks.
I might be the only one here that don't recommend hiring a coder through sites like elance.com or rentacoder. You can not really get a quality that you want and it's very hard to control someone that is working overseas. It's better to approach a geek (that you know very well) but not so good in business. But instead of looking like to use them for your own benefit, try to share the vision and and don't be afraid to tell what both of you can get out of this investments. Think about mutual benefits when sharing your vision.
I've also written a blog entry on why you should learn programming and learn django if you want to. I think django is a perfect fit for a startup and non-technical people like you.
As a programmer I'll say that I sometimes wonder whether I should learn design, marketing or sales. And the answer is no, I don't have the chops to become any of those, I'd be mediocre at best and I'd be holding back my ideas.
Learning to program can be related to learning to play an instrument, you can play a tune on a piano in a month of trying, but it takes several years to be good.
Citing Joel Spolsky:
For some reason most people seem to beYou might very well have a brain that can do doubly-indirected programming, but would you bet your startup on you becoming a proficient programmer?
born without the part of the brain
that understands pointers. This is an
aptitude thing, not a skill thing – it
requires a complex form of
doubly-indirected thinking that some
people just can't do.
Before you consider studying coding learn to do something every more valuable. Learn t create wire frames of your proposed site. From there you can learn to create interactive wire frames with software that is far easier to learn than the hard core stuff. Start at the lowest level of abstraction and learn where your level of comfort and natural ability is.
Judging by the way you format your text, you need to sort out some other things before considering becoming a programmer. Becoming a decent one will take months, and you're better off just doing what you're best at right now.
I might for example be interested in helping you put out your dream, but I'm not from Canada, so how do you think this looks for me, when you expect me to work for free, for the promise of some equity?
Unless you can find someone locally and go set up all the legal stuff, it will be hard to find someone that is interested to work with no compensation, since your project might take months to be finished, and people need to eat ;).
Learning to write code for release takes a long time, regardless of the language or framework, so your best bet is to develop a network that includes developers, so you can be the idea person, and the visionary, and they can help implement your idea.
That being said, it helps to know how to flesh out your idea so that it is easier to explain, so you may want to look at my answer to this question, as it relates to your question also.
You don't need to be a programmer to get a program - there are many other options.
If writing code is something you want to do, then go ahead and learn how to do it, regardless of wanting to own a web business.
You need to figure out exactly what you want, down to the page an button. Once you know that, place a bid on rentacoder.com
If you have technical friends, ask them to help you with the initial design, as it is important to get it right.
You can also choose to have the code written in-house, which would require you to hire a programmer or have one as a co-founder.
Learning how to write code is only one option, outsourcing, hiring or finding a co-founder are some of the others
I don't think learning to write code is going to help you at this point.
You have a business problem, solve it like you're a business person. You need to start networking with developers. Go out and meet some. Share your ideas openly (in person) and see if anyone bites. Your humility is your biggest advantage; developers hate nothing more than smartass business types with zero respect for technical skills.
I believe scarcity (lack of funds) isBe careful there. I think I know what you meant, but most businesses fail do to lack of capital, not too much. Sure, too much funding made for some spectacular failures (webvan.com, pets.com, etc...) but those were just big in scale, not in numbers.
a great thing, bootstrap breeds
Getting creative with Ramen noodles isn't the type of creativity you want deal with. It's better to have your finances in order to properly sustain yourself and your business for the first year because you won't be profitable.
If you are good at selling and talking, you should not waste any time learning programming. Keep looking for a solid technical co-founder. There are so many people who can program, but can't sell.
Do not go to eLance or similar outsourcing sites. You'll get their help to design a cool logo for your site, but not your core offering.
I partially agree with blekkzor...
Programmers need a highly developed logical way of thinking - seeing the big picture, then analysing things to the small details. Software Engineers treat programming as a mixture of Engineering, Science and Art.
Programmers also need to be very organized - every space character out of place and lack of spacing between paragraphs makes text annoying to read, but code really hard to read.
Choosing a programming language to learn is mostly irrelevant - the concept of how to write programs is mostly the same and either you can grasp it or you can't. Even if you can grasp it, it takes years of learning, mainly by experience to get to just a good level.
Programming is a matter of passion, if you have it you must learn more and more, if you don't, then you are wasting your time. (A bad programmer does more damage to the programs he/she is developing then good.)
Instead of learning to program, learn to communicate with programmers - learn to convey what you want.
E.g. I want a program that does A, the program is to be used by B, B should tell the program C, then the program should calculate D and tell E about it.
Try and make a PowerPoint presentation that conveys what it looks like and what it does.