Choosing a Technical Cofounder or Business Cofounder

wozWho to choose for a technical cofounder? Its a tough question, especially in LA’s talent market. If you haven’t read Tony Karrer’s insight, I recommend his blog at socalcto.com.

You want a generalist. A specialist (I do ruby. I do iOS. I’m a database gal.) does one thing really really well. Better than anyone else, however because they’re the best, they don’t need to learn anything new. They don’t need to branch out and do “lowly html” – the best cofounders will do anything to make the technology happen. No task is too trivial, no task is to challenging. And their range of talent let’s them do this – they can scale a database and they can write efficient javascript, or they’ll take the time to sprite images to make your site faster for better conversion rates.

A generalist is passionate about technology in general, and most importantly they’re on board with your vision. I’ve done it myself – took my own idea and try to make a company, however when I realized it wasn’t going to work, I looked for somebody passionate about their idea and had some other key, complimentary skill to offer. When there’s a chance to join something great you don’t pass it up.

For us technical guys, finding a business cofounder is much the same – look for a generalist. Unfortunately in business, a generalist might mean something bullshit like a consultant – that’s not what I mean, I mean somebody that can get people’s attention with marketing, and someone who close a deal. Someone that understands contracts, negotiation, and a little bit of law, but can bring in revenue when needed. A business generalist and technical generalist make for a killer team.

So when you look for a cofounder for your startup, find smart people, that are generalists, are willing to learn, and can make things happen.

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