Should I Learn to Code as a Start-Up CEO?
That’s a question I seem to hear a lot. As a nontechnical founder at Demio (a smart webinar platform on a simple mission), I completely get it. More than anything, it’s about control, or lack of it.
But then when I’ve got my advising pants on—yes, literal pants lol—I end up with one simple answer to founders and CEOs: absolutely not.
Okay, let me back up for a second.
I think there are key items that you need to understand for any technology based founder.
- You need to understand the Software Rules.
- You need to understand Software Processes.
- The Agile Process.
- The Staging -> Production Process.
- The QA Process.
- The Tech Debt Process.
But you really don’t need to understand product-level programming.If you are just getting started and you feel that if you could just learn to code you could help problem solve so much more, you will have to shut that voice down.That’s the voice of control. Of ego.
It’s telling you that the thousands of hours it’s going to take you to become proficient and knowledgeable enough in programming will somehow then move your company forward. That’s only if you become a top-tier programmer.
Wouldn’t you rather just find the A-level talent that’s out there that has specialized in this speciality already? The coders who literally devote all their time to solving problems and who love doing it.
Because the truth is you have a million other things you need to focus on from business strategy and marketing to building the culture, crafting the mission, team building, scaling the company, and so much more.
24 hours. That’s all you have in the day.
The best founders are those who can understand the power of leverage. Both the leverage of their own time and leverage of amazing people who have mastered theirs. For you, the best thing you can do is focus on going deep to become the best at what you are naturally strong at by doubling down on learning these skills and focusing on continuous learning in that area.
Focus here is key. Splitting time, energy, and skills will only give a mediocre result in each area. Learn to delegate. Learn to inspire others to give their best. Learn to make others perform at their peak performance and you’ll build something great.
I just heard a quote the other day that I loved: “Make your team wealthy, so you can be rich.” And how true is that? Putting other great people in the place to succeed will be the fastest way to push you together as a team to do something amazing. Remember as you progress down this journey: patience, focus and persistent action every single day is the only way forward to greatness.
It’s not going to be easy. But, then again, no one said it would be.
But, will it be worth it?
Absolutely. I promise.
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