Shouldn't that be "OUR dream website"?
"You're more likely to bump into a piece of talking bacon riding a unicorn on their way to a leprechaun's pool party than finding a software engineer who will work for FREE."
Shouldn't that be "for 50% ownership"?
Sounds like he was looking for free labor, not a co-founder.
My solution? Why, learning to code myself, of course!
The 50% part is shady. What do each founder bring to the company? If the developer does all the coding + some sales should he not get more than 50? What if it's the opposite?
That's the part I find the hardest, if both founders wear both hats, that becomes less complicated I think.
His inability to find and keep people doesn't seem like testament to his skills as a recruiter.
The suggestion to evaluate what you are really bringing to the table in such cases is spot on. Evaluate fairly what your contribution is worth and make a meaningful offer to a tech co-founder you know. If you just need someone to work under your directives just hire someone.
1. The author thinks that a technical co-founder is "a software engineer who works for no cash."
2. The author went through four "technical co-founders" inside a year.
My guess is the author was looking for freelance-type work, paying out equity "as if" it were cash (i.e., as a function of deliverables vs. a vesting schedule), and in general was micromanaging the engineers he found.
A co-founder is a business partner, not "your" employee.
Well there is this strange thing called open source software where I believe people work for free.
Jokes aside, I can understand why this guy has trouble finding a technical cofounder. It's all in his attitude. A partnership needs to be on an equal footing with a large degree of mutual respect. Of course it's hard to tell from just one blogpost, but it might be the problem.
Most of the time those people don't work for free, they just decide to release the code they've made with the goal of getting paid. Basically, open source software is not the goal, just a (generous) side effect.
Mind boggling that he is an active member in the SF open source community and still thinks that developers don't work for free on worthwhile ideas.
(By the way, I found your gender-specific language a little distracting: "business guys" and "man up". Just sayin'.)
I'm a business person first and wannabe hacker second, and I think the thing that is missing here is respect for someone who can do things that you can't. The main reason I've been learning to code isn't so I can eliminate the need for someone who can... I know I'll never be as good as someone who has spent their entire career learning to build software. I just want to speak the language, understand what is hard and when to call bullshit or just how to ask better questions.
If you're looking for someone to code up your dream website, go to oDesk or to a friend who needs some extra cash to bootstrap HIS startup.
I'm working for a client who did this and it's awesome. When things get technical I don't have to force it into layman's terms--he understands. He also understands the nature of coding and how some things that are easy to conceptualize can be difficult to code (and vice versa). His decision to learn about programming has made it possible to have a great, trusting relationship with good communication and great results (this is the most productive I've ever been).
The mere fact that you call your product a website tells me you're not ready [for a technical co-founder]
"You may get a software engineer to start something for you, but they won't stick with the project when it gets difficult. I learned something: technical co-founders are a myth."
As a business geek I took another route after thinking about how to remedy the situation: Learn to program. Best decision I've ever made.
There're two basic solutions to this: work on your technical skills, or work on your leadership skills. (And remember that leadership isn't telling people what to do, it's making them want to do what you want them to do anyway.) Working on your technical skills is the easier course; it's what I've chosen to do, it seems to be what you've chosen to do, and ultimately it frees you from being dependent upon other people to build your prototype. But working on leadership skills probably scales better, since at some point, you're going to have to work with other people anyway.
By the way, the added bonus of learning to program is that you'll be in a much better position to judge the merits of a technical cofounder.
In that, he doesn't need to qualify "people" with the adjective "software engineer". The same principle applies to design folks as well. The bottom line is, if you want to make it happen, you better pony up or do the work yourself. If such skills and effort came for free, don't you think someone else would have done it already?
Maybe the author isn't going after very technically interesting projects!
At this point, I am always looking for new ideas and interesting startups to help out. However, I am erring on the side of mercenary rather than owner. That is not to say, I don't wholly to commit to endeavors, but the ideas that interest me and the ones that provide opportunity to help out don't necessarily intersect.
I'd say the large volume of open source software suggests otherwise.
That explains open source.
In fact, I feel increasingly we live in a world now where a hacker/entrepreneur hybrid can just go build some web technology or SaaS by themselves in relative stealth mode, retain 100% equity, and then later maybe give up 10% to a designer to make it look purty and another 10% to a bizdev guy, and maybe maybe another 10-20% to a cash investor (and outside cash may not always be necessary or desirable anyway), and the hacker/entrepreneur still retains the largest share and majority control. There are 2 secret ingrediants here, which is probably why it doesn't happen more: 1. the hacker must be really good and talented not just average Joe code monkey; and 2. he must also have business/entrepreneur skills/knowledge. If he lacks either or both of these things he's not going to have the capability and leverage to pull this scenario off. But for those that do, watch out.