Note: This chapter initially published in 2012 and republished in 2023 is the 5th in a series of course on Management 2.0, the summary of which can be found here.
The question raised, which has already bothered a good number of web entrepreneurs, is the following:
Do you have to be a programming expert to launch your start-up? Or can we completely delegate the technical part to developers?
Many budding entrepreneurs do not come from engineering schools or have not had the opportunity to learn programming, design or outsourcing as a self-taught person. They can be very good salespeople, competent managers, visionaries or talented strategists, but still have no knowledge of programming.
Therefore, to meet technical needs, several solutions are available to them, including subcontracting, hiring web developers and graphic designers, or even research of associates programmers or graphic designers. Indeed, it is no longer a secret for anyone, in today's digital economy, code is king.
In the new Internet economy, code is king.
However, if programming skills are not essential for an entrepreneur if he is well supported, the fact remains that knowledge of technical bases, PHP, Python, CSS or outsourcing constitutes a key asset for a business manager. Indeed, mastering a few basics in terms of web development, at least a few basics, has several advantages, including:
– Better mastering technical issues, knowing their limits and prospects for development.
– Speak the same language as engineers, which allows us to write more understandable deliverables for them. This reduces misunderstandings.
– Implement small modules yourself without having to take time from engineers for minor work. Example: create a showcase site, customize widgets, manage a WordPress blog, open an e-commerce store, etc.
– Imagine new modules, evaluate costs, constraints, and technical feasibility.
It is not a question of becoming an expert in programming, although nothing prevents you from doing so, but of mastering the basics, the issues, in order to carry out your business successfully, to understand developers, to be understood by them, and above all to be respected by the technical teams, who will tend to follow a leader who knows the technical issues than a manager who only knows the commercial and managerial part.
This logic is applicable to any other domain. Let's take the hotel industry for example, and imagine that you want to invest in a restaurant. Understanding the issues related to financing, knowing how to read a balance sheet, knowing the rules of social or company law, are all assets that will make you a competent businessman. But having a strong interest in gastronomy, knowing how to cook and dose a particular dish so that it fits the menu that you wish to offer to customers, without necessarily being a starred chef, will first allow you to better design your strategy and your product offering, and also to build greater credibility in the eyes of your employees and your customers. For the web, it's the same principle!
Conclusion: learning to code will make you a better entrepreneur, even if you don't aim to become an expert!
So if you have some free time, don't hesitate to give it a try, it won't be wasted time, and it will even allow you to exercise your brain 😉