A note on the series: The technology startup community is pretty great about churning out helpful material from entrepreneur to entrepreneur. In all of my reading though, I noticed a gap in material relating to early stage startup recruiting. Most recruiting articles are about hiring your first few employees and on from there, but there are many entrepreneurs that don’t make it to that point. While there are a lot of reasons for this, I don’t think it can hurt to throw some material out there on the topic in hopes that it will help.
I want to set a quick vocabulary change for early stage startup recruiting to help frame the posts that come next.
If you describe yourself as ‘non-technical,’ you’ve either been (1) deceived or (2) you’re actually damn near useless to a startup. The actual definition of ‘technical’ is “peculiar to or characteristic of a particular art, science, profession, trade, etc.” With that definition, ‘non-technical’ must mean something along the lines of ‘lacking characteristics of any particular art, science, profession, trade, etc.’ So if being ‘non-technical’ really means you are not an artist, scientist, professional, or tradesman, then you are likely to be useless to a startup.
You are a developer, a hustler, a designer, a marketer, a salesman, a growth hacker, a community manager, some combination of the above, or you are useless to a founding team at a startup. If you aren’t sure what you are, then you should probably figure that out before you go and start a company.
If you recognize your skills above, own up to them because if you’re useful on a founding team you are technical.