Technical Talent & Entrepreneurial Spirit

In technology, people talk a lot about how we need more programmers in order to have more innovative companies, and more innovation in general. When I started GuildQuality, it never occurred to me that I needed to be a programmer. I knew I needed to work with programmers, but I never entertained the notion that I needed to be one. Up to that point, I’d made my career in construction and real estate – professions where every player contributed their part, and no one was particularly more valued or critical than another.

And now, more than a decade after launching a SaaS business, I still think the software industry’s similarities to the building industry are greater than its differences. Great neighborhoods are no more built by carpenters than they are by masons. And great software companies are the same way.

Every single day, my team gives me a reminder of their awesomeness. I get sales and marketing reminders; I get operations reminders; I get design reminders; I get service reminders; I get reminders of empathy and emotional intelligence; and yes, I also get brilliant programming reminders. I get these reminders every day from thousands of wonderful acts by all sorts of great people. Together, in concert, the business works. If the business tries to stand on a single leg, it collapses.

Today, the startup rate and the rate of self-employment are at all time lows. That’s a mentality issue, not a skills issue. Simply focusing on creating more programmers isn’t going to change that. To see a real change, we’ll need to cultivate in our children an adventurous spirit, a respect for those who blaze their own trails, and a humble appreciation for the beautiful diversity and value of every artisans’ skill.