Today I attended a webinar on How to find a technical founder/CTO. It was hosted by Nelly Yusupova, a CTO with over 18 years experience, leading companies to technical excellence. She is a startup tech advisor, outsourced CTO, and the creator of TechSpeak for Entrepreneurs. The stated goal of the webinar was to learn:

  • Where to find a tech cofounder or CTO
  • How to build your tech network so you have a better chance of finding a tech cofounder or CTO
  • How to evaluate if someone would make a great CTO or tech co-founder
  • The strategy for building your MVP without a technical co-founder or CTO so you can attract them to your company

Overall, the webinar was worthwhile. She did share useful perspectives on the stated topics. She also pitched her online master class. As she explained, the class covers ten modules: 

  • Module 1: Validate & Refine the Idea
  • Module 2: Build an Interactive Prototype
  • Module 3: Create Technical Specifications
  • Module 4: Pick The Right Tools & Technologies
  • Module 5: Determine the Price and Budget & Define Your MVP
  • Module 6: Hire a Tech Team
  • Module 7: Design Your MVP
  • Module 8: Project Manage The Coding of the MVP
  • Module 9: Hosting, Security, and Scaling Techniques
  • Module 10: Refine product based on data

It was great to walk through this and understand her suggested approach to building a team and a minimum viable product (MVP), even if you're not technical, and in the process "earn" a technical cofounder/CTO. As she completed the overview of her masterclass, I was happy to conclude that the journey of GreatAlbum so far has already reached Module 8 with our Private Beta Launch and is currently working on both Module 8 and 9 items as we stabilize and enhance the product, accept more users into the Private Beta and prepare for a Public Beta.

I'm there is still lots I could learn from masterclass, but for now I'm happy just to receive validation that we're on a good course. I'll continue to focus on optimizing the team, cultivating user engagement and pitching our vision to advisors and potential investors!

Pioneer App LogoAs I was reading through some blog posts by Daniel Gross, I stumbled up an app/community he helped build, called Pioneer. Pioneer is both an app and a community. It helps founders track progress, get advice, and get funded. In a nutshell, the way it works is members compete in the weekly Pioneer Tournament:

Step 1 - Join with your project

  • Register, fill out a profile about you as a person/founder
  • Fill in a detailed profile about your startup project or business

Step 2 - Compete in the Pioneer Tournament

Each week, there's a process that takes place

  • Sunday, submit a progress update on your project
  • Monday
    • Our update gets reviewed by 5-10 other Pioneer members who give feedback
    • At the same time, we review updates submitted by others and give our feedback; this is an interesting process, as we review updates in pairs and indicate whether "Player A" or "Player B" gave the best update that week 
  • Tuesday
    • Leaderboards are updated with latest rankings, based on feedback from players and "experts" (presumably Pioneer employees or advisors)
    • We each review feedback we received and rate the top three comments
    • At the same time, our feedback to other players is reviewed by them; If someone "stars" our feedback for them, we earn 25 points
    • We can earn up to 100 points each week, and retain up to 400 points over the last four weeks that contributes to our score that week
  • Thursday
    • A select group of Pioneer Players are invited to a zoom call, where we break out in small groups to discuss challenges we're working through

Step 3 - Reach the Global Top 50

  • The goal is to become on of the top 50 players in the Pioneer Tournament
  • Of course, most don't achieve that, so they complete to be one of the top players on the regional leaderboards: US East, US West, Americas (Non-US), Europe, Africa, Asia & Oceania

Step 4 - Get selected by an expert to become a Pioneer

  • For Pioneers who are recognized as one of the top players, they occasionally receive the Pioneer Offer. For a 1% of your company, you receive access to a network of elite founders. a 2-month remote startup accelerator program, and a whole bunch of other perks

I've documented all my submissions so far, along with top feedback comments at GreatAlbum Involvement in Pioneer Community