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How to Find a Technical Co-Founder

by Jeremy Schoemaker on May 5, 2014 · 11 comments

This is a “continuation” of the post Why You Can’t Find a Technical Co-Founder

If you spend more than 4 hours of your day on a computer or some sorta device, I’m sure you had that spark of inspiration for the next killer app.. or some way to improve some thing.

New idea, of course, means a new way of doing things… and that means you need someone technical to bring your idea to life. If you ain’t got the skills or the cash to pay for the skills to bring it to reality, then what do you do? Look for someone who is willing to take a risk on your idea with their time. i.e. SWEAT equity.

If you’re a technical person who’s ever been pitched, I’m sure you know … it’s annoying as f*ck. Here’s one I got recently from some lady, who just happened to find me. Now, I usually just delete these types of messages, but she was cute as hell, so well… i read it.

Now, let me break down what this email means.. LINE by line

> Hi,

Dear code monkey,

> I am in the beginning stages of creating a vertically integrated fragrance company.  I have a background in e-commerce, operations, buying and merchandising but lack the technical engineering, creative marketing, and growth hacking skills so looking for a co-founder who does.

So… I don’t  know SHIT about selling anything online, and I was hoping you could… 1) code it up 2) market it and 3) make me rich. I have MBA “skills” so my job is to crack the whip… feed you some occasional peanuts so you don’t die of starvation. My job is very important: I am the “idea” person. I bring together all the slaves to do my bidding.

> The situation:
> -Fragrance industry is a dinosaur without any real innovation ever.
> - Industry works through licenses and distributors and therefor there are a ton of mark-ups of the products before it reaches the customer.
> - The fragrance market is over 25B world wide and 4B in the US so lots of opportunity.

Look! It’s shiny! Oooooooooooh….. aaaaaah….

> The problem:
> - Fragrances of way over priced
> - The cheap alternatives are really horrible because they are filled with a high alcohol content and thus smell pretty pungent
> - marketing is all around a signature scent however if 2M people buy chanel a year is it really your signature scent?
> - Due to the expensive nature of high end fragrances people tend to buy 1-3 a year
> - It is a luxury item that sits in your bathroom, hard to transport, and excess packaging

I didn’t talk to one single soul, but hey, i’m pretty sure my gut hunch is right. I also think Pets.com, WebVan.com, Friendster.com, and Excite@Home were great companies.

> The solution:
> Direct to consumer fragrances that cut out the middle man to allow you to sell it for 1/3 of the price of luxury options.
> In this way you will shift purchases from 1-2 per year to 4-5 per year and thus allow consumers to have a closet of layer-able scents to mix and match depending on their mood, occasion, and season. Have smart new products in terms of applications of fragrances to allow for easy transport.

There is this “magical” thing called ecommerce… ever heard of it? It’s ok because only special MBA students like me have access to this thing called the “in-ter-net”. I would tell you more but I would have to kill you.

UMMM.. Right

YOU want a technical co-founder?

I don’t want to tell you the basics of selling.. like

  • believe in your idea strongly
  • have some freakin’ experience in the industry that you want to “disrupt”
  • show some effort – either with cash or with work
  • have some sort of revenue to prove out your concept (you can even use freebies to attract some potential customers)

In another words, tell your potential partner that your business idea has legs, and that the business risk is low.

Because if you DON’T have that, you’re not gonna convince anyone.. not even yourself.

So if you have done some work, here’s some PRACTICAL stuff you can do – hang out where they hang out, and earn their trust first.

1) Join a coworking space

In crowded cities, real estate is becoming more expensive and flex space like coworking spaces are getting quite popular with freelancers, contractors, small businesses, and generally 1 person companies.

Here you will find tons of guys and girls who are quite great at programming, and are very receptive to hearing ideas.

2) Go to hackathons

Muscle heads go to bodybuilding competitions.

Actors go to auditions.

Car fanatics go to car races.

Nerds, who really love what they do, go to hackathons, especially if they’re somewhat entrepreneurial.

Just google “hackathons <name of your city>” and you will find one at least 1 a week near you.

3) Help them with marketing or sales

Believe it or not, nerds are not good at marketing or sales. That’s why, if they are entrepreneurial, will seek out people who are good at hustling  in marketing or sales.

Do you know how many apps get released into the app store every day? THOUSANDS.

How many websites get registered every day? TENS of thousands.

The odds of the developer (you’re trying to woo) having some sort of web property that he wants to generate traffic for or get sales for is fairly high.

Offer him your marketing skills … build up a rapport.. let him/her see that you have something to offer.

What i do NOT recommend

  • Spam linkedin – tiring & super effective
  • Attend those “founder matching/dating” sites or networking events - It’s just like dating… the odds of you finding someone you want to enter a relationship might be high, but because of the competition & excess “buzz”, you’re likely to waste time

In other words…

give first.. ask for the “sale” later

full disclosure

About the author...

– who has written 2895 posts on ShoeMoney.com.

Jeremy "ShoeMoney" Schoemaker is the founder & CEO of the ShoeMoney Blog, Elite Retreat Internet Conference, & the PAR Program. In 2013 Jeremy released his #1 Amazon Best selling Autobiography titled "Nothing's Changed But My Change" - The ShoeMoney Story. Jeremy currently lives in Lincoln Nebraska with his wife and 2 daughters.


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{ 11 comments }

Shoemoney 1 Frank

This is so true! I couldn’t agree more with you as I am a developer and I get hit up all the time with stuff like this. It sucks because I am trying to build my own business and I do not have time to help build someone else’s. People need to stop asking for stuff and figure out this thing called “networking”. You just do not want some random person doing work for you or learning about what you are trying to do because what is stoping them from doing this them-self since they have the experience?

Shoemoney 2 Mitch

My personal favorite is when you can tell it is just a cookie cutter email that is sent out to everyone who they found is a developer. I mean seriously come on and at least personalize it with my name, company name, and try and make a connection with me. It is very clear when it is just a standard email that all people like this want to do is use me for my talent. I AM NOT DUMB people

Shoemoney 3 Justin

Great advice! I am actually looking for developer here in Dallas and boy has it been a challenge. It makes total sense to hangout/join groups that developers can be found in. I do not know why I have never thought of this. Thanks for the tip brother

4 faisal

Some of these tips are awesome.

5 ziuma

thank for these tips.

Shoemoney 6 Drew Colorado

I don’t know why I thought this would be so easy. Here, I thought there were a ton of like minded/educated/skilled people out there. But yea, it’s a tough one.

Shoemoney 7 Celeste

I was hoping that you’d be writing a follow up after the last piece you posted about getting a technical co-founder.

Shoemoney 8 Harvey Trudell

I can’t tell you how much I needed to read this. Thanks, Jeremy!

Shoemoney 9 Annie L.

I’m looking for a partner and I’m guessing that you’re not available to work with since you’re busy, so this is the next best thing to help me locate the type of person I need to make things work. Thanks!

Shoemoney 10 Stacy

OMG that cat picture is freaking adorable and hilarious!

11 Siva

Good post..Most of the thing i agree with but not totally

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