WARNING: I’m a sleazy, immoral, dishonest “business guy”.

My world centers around marketing copy, focus groups, cash flow etc etc. Basically everything thats not necessary in building a startup (in the web app sense). You know, that thing that requires coding and design. Obviously business types have a place in startups when a product exists, but what about during those slightly earlier stages? (Spencer Fry, a well known non-techie in tech, wrote the definitive guide on what to do as a non-programmer in a startup with a product…btw).
If you spend any amount of time around tech startups, you’ve probably came across hoards of “biz dev” guys looking for a technical co-founder (HINT: a lot of them are just looking for some monkey programmer to shove in a closet). Some of us have some base knowledge of coding. For others, java is a funny name for coffee, pythons are scary as shit, and lisp isn’t necessarily something to brag about.
Regardless, we simply don’t program. So how can a non-techie start a startup?

In the words of Jay-Z, “it ain’t where you been, but where you’re bout to go (on top of the world)”. A startup hustle isn’t just about world domination though. Unlike in a typical 9-5, work at startups often don’t have any kind of direction. It hasn’t been done 1000x before by another employee, and there certainly isn’t a manual. Guess what though? You have to JFDI and GTD.
If you can’t commit code, you damn well better be able to hustle. So your idea is going to revolutionize an industry, eh? And you’re…searching for someone else to build it for you (spending countless hours while you’re at it)? You’re not a hustler.
Don’t get me wrong, finding a good co-founder is astronomically important and there’s plenty of people smarter than I who will tell you that. But what pains me is the “if only I had a finished product, I’d be rich” mentality many business folk possess. Damn you semicolons of death standing between me and my millions!

Yea, I’ve actually thought that at one point in time.


It’s idiotic.


Do you know what’s not idiotic? Actually doing something productive. I’m not talking about the standard feasibility analysis stuff (market research, crunching numbers, talking to potential customers). Thats important and all, however, how about…





Building something. For real.


Wait, didn’t I just make a ridiculously sweeping statement that biz dev specialists don’t program? Yes. But if you got the hustle, you’ll make it happen anyways. Real code may look like goobledygook, but theres hope for you yet. It has gotten way too easy to ship something for you to be doing nothing.


My personal weapon of choice: Drupal, a very powerful CMS that can do everything and more. So you want to create a new marketplace for buyers and sellers? Theres a module for that. How about integrating Facebook’s OpenGraph API? Theres a module for that too. The point is, one can create a web service that actually does something without writing a single line of code. It certainly isn’t the easiest thing to do, but at least you can create your minimum viable product (however ugly it may be).


You’re not a pitiful, helpless, business douche. You’re a hustler.


UP NEXT – Life after the streets (Or, I have a product and I’m still not rich)