1. Become a domain expert - know the problem you are trying to solve inside and out. Know the market size, sales cycles, etc. Make connections in the industry.
2. Find Customers - Bring an idea, along with a 14,000 name mailing list that you generated via blogging on the subject.
3. Bring a design - Actually mock up a set of flows for an MVP. Show it to 20 people, and iterate on their feedback. Find out what is important so when you do start building you build traction right away.
All of these are things that a good "Business Guy" should be able to do and will ultimately be responsible for when they do find a cofounder. Sure, pick up a little RoR or JS, but you aren't going to become a startup quality dev in 6-12 months (or likely more). However, in that same time you could do all of the above many times over.
I need a lot of help for sure but my hand is open, I know I can't do this on my own. I haven't found the people to fill the roles I need through my limited professional network.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
I'm working on the connections listed in #1 by networking with local developers and applying to the YC winter session.
#2 is a big jump for me without a working demo which I'm currently contracting and developing. 14K name mailing list? Yikes, I need an expert for that one.
I've attempted #3 already but it's not efficient to design things and then not being able to pay for the coding of all the stuff I design.
I need cofounders who have the time, energy, and value system to take my vision and run with it and make it real.
I know I sound like a kid writing a letter to Santa but I know that someone is willing to pursue a dream. I just have to find them.
We all have a vision or several. Why should folks who can code work on yours?
Seriously - what else do you bring to the table?
Note that we're not looking for a "big project", we're looking for a big payoff for us.
I'm just being honest. If I could code like Zuckerberg, I wouldn't have to annoy developers so much.
What do I bring to the table? Something that hasn't been done before coupled with an understanding that I don't have all the answers, other people who are experts in their particular areas have value to contribute, and I don't care what has to happen to make my vision real as long as my vision doesn't get corrupted or sold short.
What is my supposed "vision"? It's not something I toss around in forums. I don't care what the folks at the YC Startup Forum talked about this year, if people are just throwing around ideas with no strings, they're being reckless because they have nothing to gain from their ideas being ripped off. I have bills to pay.
No one said anything about quick returns or a guarantee, but I'll bite - what is your experience? (I happen to personally know folks who have done earth shattering things and they have doubts. Not doing dumb things is a big advantage.)
> What do I bring to the table? Something that hasn't been done before coupled with an understanding that I don't have all the answers, other people who are experts in their particular areas have value to contribute, and I don't care what has to happen to make my vision real as long as my vision doesn't get corrupted or sold short.
That's a mix of meaningless platitudes and danger signs. Do you know which is which? In your experience, why is saying that a good idea?
> What is my supposed "vision"? It's not something I toss around in forums.
That's nice, but I didn't ask you to. I'm willing to assume that you've got a great vision. I'm asking what else you've got because great vision isn't enough.
> I have bills to pay.
We all do.
What’s my vision and why am I here annoying people on HN?
I have an idea for a mainstream social network in the vein of Twitter and/or Facebook, my vision is clear and the market for what I want to do is currently open. I feel like I have to act quickly, and YC would be a great fit for me. I'm pushing hard to let the selection committee know what I'm about.
What is my experience that shapes my attitude toward creating great things?
Everything I’ve read or seen tells me that there is no place for doubt in the foundations of an attempt of something. Mother Theresa didn’t doubt that she was supposed to go to Calcutta for the first few years as she established herself there. Her doubts came later in life but she had accomplished amazing things through her refusal to allow fear to prevent her from being successful. I’m sure there are lots of different ways to accomplish things, I guess I was just thinking in general terms and I was trying to express most accurately how I felt.
What do I bring to the table besides the vision?
I have a passion, a willingness to listen, and an open perspective. I also think I'm smart, good looking, funny, and I smell good, if that helps at all. Examples of my so called passion: I started a company, raised a small amount of money from my family, designed wireframes and product specs, and contracted with freelance developers to build a demo of the site. My first demo should be done by the end of this week, according to my developer.
In my experience, why is saying all of that hyperbolic crap a good idea?
My use of “meaningless platitudes and danger signs” sounded good to me because I see, hear, and read a lot of that type of stuff from tech guys. Take Ron Conway and Mark Zuckerberg at the YC Startup School for example. If somebody came up to you and said,
"I'm working on something that hasn't been done before,"
you would say,
"Thanks so much for that useless information."
Then if that person turns out to be Zuckerberg, you'd say, as Conway did,
"I remember when Zuckerberg said to me, 'We're going to build something that hasn't been done before.' He had such a clear vision of what he was going to do."
These ideas I have and my statements on what I bring to the table are completely and hilariously true. I can't put them any other way. It sounds dumb to say "I'm going to build the next Twitter," so I try to avoid doing it. The only problem is, I believe I can so I have a hard time containing myself when I get started discussing it.
I try to bring a healthy perspective to my ambitions but it's hard to convince people that I'm serious because everyone I’ve met in the tech community seems to have an attitude of skepticism. So when I say things like,
"I've got something big here. I need a lot of help to make it work will you help me?,"
instead of people responding with,
"Tell me more about what your idea is,"
I get a lot of,
"It’s too big. Do you really think you can pull this off?"
My response to that question is:
“I know it’s big, I know it’s a long-shot, but it’s so cheap to try and the result could be amazing.”
At that point the skeptic says or thinks: “A lot of stuff could be amazing. Who cares?”
The optimist says: “Thumbs up! Let’s do this!”
For me, the issue should be about the product, not about who I am or what my skills and experiences are. It’s convenient of me to feel this way because on paper I am completely unqualified to make this happen. That’s why my constant refrain is, “Who wants to help make it real?” It’s going to take a village.
I'm hungry to bring people into the project who share a passion for my vision. I'm on my own right now and that's not good from YC’s (or my own) perspective. It's hard to find cofounders in Milwaukee. Maybe I haven’t tried enough to meet people, but the Winter Session is here, so I have to work with what I’ve got. I've had help from a lot of people but too many of them are tied up with other things. I can't make this project happen on my own. YC would accelerate the process of helping me find the right people to make it real.
All of this stuff sounds like a lot of hot air until it happens. I'm trying to get YC to help me make it happen.
Yes, there are some danger signs in the above, but they don't sound as fatal as the ones spewed by that other guy.
So here's where you start: pick a few of the things people mentioned and learn them. If you're not into programming, learn marketing things, like building email lists, or work in sales, affiliate marketing, whatever. Just get started, and build from there.
Then, once you have a bit more experience and can bring something to the table, you'll be much more valuable.
There seems to be a lot of discussion of "my value," I'm pretty sure valuable people have made good and bad products just like "lesser-valuable(?)" people have also made good and bad products.
I have experience and training in sales if you count selling lumber as sales experience. I've got a marketing friend I've consulted with quite a bit on this project.
My big issue is time. The window of opportunity is closing and my concept is not rocket science. I'm trying to get into the market first.