2015 / 12 May

Looking for a CTO? Here’s how to get one on board!

NGYCMy current mission as a .NET Architect is ending and so I have updated my LinkedIn profile and told a few friends about it. For some reason (which I guess is related), I have been hearing the following a few times lately:

“Hi I’m [fill name here] and I have this great startup idea! [Here comes the 1 to 15 minutes pitch]. I am looking for a CTO/Developer (pick one) and I have no money; can you help me?”

How many times have you heard this one?

When I hear that, I just want to run in the other direction! Why?

Well whatever the pitch is, here is what is going on in my brain:

“I have a great startup idea”

Ok, so you have the idea? If it is that great, why doesn’t it exist already? What is your plan to make that idea of your become a profitable company? Why are you the good person to develop this idea?

“I am looking for a CTO/Developer”

Oh, so you mean you have no developers in your network? Am I the only one? You didn’t manage to convince any other tech guy to jump on board with you? What technology are you planning to use?

“I have no money”

What a surprise! Are you expecting anyone to work with you for free?

“Can you help me?”

Sure, what’s in for me (since you have no money)? How are you expecting me to help you?

So how could you convince a CTO to get on board?

The first and most effective way would be “I’m a billionaire, come and work on my next big thing with my rock star team”. Let’s face it, unless you’re Elon Musk, there aren’t so many chances you’ll pull that one (btw: if you’re reading this, we need to talk Elon!).

The only other way to convince a tech guy to join you is to get him excited about your project. To do so, here are some tips:

  • Work in an industry he already likes/would like to work in… (ok, this one is tough)
  • Explain why your industry is awesome and how you can disrupt it. Unless you’re in a really boring industry, this will show your passion. Tech guys are passionate about their work, if you’re passionate about yours, it might help!
  • Prove you’ve done your homework: make your pitch sharp, show you have talked to prospects, to investors…
  • Prove you’re the right guy to work on your startup (don’t oversell yourself)
  • Show him you value his work, and knowledge, ask him to be your co-founder

Ok, here is the perfect pitch to get me on board:

“Hi, I’m [fill name here]. As you are a guru in [fill tech area here] and I’m a guru in [fill your business expertise here], we should join forces to work on [fill idea here] and disrupt the [fill industry here]. I’m starting the company now, I have [number] prospects waiting to use our product. I have investors lined up and I would like YOU to be my co-founder.”
Of course, I’ll dig into what you have just told be, but this will get me really excited 😉

Pitching to investors is important, but if you’re planning to launch a tech product without a tech guy on board, pitching to a tech guy is equally important (unless you have tons of cash)! Beware, the pitch to an investor and to a tech guy are 2 different exercises! Be prepared for both!

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