Most of what I read on Medium, Flipboard, Inc, Forbes etc. seems to document the life of the typical Silicon Valley startup with young coders and designers working through the night in their garages or dorms creating the next Facebook.
But what if you don’t have the technical skills and you don’t write code? Are non-technical founders precluded from founding tech startups?
I hope you don’t think the answer to that is yes, because great ideas aren’t just the preserve of people who can code.
As a so called non-technical founder myself I have spent years scouring the internet for resources in an effort to learn for others in my situation.
Often you can feel helpless without the required skills and education to succeed in today’s technical world. However, if you dig a little deeper you will find there are thousands if not millions of others in your exact situation who have succeeded, and fortunately they have documented this in blogs, articles, podcasts, videos, documentaries you name it.
In this post I’m going to share my list of favourite podcasts which have provided me with some great insight and takeaways over the years.
These podcasts are incredibly inspiring and I guarantee you will be able to take at least something from each of them.
Need/Want is a design studio based in St. Louis. They are responsible for great products like Emoji Masks, the Mod Notebook, SmartBedding and Peel phone cases. In addition, they host Hatched, a podcast about early stage ideas, experiments and Need/Want. Hatched is great for it’s sheer transparency and insights into the daily happenings of a small startup.
Although they haven’t made a podcast in a while this is a great episode for non-technical founders as some of the Need/Want founders are from a non-technical background themselves.
Product Hunt Radio by Ryan Hoover
Each week Ryan Hoover (Product Hunt founder) and Erik Torenberg are joined by founders, investors, and product people in the startup community & beyond to chat about products, technology, and the people who make them.
It’s really difficult to say which exact episode I would recommend, however in the content of this post I would recommend the episode with Gary Vaynerchuk is a great one to start with. Gary V is a entrepreneur, investor, and best selling author. Gary transformed his father’s liquor store into a retail wine store named Wine Library, and started the video blog Wine Library TV, a daily internet webcast on the subject of wine. He then announced he would be stepping away from his daily wine video series to focus his attention on VaynerMedia, the digital ad agency he co-founded with his brother. Gary didn’t come from a technical background but has managed to build a successful media empire despite.
ProtoHack by Black McCammon and Cole Fox
Each week, ProtoHack co-founders Blake McCammon and Cole Fox interviews different non-technical founders on the ins and outs of being a non-technical founder in the technical world.
In this particular episode they interviewed Marc Hoag, Co-Founder & CEO of Twibble. Twibble is a better way to easily publish content from any RSS feed to Twitter with beautiful imagery in each and every tweet.
ConversionAid podcast aims to help software entrepreneurs take their business to the next level. Each week, they interview proven industry experts who share their strategies and insights to help you create software that sells.
Hiten Shah is a non-technical co-founder and president of analytics companies KISSmetrics & Crazy Egg. He founded KISSmetrics with Neil Patel in 2008. The company has raised over $10M in funding and is used by thousands of companies around the world.
Traction explores and share the stories of all the creative, unusual, and clever ways that entrepreneurs find early results. They talk to founders as well as executives, investors, and journalists, all of whom did something smart or sneaky or downright brilliant to go from zero to one in an important area of their business.
In this particular episode speak to Fred Shilmover. Since Fred is not a developer, and since he also wanted to launch a B2B SaaS company, he knew he needed market validation. For Fred, that meant actual paying customers. So he set out to build a fake product — a true “MVP” that added real, tangible value and improved upon an old way of doing something, but ultimately wasn’t the final product. It was worthy of paying for, but not exactly a scalable product just yet. In his own words “he created essentially spreadsheet-as-a-service”.
The Nice to Meet You Show is a podcast hosted by Tobias Van Schneider which is a podcast about the markers and builders. Although more design related this is a great down to earth podcast with some fantastic guests.
In this episode Tobias speaks to Ryan Hoover, founder of Product Hunt. The original idea for PH started in the form of a simple newsletter in 2013. Ryan and his friends would search for cool products and share them with each other. As the newsletter got more and more popular he decided it might be worth pursuing further. Ryan wasn’t an engineer, so he wasn’t going to invest the time or money in building an entire site from the start, but he could build an email list. So he started one and invited a few dozen investors, founders, and other friends of his who he thought might like it, and who had an inside track of what kind of tech products were cool. And so Product Hunt was born.