4 Reasons You Can’t Find a Tech Cofounder

December 2, 2014

10:00 am

In “How to Start a Startup without Ruining Your Life,” startup advisor Rik Lomas provides his how-to guide to starting up for new founders. He goes over everything from naming and design to team-building and fundraising to sales, marketing, and more.

But one of the sections that sticks out is “How to find a tech cofounder.” Lomas is the creator of Tech Jobs in London, so he’s seen plenty of companies and individuals desperately seeking tech talent. The problem is that lots of “idea people” – whom developers tend to look down upon – are searching feverishly for programmers to bring their ideas to life. Meanwhile, lots of technical people want to retain their independence or get so many requests that any one job offer isn’t so appealing. 

Here are four reasons Lomas touched on why you can’t find a technical cofounder:

You look desperate

Coders can be arrogant and they believe that they can build the whole idea on their own. Which is true…to a point,” Lomas writes. The key is to show them how much value you’re bringing to the table by doing some preliminary work on research, branding, planning, and more. Don’t just literally go to a developer with an idea and ask them to sign on the dotted line.

You’re asking the wrong people

Lomas was constantly asked to join startups as a technical cofounder and always said no. Why? Often because he didn’t know them very well. Presumably, as in many areas of starting up, the key here is to try to get introduced by a mutual connection. 

You can’t code – at all

One of the biggest headaches for tech people is to deal with bosses or partners who know nothing about programming. They don’t want to sign up for a job where they’ll be constantly subject to unrealistic expectations and ridiculous requests from someone who doesn’t understand the nature of code.

You ask them to sign NDAs

Lomas says that NDAs show a lack of confidence in your idea, and he refused to sign NDAs as a rule because he didn’t want to limit his future work. If you’re worrying about people getting a headstart on your idea, you’re worrying about the wrong thing: “Your startup needs to be the best-in-class, not the first to market,” he says.

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact kira@tech.co.

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