How do I find good tech partners for my online project?

QUESTION:

I am looking to start a company to develop a technology to be used online — but I’m not a tech whiz. My education and experience are on the business side. Hence, I don’t have the first idea what type of talent I’m looking to partner with.

ANSWER:

Naomi Kokubo

Naomi Kokubo

by Naomi Kokubo, Cofounder of Founders Space

Most great tech companies are started by techies — meaning they understand the technology inside and out. Usually the techie is partnered with a good business guy or gal.  In today’s world, it pays to have one member of your team be highly technical.

Now how do you go about finding this person? The best way is networking. Get out of your house and meet as many engineers as possible. It’s sort of like dating. You need to find someone who is ready to get married to your business, and the larger the pool of people you’re talking to, the higher your chance of finding the right match.

How do you get the pool as large as possible? Well, go to every tech mixer you can. Also, sign up for all the engineering related meet ups and special interest groups. If you look around, you’ll find there are specific networking events and groups targeted at geeks. Go to all of these. You may not understand a word they say — just be polite and say you’re interested in learning. And then talk to the folks there in a casual way.

The engineers at these events will help guide you towards understanding the exact type of technical person you need to bring onto your team.  The best thing you can do is ask a lot of good questions.  Don’t be shy about sharing your vision and your product, and asking them for advice on what type of technical person would be the best fit.

Here are some ideas on places to go…

  1. Drunk Engineers — Yes, this is a real tech gathering.  Just like dating, nothing’s better than getting an engineer drunk and then impregnating them with your idea. Call it a shotgun wedding, but it works.
  2. There’s also countless Meetup Groups that focus on engineers.
  3. You can talk to professors at local colleges and have them recommend good engineers.
  4. Special interest groups are a great resource.
  5. MobileMonday is another place to meet talented engineers.
  6. Apple Worldwide Developers Conference and other tech conferences.
  7. Comic book conventions — yes, any place geeks hang out is a good place to be.
  8. Stackoverflow and other online forums for coders.
  9. Founder Dating
  10. Startup Weekend

This should be a good start.  I hope this helps!

Comments & Advice:
  1. Hi Naomi,

    What you’ve written is very useful indeed. I’m a techie looking for a company to contribute to – and it’s really hard for us to find the right match as well!!

    I’ll signup on these sites and let’s see what comes of it 🙂

    Thanks,
    Suman

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