I'm a developer turned CTO of 200-people startup studio. It took me 10 years.
I’ve interviewed 100+ engineers and worked closely with 30+ startups.
Founders often ask me how do they find the right CTO / cofounder.
Here's what I recommend tothem.
Use this checklist to hire a badass tech cofounder for your early-stage startup:
Don't discuss this front-end/back-end/DevOps tech nonsense.
Tech is a commodity on the early-stage.
Hire a resourceful CTO who can build alone fast.
They should be obsessed with product and growth, not just tech.
✅ Worked in an early-stage startup or startup studio
Do not hire enterprise executives for your startup.
They have a different mindset.
They need teams, budgets, weird rituals.
They're use to moving slow and avoiding breaking things.
You need to move fast and break things.
✅ Speaks simple language
Not every engineer speak nonsense that's hard to understand.
Your cofounder should speak simple language and explain what’s going on.
Those who write well also think well.
Don’t let the tech to be a blackbox for you.
✅ Meets short deadlines
You should be impressed by the speed of building.
You should see changes released daily to retain your first users.
Speed of execution is very important for your startup, so don’t let tech to be a blocker.
✅ Runs side projects
Partner with an "indie-hacker" who already runs their own project. You'll get a cofounder with skin in the game.
Most of indie-hackers are coders. You’ll build a better product with a person who figured out how to attract users and payments.
✅ Can-Do Attitude
Search for the person who believes that everything is possible.
Don’t rely on the years of experience.
Hire passionate young engineers who build their own stuff. Give them a try and grow together.
You can train skill quickly. But you don't change mindset.
It's all trial and error. Talk to more tech people and build more projects with them.