Finding a Co-Founder - Technical and Non-Technical Founders

I continue to be impressed by the quality and intensity of discussions on Hacker News. A common topic of discussion is whether:

1) a company is better off with co-founders than founders 2) do co-founders need to be a mix of technical and non-technical

Tonight, the most popular discussion is titled "Ask HN: Should a tech founder look for a non-tech co-founder?":

Assume a solo tech founder has all the skills needed to complete a given Web application for a startup. What would be more valuable in a co-founder - additional tech skills to get to a prototype quicker or someone with seasoned startup experience to help seek funding, work on marketing, business plan, recruiting, etc?

I've seen enough to be convinced that there is no single, best answer. That said, I do have some advice:

- First, it is imperative that you surround yourself with smart, equally motivated and excited people... technical or not.

- Second, if you are not technical, it is important to have either a co-founder or very early non-technical leader. Do not rely on outsourcing technical work from the start as costs will mount faster than you expect and innovation is consequently very difficult.

- Rather than searching for a "technical" or "non-technical" co-founder, search for someone who fills the qualities and skillsets you need and don't necessarily have. When we launched InGameNow, we put together a team of co-founders that filled the key skillsets we believed were critical to our success: business, design and development.

- The business and launch plan will dictate how important technical and non-technical founding roles are. There is value in having a client / partner facing lead; but for highly complex products, the upfront work will likely rest upon the technical leads (and there may not be an upfront need for marketing / business development).

- Most importantly, make sure you work well together. Chemistry is a critical part of any relationship.

The Hacker News community voted this as the most useful comment (and I agree):

Your best bet, from my experience, is someone with the startup experience, business connections, marketing knowledge, and general know-how to execute on a completely different side of the business while you concentrate on the prototype.

But for best results, and to avoid the pitfall davidw pointed out, get someone who knows the basics of hacking too so he/she doesn't ask you to build a website that can shoot lasers out of the screen.

10 points by Mystalic 9 hours ago