I have seen a lot of technical founders become capable CEOs and great leaders.
But I have never seen a savvy business/sales founder develop into a great coder and engineer.
This is mostly because leadership, management, and the CEO’s job are practical sports.
These skills and jobs are figureoutable.
You can learn to lead a company or manage a team as you go, a little at a time.
You can suck at it at first and get better when you work at it.
It would be much harder for a business leader to learn the deep engineering knowledge and software development skills on the fly.
It just wouldn’t be a great use of time for a capable CEO who could hire capable engineers.
Look at the many technical CEOs in the software business that figured out how to run their businesses as they grew.
- Bill Gates. Coder and architect, entrepreneur and CEO
- Mark Zuckerberg – initial coder and CEO
- Larry Page and Sergei Brin – engineers and CEO leaders
- Elon Musk – engineer first, CEO next
This is different from being very technical, like Steve Jobs. He didn’t code the software or design the hardware himself. But he really understood it deeply.
Being both super-technical and a super-CEO is a superpower.
Management, leadership, and sales can be learned by anyone with enough effort and help.
Technical founders can learn how to lead a company, manage people, and sell.
Non-technical founders aren’t “natural” at these skills either. They may like the people stuff more than most engineers, but they learned these skills on the fly too.
What is your experience with technical founders learning to be capable leaders and CEOs who can sell?