Funny, we just announced the 2nd version of the Lookbook a couple days ago, and it's going to be a whole new challenge, since we're working with over 3x the number of vendors and in multiple wedding verticals rather than just invitations. I'll have to send you the new one once it's released in a month. :)
You learn all the hard work Tracy puts in on her own. And in the end she EARNS a technical co-founder. She doesn't stop working on her product while waiting for the mythical tech co-founder to join her. Bravo and congrats.
Thanks for the compliment! It's really fun being the tech person because at least I'm learning something new every day.
You also have to raise the bar of what you're looking for by learning to code yourself. Codecademy is great, because everyone on a startup needs to be technical to some extent, at least early on. You need to be able to collaborate shoulder to shoulder.
As a visionary who clearly doesn't mind getting her hands dirty and has design skills you seem like every tech co-founder's dream! I'm honestly surprised you had difficulty finding a tech co-founder before launching.
I'm dabbling with the idea of becoming a tech cofounder for someone, so I'd like to know what were the criteria that you looked for in a tech cofounder and how did you finally find one?
The difficulty wasn't in finding a tech cofounder — I had one back in the day, went through a whole "interview" process with people from my original post that got on HN. The problem was knowing someone long enough to feel comfortable with them and finding the right person for the industry, especially since I'm working in the weddings industry which is generally uninspiring for a lot of devs. So it ended up with me working solo for over a year, and the right person approached me, which worked way better.
"I'm dabbling with the idea of becoming a tech cofounder for someone, so I'd like to know what were the criteria that you looked for in a tech cofounder and how did you finally find one?"
Personality and fit with you and the company is number #1. Fit within the current needs of the company was #2. Right skillset wasn't considered (hell, if I can pick it up, someone who specializes in software development certainly can.) But definitely finding someone who you can work with is the most important, because if things go badly, you can work together on a new idea if you jive well together.
I'm actually asking from the perspective of a technical person who finds it hard to trust/gel with potential non-tech founders, but I thought perhaps you had some thoughts :)
I think it would help the entire startup ecosystem if more founders shared their challenges, failures, and triumphs.
I'd take these posts more as inspiration to persist. Take toll in your achievements and realize that your business is alive up until the moment you allow yourself to give up.
"Apparently the most likely animals to be left alive after a nuclear war are cockroaches, because they're so hard to kill. That's what you want to be as a startup, initially. Instead of a beautiful but fragile flower that needs to have its stem in a plastic tube to support itself, better to be small, ugly, and indestructible."
By the way, you go girl! Best of luck. I admire and applaud your persistence. Keep going. I believe you can do it.
I keep seeing this over and over again in my life. Nearly all the women I know, from family to friends, are self driven, independent (even with a family they have a strong sense of self), stable, educated or self-educated, and self disciplined. Earning degrees, starting businesses, or properly investing the family funds. The men I know.... well... we're the worst kind of failures. Not the good Silicon Valley "I failed but I learned" kind of failure. The bad kind of failure where you keep doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. Out of all the men in my the family, my mother is the only one that played her cards right. Financially, career wise, everything. Same with my aunt. Same with my other aunt. Same with my childhood female friends. WTF.
I think I've developed such a bias favoring women that I specifically want a female co-founder. At least I know there's a much less chance of testosterone induced ego trips, driving the company into the ground from unnecessary overly risky decisions. I've noticed that these women's decision making is VERY different from the men's.
From what I've seen. Women change their success strategy much more often, whereas the men keep the same one despite years of failure. Women adjust to change much quicker than the men I know. When women mess up, they say to your face "I'm sorry, it's my fault". In fact they blame themselves a lot more when things go wrong, whereas the men place blame on others and don't apologize at all. Men don't see it as "I screwing up", they see it as "things didn't go my way". Women gather information first, then make a decision. The Men skip the information gathering step. They rush in and just call the shots. It's quicker but more risky and eventually leads to a lot of failures. When business doesn't work, women blame themselves and try to change themselves (get a degree, educate, find new partner, find what they did wrong) but when business doesn't work for men, they try to change the business itself, refusing to admit that it might just be their fault. And lastly, the men I know seem to think they are correct by default and tread ahead into the darkness, whereas the women think they are incorrect by default and carefully tread through decisions.
I think I'm sexist. But I can't help it. You call it sexism and generalizing but I call it 'pattern recognition'. Literally all the women in my extended family and friends have good jobs and the guys (me included) have nothing or terrible jobs. I feel as if I'm destined for a life of failure. I know I shouldn't feel that way but I can't help it. It feels inescapable. The more I think about it, the more it makes sense and becomes evident. Sorry if I dragged any men into the same depressive pit that I'm stuck in.
Don't count yourself out just because of your gender. Tracy is awesome because she's Tracy, not because she's a woman. Actually, just don't count yourself out period, that's silly. You can always improve at things.
Setting high expectations for yourself is crucial to achieving them. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pygmalion_effect
You spoke of male friends who are failures—those are the people you want to avoid. Start hanging out a lot more with your successful female friends, find mentors who will help guide you to improvement, get a job where you feel like the stupidest person in the room.
This goes back to setting high expectations for yourself. You're not the only variable.