Because of my job, I meet a lot of people who are absolutely enamored by the startup world. Or rather, the idea of it.
It’s surprising how many of these people are smart, ambitious, and creative — but also a little lost. When you ask them what they want to do day-to-day, I get so many vague, impossible to delegate responses like this:
“Well I want to be a hybrid biz dev/product/partnerships person, just really in the middle of lots of good ideas, getting exposure and stuff.”
Non-technical folks, enough of this. There are tons of amazing, non-technical roles that, with a little practice, you’d rock at. To stop this trend, I’ve decided to break down the real jobs you can do — and love! — without writing code.
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” ― Mother Teresa
Sometimes, a startup has a bit of momentum and intentionally — or even accidentally! — gathers a community around it. This is your window of opportunity.
Tips: Know the product inside and out, read the user’s tweets, and nail the voice off the bat. Also, retweet their site, you know?☺
Details create the big picture. — Sanford I. Weill
Sometimes a startup is moving fast, to more than a few users, and they really don’t want to ship buggy code. This is your window of opportunity.
Tips: Notice all of the details. All. Of. Them. Write them all down. Notice when something is a little weird, and then explore it like a detective until you know exactly when and why it happens. Then tell that company about it.
Only hire people who are either going to write code or go out and get users, because those are the only things you need at first. — Paul Graham
Sometimes a product is getting some traction, and the startup wants to pour gasoline on the flame. This is your window of opportunity.
Tips: Be super analytical, like an artist with numbers, spreadsheets and stats. Creative, but process oriented; out of the box, but methodical. Think in campaigns, and pitch them well.
“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” (Winston Churchill)
Sometimes a product is getting a lot of traction, and the startup realizes they should probably figure out what’s actually working. This is your window of opportunity.
Tips: Practice your spreadsheet jockeying, but think like a user.? And remember: details are everything, and the founders probably thought of your ideas already.
“Content is king.” — Bill Gates
Sometimes startups realize they need killer stuff to tweet. Like, a lot of it. This is your window of opportunity.
Tips: Just start creating good content on a topic you care about. If you’ve got the editorial approach and diligence that matches that company’s vibe, they’ll know just by looking at it. Also, be good with timeliness and calendars.
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” — Thomas Edison
Sometimes a startup realizes they should be shaking double, or triple the amount of hands every day. And they need someone, like, yesterday. This is your window of opportunity.
Tips: Be out there already. Make a spreadsheet of the deals you’ll go after, and explain why. Be able to show you’re organized, but also confident.
Non-engineering roles in the tech world are a funny thing, because they are irrelevant to the core goal — building great technology — until they’re not. Luckily for you, there are opportunities to strike, just be sly and genius as you do it.