There are two questions I am asked by new startup founders far more frequently than anything else. The first is ‘How can I raise funds to finance my product build?’ and the second, ‘Where can I find a CTO to help build my product?’
Everywhere you look, a startup (or, in many instances, a man with half-a-plan) is seeking a ‘Rockstar’ developer or ‘Ninja’ to help take their fledgling idea and make it happen. Of course, they can’t pay you in cash, but they will offer a generous equity deal and you’ll proudly wear the prestigious title of CTO.
I don’t hear many instances of people claiming that their idea has been stolen, but I do hear frequently from entrepreneurs-to-be who are fearful of talking about their idea through concern of it being stolen.
In the late 1500s The Bard was a huge fan of Non Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) and was always found with several on his personage eagerly awaiting a signature. Following a series of costly plot leaks after discussions with Henslowe, and healthy competition from Marlowe who was always keen to acquire new ideas from loose lips, Shakespeare made full use of English Common Law to protect his mental incarnations while vocally procuring interest.
The importance of having a Technology Strategy for your startup cannot be underestimated. To choose wrongly could prove to be an enormously costly mistake that only becomes apparent many months later. Before a line of code is written, having the right Technology Strategy in place will save you time and money.
A question any startup founder should ask themselves at the earliest opportunity is whether their idea is defensible. Put simply, this means how protected is your business (or proposed business) from competition?
A familiar problem that I frequently encounter when engaging with very early stage startups is the lack of a product, and a lack of a technical co-founder who can also build that product.
My experience working with young and first time startup founders is a frequent lack in understanding the differences between Directors and Shareholders.
If you’ve ever had a smart tech idea and the only thing holding you back was a failure to find someone who shared your vision and build the product, then you are not alone.
Who would have believed in 2002 when Reid Hoffman was mooting the idea of a professional social network – a kind of Facebook for suits – that it would prove to be an amazing success and grow to in excess of 400 million users?