My hunch when I moved here three weeks ago from Hawaii is now confirmed: The tech scene in the Bay Area is all about—well, tech.
This thriving, buzzing industry is built around a culture of code, of devising niche solutions to niche problems. At its center lie the software engineer, who reigns as queen bee in the hives of the tech giants and startups of Silicon Valley and San Francisco.
So what about the rest of us?
What about the marketers, the designers, the writers and editors, the community managers and publishers of content? Do we get a fair shake at shaping the future in a world gone tech?
I’d like to think so. The question is—how?
Leverage Your Non-Tech Talents to Make Things Better
I’ve been networking like crazy since I got here. The buzz in the air is that if you’re a software engineer, you’re set. You never have to look for work (they’ll come to you), you’ll get paid better than everyone else and you’ll fit snugly into the culture of any tech company.
For example, Hollrback seems like a great idea in theory: a personal QR code that people scan with their smart phone to download your data. It’s like a contextually-savvy Rolodex for business networking.
Awesome. But who’s going to use it besides the nerdiest of nerds? Aren’t QR codes on their way out? How will this make money?
The point is: you just can’t build it and they will come. You need others to help you sell it, to demonstrate its value and help make it better through user engagement.
Don’t Be Made to Feel Inferior
Non-technical founders of startups can do three things: Partner with a coder and create things, build a community around a niche, or they can do both.
Of course to succeed, you have to do both. The goal is not be a coveted software engineer, but rather to possess an unwavering obsession on a quality product that solves a particular problem. Anyone has the potential to do that.
If you are holistic enough to appreciate the value of a good coder, design, designer, marketer and manager—and you can bring people together on your great idea—there’s no reason why you can’t create a successful startup.
Photo by naus3a01.