Startup Teams


Startup teams could be starting off on the wrong foot, and it has a lot to do with non-tech founders.

But first, what’s the backstory?

I’m a non-tech founder myself. And, I learned a really valuable lesson that I’ll be sharing with you today.

Non-tech founders can be scared to get their hands dirty with code. When I say ‘dirty’ I mean do simple things like setup a landing page and a blog.

Instead, many just do nothing. They waste too much time trying to recruit a technical founder and nothing gets done.

To find a tech co-founder to join your startup, it could take well over six months.

If you pause and think about this for a second – that’s a long time! That’s why solo founders that can’t code – have to be willing to step outside of their comfort zone and get things done.

We’ve put together a new framework, which we call ABCD Startup Teams. It categorizes startup teams into four categories, to show you an important message.

In startups, there are dogs, winners – and, startup teams that fit somewhere in between.

If you’re trying to recruit a tech co-founder you have to prove to them that you’re not going to waste their time.

This means, getting shit done …

Be Focused on Results

Solo founders waste too much time trying to find a tech co-founder. When instead they should be getting things done.

We’ll let you in on a little secret:

“The more you get done as a solo founder, the better talent; and or, an investment you can attract later.”

So, in the early days the first founder should be focused on results first – not finding a tech co-founder first.

But, non-tech founders have this backward and do the exact opposite.

Startup Teams: Talent attracts talent

People want to work for winners and don’t want to waste time with people that don’t have what it takes.

And haven’t developed the right skill set to execute an idea.

All too often, many non-technical founders are not doing all that much with their idea.

They are focused on trying to find a technical co-founder to build their product on sweat equity alone.

Or, spend months on end chasing investors.

It doesn’t work like this. If you are talented or show promise, people will naturally find you.

Startup Equity Is Not as Valuable as You Might Think

In the early days, startup equity is worthless. And sometimes a lot of new founders can place too much value on it.

The harsh truth: Startup equity only becomes valuable when your startup is valuable.

Ideas are worthless and it’s what you do with your idea that counts. (Crew wrote an excellent article about this)

Startup Teams and Equity

Offering a stake in your startup is not enough to convince people to join your startup.

A programmer doesn’t want to waste their time with people that don’t have more than equity to offer.

Why would they want to leave their stable job and work for free? They have a lot more to risk than the solo founder trying to recruit them.

The Startup Myth

The Startup Myth: Some new founders believe that all they have to is go and find a tech co-founder to work for just equity alone.

99% of the time, it doesn’t work like this. You need three main things to convince a tech co-founder to join you:

  1. Conviction: You have to believe strong enough in your idea, and convince others that it’s worth pursuing.
  2. Proof of Results: You have to show proof with results that mean something. If you can’t show proof, it might be too early for you to recruit a tech co-founder.
  3. Rewards and Incentives: A tech co-founder does not want to work for equity alone. They also have to put food on the table.

Equity alone is not enough to convince a tech co-founder to join your new startup. You need to show proof, conviction and also pay them too.

Scenario 1: Pitching a dog

A founder says: “Will you build my idea for me? I can only give you equity.

Would you be interested in joining?”

Solo founders want programmers to build their products for them. But they haven’t actually done anything. They’re pitching a dog.

A better approach could be to focus on getting things done – and use your results to attract talent or investment.

Non-technical founders can do things like setup a landing page, blog, validate their product – well before a tech co-founder joins their team.

Most are in search for someone to do everything for them.

Scenario 2: Pitching a Potential Winner

A founder says: “I have been working on this idea for a couple of months. It’s about to launch. Over 30,000 people have signed up, and we’ve raised one round of funding.

Would you be interested in joining?”

In this example, founders that have put their heads down worked hard and achieved real results. They could be pitching a potential winner.

It’s kind of like the ‘Law of Attraction,’ like attracts like. And, the same principle applies to startup teams.

  • Hard workers attract hard workers.
  • Slackers attract slackers.
  • Talent attracts talent.

If you’re pitching a winner, everyone wants a piece of your pie.

Don’t pitch a dog, pitch a winner!

What Type of Startup Team Are You?



ABCD Startup Teams

A-Teams: These are teams that are experienced and already know how to build a successful company.

B-Teams: Those that are on their way to building a successful company.

C-Teams: People that are still learning how to build a company.

D-Teams: Usually just a person with an idea, talks about the idea, and hasn’t bothered to do anything about it.

Key Points to Consider:

  • Startups can be classified into four categories, A, B, C and D teams.
  • The more you get done as a solo founder, the better talent; and or investment you can attract.
  • Spend time more wisely and be results driven.
  • Not having a technical co-founder does not excuse you from getting things done. You can validate your idea, set up a landing page, blog, build a brand and get sign ups.
  • Start teams can move up the ladder. But for a startup to go somewhere, it starts with action. Getting things done, and being able to learn fast is a good place to start.


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