May 13, 2019

Should a solo technical founder with incomplete skills look for another technical co-founder or invest in learning more?


I have an idea that I think is pretty good (don't we all?). My background is as a data scientist, but I've done a decent bit of small-scale web work, and I have good (but not expert) knowledge of Javascript/jQuery/HTML/CSS. I've made some okay-looking websites in my day. I work mostly in Python and I've made some good-sized projects in PHP.

But my dev abilities and, more to the point, my design abilities, are not where I think they should be in order to give my idea a good shot at success. I think UX really needs to be flawless in order for my product to get a foothold.

I can't figure out whether I should invest a few months (years?) to build my design and web dev skills, or whether I should go looking for a co-founder who knows that stuff already so I can focus on the data and business side. Any suggestions on how I can choose a path?

For what it's worth, my idea is in the ed-tech space.

  1. 1

    I love ed-tech!

    It's a bit rough for data scientists. Your skills are sooooo much more useful for larger companies with larger data sets than for going from nothing to ramen profitable.

    Where in the "ed-tech space" is your idea?

    1. 1

      Without going into too much detail (because I'm lazy, not because I'm paranoid), I suppose it's a take on MOOCs but with a much more systematized approach and what I think is a good system for matching courses with students. That's where my skillset comes in; I don't think there would be much of an opportunity for data analysis at first, but it's a good application for the "science" side of data science-- thinking in metrics and algorithms.

      1. 1

        I have a lot of thoughts about this topic.

  2. 1

    My advice: If the idea is right, do it now. Do it by yourself, do it with a co-founder, do it with contractors, but do it.

    You will learn so much along the way, you will answer many of your own questions. Great co-founders don't fall from the sky instantaneously. Even if you go that route, getting the idea fleshed out, doing some user testing and getting the backend structure right are all worthwhile steps in the journey.

    Do it now!

  3. 1

    Heyo man ! I think you dont choose a path, the path choose you :P

    Try to sell your product and build it (if you've sell it), on the road, you'll find cofounders if you want to take this direction.

    If you tell us more about your project, we can maybe tell your ways to build it without the needs of a developer ^^ and maybe this will attract people :)

    Dont hesitate to create your profile and project at, maybe someone will be interested by your idea :)

  4. 1

    I think you need to be critical about your personality and what your long term goal is. If you enjoy creating front end experiences, and you're incentivized to do so because you think there might be potential business opportunity, then it will be a labor of love; and you stand a good chance at getting very good at building front end experiences, through which a business opportunity may become available.

    Obviously to the contrary, if you bemoan the idea of working on the front-end, and you simply view it as a means to your ends, you probably won't ever become proficient enough to build the experiences that you originally had intended to. I, personally, sucked at front-end at first, and only can craft good experiences now because I've plugged so many man hours into honing my craft. Had I not enjoyed the ride, it would have been totally unbearable.

    And yes, you're probably looking at years to become ultra proficient. You can reduce that period by optimizing for your brain's ability to learn/retain information; eating good, sleeping well, exercising, you know the drill.

    Hope that helps and happy to answer any other questions you have.

  5. 0

    This comment was deleted 7 months ago.