Coders eh’ – do they think they are the mayor’s trousers or what?
They may be possessed of ultimate Hipster credentials and look achingly cool as they sip their coffee and artfully dab at their Apple Macs, as they build their machine-learning programmes, with a dash of AI on the side, but in reality, a coder is really not so very different from an accountant or a lawyer.
Say what! Bear with me.
An accountant and/or a lawyer generally stands between you and the thing you want for your business – a new premises, a successful tax return, a takeover, hiring an employee, preparing financial statements for investors, and there is not a lot you can do to hurry them up or influence the outcome of what they are doing – because you don’t “speak the lingo”.
Now, being a control freak founder, this is going to be frustrating as you are probably used to calling the shots, but now you are going to have to get used to a new look – hopping impatiently, with a faint sense of desperation, from foot to foot whilst imploring, begging your lawyers to get a fucking move on!
Ah yes, they will tell you, but before we can do this, this needs to happen first. Suddenly it’s all about what “the other side” are doing – and “the other side” always seem to take an inordinately long time to reach a decision about anything.
Ironically, that is precisely what “the other side” thinks about you, whereas the reality is both you and “the other side” are chomping at the bit, but nothing will change until your lawyer has finished his long lunch with his boss and, well, he kind of likes the fact that everybody is waiting on him – and he quite likes the daily rate he’s on too, so all good as far as he or she is concerned!
OK that’s enough lawyer bashing – this is of course a metaphor for the relationship you are likely to have with your new CTO or tech team. Some of my best friends are lawyers. Seriously. Nah, just kidding, but hopefully you get the point – you are beholden to lawyers, accountants and coders because they can do technical stuff that you can’t, and without their expertise, you can’t win an employment tribunal, you can’t pay (sorry, this is tech, I meant avoid) your taxes, and you can’t have a sexy user interface or an app with a cool “swipe left/right” functionality.
Or can you?
It’s a bold, brave founder that decides “sod it, I’ll do the coding myself”. Like filing your own tax return, or defending yourself in court, this is not generally advisable – and tends to be a graveyard for hubristic fools and people who are completely out of touch with reality. But hey, Elon Musk would probably do it so why the heck not? You’re a rockstar startup founder, after all, you can do anything!
So look, first thing to bear in mind, part of the amazing thing about running a company is working with different people, so don’t be an anti-social adolescent and hog everything yourself like the kid who brings the only football to the playground, tries to decide who gets to play, and ends up playing on his own.
So maintain great relationships with professionals – lawyers, accountants, HR experts, and coders – coders may be the only ones who smell of bong water and Cheetos, but hey, accountants can never be cool and nobody likes lawyers except other lawyers so we all have to suffer a little bit.
Now if you still want to learn to code so you can spy on the people you are supposed to trust implicitly, check out these links!
Microsoft Virtual Academy – there is so much free training stuff on here it’s ridiculous! You could learn to build Windows 10 apps, query your database and produce analytics, launch an app for Android. You could literally learn everything you would ever need to know about coding (except for iOS) on this site – without paying a penny!
Developing iOS Apps with Swift – completely free, completely complete coding course for Swift, the iOS programming language par excellence. Did we mention the live recordings are real-life sessions for real-life coding students at Stanford? Well they are, you can even hear them coughing and asking questions – boom!
This guy is also a genius at Swift – he makes it look so simple.
I’m trying to free your mind, Neo! – this is Bob Tabor’s mission in life, and he achieves it through the medium of being an awesome coding teacher – his free C++ course is also available on Microsoft Virtual Academy.
So heads up bootstrapping founders, yes there are loads of paid for initiatives out there that will help you learn to code, but the reality is, you can do it yourself.
Just don’t drink the bong water and remember to brush your teeth before you go out. Better buy a new toothbrush now, just to be sure.
And stop thinking you are Superman!
Keep on hustlin’