I have an idea for a website/online business that I would like to create. None of the technology is groundbreaking by any stretch of the imagination, I have seen it done a million times. With a custom content management system and a few other tools, will I be able to adequately manage a business like this, without a tech founder in the inner circle? If I just have a good, small design/development team will I be okay?
No you don't need to technical person to start an online business. But its helpful and important you have some technical person on your side to back you up. It is however important you speak to technical people and develop at least some basic technical knowledge, so you know how technical side of your business works.
There are cases some of them I know where people starting online businesses are not from the technical side and contract the technical side to an external sources or take on a technical person as a minority or equal shareholder in their business.
If you have a new idea that you think will work go for it. I would also make sure you have NDA's signed before disclosing any details about your idea to the technical person as it might happen he would just take your idea and walk away to work on his own.
I think you would need a tech founder if you are starting a tech business. It is very hard to manage others in a field that you don't understand.
I think your options are to get a tech founder, or become one. You are not born tech or not, if you don't want another founder, start learning.
Clay Shirky has a saying that Internet technologies don't become socially interesting until they become technologically boring. Using a CMS to create an online business is technologically boring now.
And so I don't think you need a tech founder. You should definitely have access to tech resources and possibly someone on your board of advisors, however. You just need someone you can trust to make sure that you're not being steered in the wrong direction.
Every business needs a whole collection of disciplines and talent in order to succeed; technical, marketing, sales, management, etc... Does that mean you need a founder in each of those disciplines? Of course not. I think technology is vastly overrated by startups. The focus needs to be on marketing and execution.