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GOLD! Learning to Program is STUPID! (or SMART?!)

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Gunnar

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SOME of the books recommended to me by a pro copywriter.

However if you want to accelerate you'll need to pay for a mentor

"Scientific Advertising" Claude Hopkins

"Tested Advertising" Caples (4th edition or earlier only)

"How I Raised Myself from a Failure to Success in Selling" Betger

"How to Write a Good Advertisement" Schwab.

"How to Write Sales Letters That Sell" Drayton Bird

"The Robert Collier Letter Book" - by Robert Collier

"Tested Advertising Methods" -by John Caples

"The Lazy Man's Way to Riches" - by Joe Karbo

"Break-Through Advertising" - by Eugene M. Schwartz

"Advertising Secrets of The Written Word" by Joe Sugarman

"Making Ads Pay" by John Caples

Web Copy That Sells by Maria Veloso

The Architecture of Persuasion by Michael Masterson

Influence The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini

The Adweek Copywriting Handbook by Joe Sugarman

"The Elements of Copywriting" by Gary Blake and Robert Bly

"The Ultimate Sales Letter" by Dan Kennedy

Cashvertising by Drew Eric Whitman

"Write to sell " it is written by Andy Maslen

"Influencing Human Behaviour" by H.A.

"Tested Sentences That Sell" by Elmer Wheeler

"Unlimited Selling Power" by Moine and Lloyd.

Writing for Emotional Impact by Karl Iglesias

Bob Bly's "The Copywriter's Handbook"

How To Make Your Advertising Make Money - John Caples

The Copywriters Handbook - Bob Bly

The Adweek Copywriting Handbook - Joseph Sugarman

Sales Letters That Sizzle - Herschell Gordon Lewis

Cash Copy - Jeffrey Lant

Magic Words That Bring You Riches - Ted Nicholas

Ogilvy On Advertising

Method Marketing by Denny Hatch.

My First 50 Years in Advertising by Maxwell Sackheim.

The Greatest Direct Mail Sales Letters of all Time " by Richard Hodgson.

How To Write Advertising That Sells by Clyde Bedell

Ads That Sell by Bob Bly

Advertising Headlines That Make You Rich-- David Garfinkle

Magic Words-- Ted Nicholas

Robert Collier Letter Book-- Robert Collier

My Life In Advertising -- Claude Hopkins

Bird - Commonsense

The First Hundred Million by E. Haldeman-Julius

David Ogilvy's "Blood, Brains and Beer"

"Confessions of an advertising man"

"Million Dollar Mailings" by Denison Hatch

"The Wizard of Ads" trilogy by Roy H. Williams

Making Ads Pay by John Caples

Method Marketing - Denison Hatch

"How to Write Sales Letters that Sell" by Drayton Bird.

Hypnotic Writing -- Joe Vitale

"The Lazy Man's Way to Riches" - by Joe Karbo

Denny Hatch's Million Dollar Mailings
amazing list and thank you. If you were to read only 5 of these, which ones would they be? Like the absolute highest yield?
 

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PapaGang

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I've posted on this back a few years ago, and since then, I have been working on becoming a fantastic software engineer for the past few years. (Software Engineering has been a long-time passion of mine, so this wasn't necessarily a money making play.) . I was also working on a distinctly non-technical company at the same time.

These experiences have refined my perspective on this question substantially. I can boil it down to key points/lessons that I find to be true:

If you're starting a tech company (where the value prop is a custom application of technology; e.g. Heroku or MyFitnessPal):
  1. Using technology to solve a problem is hard. It often takes longer than even the best engineers can estimate, and estimates in software are notoriously inaccurate and useless as Allen Holub explains in this video.
  2. If you intend for technology to be the cornerstone of your business from the outset, you should be (or have partnered with) a technical cofounder.
  3. If you are starting a tech company, and are not technical, and don't have a trusted technical co-founder, your probability of success is less than 1%. The engineers/dev shops you hire will waste your time and money (intentionally or unintentionally), and their time is not cheap, even when using overseas talent. You might get really lucky and find a great contractor, but the chances are very low.
  4. If you're going from 0 to 1, learning to code for this business is NECESSARY unless you have deep pockets and/or an incredible technology partner on your team right out of the gate. (Even with deep pockets, you will want to get immersed in code, unless you don't mind blowing through F*cktons of cash)
  5. If technology/engineering is not your strength and never will be, you need to find someone who lives and breathes engineering to be an integral part of your executive team IMMEDIATELY, even if you do learn to code.

If you're starting a company that may be able to use tech to streamline or take it to the next level in the future (e.g. StitchFix):

  1. Most of the real work that needs to get done can be done by people to start, with shitty spreadsheets.
  2. Get as far as you can without technology, but keep an eye open for that technical co-founder with the experience or wherewith-all to streamline business processes with technology.
  3. Know your limitations, and know when you shift away from manpower into computing power. This is the trickiest bit for businesses like these.
  4. You need to find a partner to work on this with you, because the business will die without a tech partner (i.e. CTO) who is competent that you can trust.
  5. Learning to code for this business is questionable. If you are drawn to it and want to understand the entire vertical landscape of your business, you should immerse yourself in programming fully; but it's probably not necessary...especially if you got to the point where you could afford engineering talent without knowing code yourself (since your value prop is not technology).
If you're starting a company that will use some technology, but won't be innovating in tech (e.g. physical product sales on Amazon):
  1. Your problems aren't in technology and coding. Your problems lie elsewhere (funding POs, inventory management, customs, dealing with suppliers, marketing, regulator burdens, etc.)
  2. Use cheap off the shelf solutions for your website and ecommerce software (BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Shopify, SquareSpace, Wordpress, etc.)
  3. Use the tools of the off the shelf software if you want to focus on SEO
  4. Learning to code to make your business website is stupid in this case. Hire someone else to manage your relatively simple website.
@csalvato This is the most accurate assessment I have read. Super valuable. Thank you.
 

TreyAllDay

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100% agreement!

I highly recommend all people who want to start a tech company to read this book:


It goes into how to create a group of people that help you develop the product and get the first set of referral customers. It is an invaluable book to help understand the role of product in a tech company, and how that plays with engineering.

Product is a very important discipline in a tech company, and most people miss it entirely. I sure as hell know I did!



I agree 100%. I felt the same way.

When I got a job managing engineers, I learned a ton about how to manage developers that I've hired. If you really want to lead a software company, it's going to be so valuable that you have directly managed engineers before or a technical cofounder has.

Now, I know I can hire a team of high quality engineers and lead them to success. In fact, that's exactly what I'm doing right now! :rofl:

The guy who likes to sit and code all day is not going to be able to cut it. You need to love and understand the people part of it.
Thank you for the book recommendation! I'll have to check it out
 

Black_Dragon43

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Funnily enough, this was one of the first threads I read on the forum after I finished TMFL back many years ago. It's one of the threads that encouraged me very much to get started with marketing/copywriting.

So I guess it may be valuable to get my POV given that I actually listened to the OP and followed through. I ended up building quite a successful direct response agency from scratch, so I'd say I've done quite well.

In the end, this question comes back to the product vs sales aspect of business. If your motto is "build a great product and they will come" then you are a "product" person. You believe the difference between success and failure in business is largely due to the product.

On the other hand, if you believe that marketing & sales will make the difference, and that you can succeed even with an inferior product so long as you market it better, then you are a "sales" person.

(Now obviously the ideal is to go for best product/best sales) - I'm just going to extremes to illustrate the difference.

I can't believe the over-focus that this forum *still* has on copywriting. Copywriting is not making a great product...
Sure, copywriting is not making a great product but people don't buy a product, they buy an experience. Copywriting can help create the experience for them, first of all by pre-framing the product and its use before they even get started with it. In this way, an inferior product can end up being perceived as better - remember, it's perceived value that people care about.

And I guess the emphasis on copywriting/marketing on the forum is because it's a much faster route to making money than learning to code. I am decent when it comes to coding, and have even built an application by myself that I ended up selling (a glass cutting optimization algo). So I'm not saying this just because I have no coding experience.

I mean, look at it this way - learning to code will certainly give you a skillset to address a whole host of problems that you wouldn't otherwise be able to address. It will teach you to think logically and systematically. It will help you develop a whole host of other skills that will come in very useful in any business you start.

But if you want to get started as an entrepreneur, that's a very convoluted way to do it. Why not find an already existing great product and become a reseller or affiliate for it? That way, you can start earning right away. No time spent building something that the market may not even want. Just straight to business, with a product that you already know sells well.

I mean, if you're passionate about coding, by all means go for it, but if you just want to be an entrepreneur, it's much easier to get started by selling something... anything. If you absolutely want to be a tech entrepreneur, or you're passionate about making a big difference, then yeah, sales skills alone won't be enough. You will need to have product knowledge, whether that is programming (for software), or otherwise (for other kinds of products).
 

paintballtao

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Bill Gates bought the software from Gary Kildall that helps to kick start Microsoft.
Bill got where he is today by his programming skills and business sense.

On the other hand, Steve Jobs who does not code have a co-founder called Steve Wozniak who loves the technical aspect of it (writing the software) but does not have much business sense.

So do we want to be Bill, Jobs, or Wozniak?
 

strick

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One small addition to my post above: Learning to program and getting damned good at it has very high rewards right now, even if you're not an entrepreneur.

All the other skills of business are generally much lower paid as jobs, in the event things don't all click into place for you (which is a very common story).

For example, marketing professionals make 30-80k or so.
Salespeople make anywhere from 10-50k base (more like 30-40k) and will have to hustle for commissions.
Warehouse managers make something like 40-60k.

Most of the above roles require you to work in a physical location.

If you're an entry level software engineer, you're at 80k to start. With 3-5 years experience and an entrepreneurial spirit, you can be at $150k-$200k base salary. Much of this industry is going remote, so you can work from anywhere on your own schedule. I've had multiple people on my team work from Southeast Asia and Central/South America at various points.

If you want to open yourself up to lucrative business opportunities AND lucrative safety nets (jobs) with high pay and lots of flexibility, being great at code in 2019 is very valuable and attractive.
I second this. I'm a remote software engineer. I make double what most people make working a typical job and I have the flexibility to do it from anywhere I want. I also don't have any management responsibilities.

My technical skills give me options. I can build products without spending a lot my capital and I have something great to fallback on if things don't work out. I think it keeps me in the game and allows me to take more chances without ruining myself financially. I get to experiment more and take more risks. You only have to be right once.

Learning to code was one of the best decisions I've made, I have no regrets. Is it fun all of the time and something I'm "passionate" about? Hell no! Most of the time I'm struggling with a hard problem and pulling my hair out! But it has improved my life, opened up new opportunities, given me some financial stability, and there are many moments where I do find the work interesting and satisfying.
 

Clueless Newbie

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I think learning how to code or not depends on the business you want to launch.

If you’re planning on launching a silicon valley type of software business, then you better know how to code.

Here is why outsourcing won’t work for a start up:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9iAD3GZyfM


I think writing blank statements like “learning how to code is stupid” is pretty stupid. Clearly there are situations when coding is a MUST for success.
Clearly there are situations when coding is NOT necessary for success.
Clearly there are situations when you can get AWAY with outsourcing tech.

Either way, I think the most important skill is to be able to sell your product.
 

MaciekWado

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If you’re planning on launching a silicon valley type of software business, then you better know how to code.
Here is why outsourcing won’t work for a start up
Well it's all depends what exactly you want to create.
If you have 10plus years of experience in coding I mean really good experience great. Code yourself. But, I saw many who think they can code and what a little monster they created that I would say if they outsource this will have far more superior product. Like previously someone stated. Coding is only one from many activities in creating a product.
Video is from 2011. Let be honest it was a lot easier developing app then.
 

csalvato

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Video is from 2011. Let be honest it was a lot easier developing app then.
How so? There's so many frameworks today that have sane defaults that abstract away the low level stuff (like CSRF tokens, XSS attack vulnerabilities, DB SQL queries, DOM manipulation, etc.). It's never been easier to develop than today.
 

tylerwilkinson

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I learn to code First and foremost because it increases my slow lane value and my fastlane applicable values. Of lesser consequence, I like BUILDING things, so I do enjoy the hands on approach.
I ask myself when taking risks: “where can I fail to” as well as the obvious “what reward can I get”. And yes, almost all action carries some risk. But inaction carries only risk and the illusion of security.
I work as an auto mechanic. I am employed, but have also been self employed. The skills learned carry value in many potential directions. I could just be a mechanic for someone else. I could do side work for extra income. I could teach, sell parts, own my own shop, own many shops. I could consult other mechanics and garages about how they could become BETTER. Outside of that immediate trade, I have knowledge of service writing,small business management, customer service. All small things that carry value.
My point is, coding isn’t just about me wanting a better slow lane income. It is About gaining value in a sector and learning what is valuable. Not just to my employer but to the consumer. I have little business telling a doctor what type of supplies he needs or how to more efficiently use the resources available to him to maximize hospital profit. But I do know how to tell a garage owner a thing or two to reduce waste and improve profits.
 

MaciekWado

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I second this. I'm a remote software engineer. I make double what most people make working a typical job and I have the flexibility to do it from anywhere I want. I also don't have any management responsibilities.

My technical skills give me options. I can build products without spending a lot my capital and I have something great to fallback on if things don't work out. I think it keeps me in the game and allows me to take more chances without ruining myself financially. I get to experiment more and take more risks. You only have to be right once.

Learning to code was one of the best decisions I've made, I have no regrets. Is it fun all of the time and something I'm "passionate" about? Hell no! Most of the time I'm struggling with a hard problem and pulling my hair out! But it has improved my life, opened up new opportunities, given me some financial stability, and there are many moments where I do find the work interesting and satisfying.
True. But there are also other professions which pay the same or higher.
Many also tend to forget about your skills which already you have either you born or learned them. I was a good programmer, above average. But I wasn't liked it so much.
Yet, I excel in logistic Almost double my income after 3 years of experience in logistic compared to 7years in Sof-Dev.
I am pro outsourcing. Maybe because I'm leaving in a country where many outsource to us coding(Poland Cracov-so called Dragon Valley). You have 70% chance that the person you currently meet here is Java Hardcore coder.


Don't get me wrong. If someone likes it great. But if someone is a complete novice in programming he need prepare himself to years of learning to create average product, then learn about the field in which he wants to create a product, then marketing of this product. It is long road, 10+ years to achieve it.

I will be also careful about safety. There as to much marketing about programming. It is booming and cool to be a programmer. Many try it. Some already call it a bubble.
Same as all professions it will face the same cycles. Now it is in the top and slowly or rapidly transform into a commodity, when? no one exactly knows, but juniors already start facing this. When I was started they literally take everyone, you create simple site, dont mention if you were able create crud. Right now? Well, it is not so easy, juniors have really harder times to land job, and requirements are increasing every day, highly competitive market, price of outsourcing dropped compared to previous year due to increased number of programmers. Yes there is shortage of programmers, but expert programmers with years of expierience.

If I need give some advice from my experience, I would say the same as many here, learn just little bit to have basic knowledge what it is(3 months is more than enough) If you like it, then continue. If not develop your skills in something you are interested and you will earn more than being mediocre programmer, and you will be able to afford to outsource to create MVP or even better right now RAT, and either decide to outsource whole or do it with in house team.

There are many possibilities but not one universal for some will work learning for other outsourcing, or teaming with CTO, or just creating something outside IT/Tech earn money and then tranform or start another IT company.
 

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MaciekWado

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How so? There's so many frameworks today that have sane defaults that abstract away the low level stuff (like CSRF tokens, XSS attack vulnerabilities, DB SQL queries, DOM manipulation, etc.). It's never been easier to develop than today.
In the sense that Apps were far more simple and people tolerate more errors than today.
It's true what you say, but you need to learn it and really understand the concept behind them. Many people because of that have false beliefs they are good.
Look for example how efficiency is wasted because we have the horsepower.
You can use easier tolls but you still need to understand a lot more
Companies saw the same. Look for example on requirements for juniors then and now.

So yes programming per se is easier(I want to remind here barrier of entry) but because of that is easier it is starting to be harder.
 

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How so? There's so many frameworks today that have sane defaults that abstract away the low level stuff (like CSRF tokens, XSS attack vulnerabilities, DB SQL queries, DOM manipulation, etc.). It's never been easier to develop than today.
I agree and,
in some cases, with the help of the cloud, one developer could deliver what it took a whole IT department in 2011. For example, AWS makes it super easy to deploy you app across many regions and be fault tolerant and handle a shitload of traffic and still be lightening fast.

On top of that, all the infra (machines, load balances ect) behind your app is written in code, so you don't need network administrators and you don't need to install Windows or Linux. All this is done for you.
 

Clueless Newbie

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Some already call it a bubble.
Same as all professions it will face the same cycles. Now it is in the top and slowly or rapidly transform into a commodity, when? no one exactly knows, but juniors already start facing this. When I was started they literally take everyone, you create simple site, dont mention if you were able create crud. Right now? Well, it is not so easy, juniors have really harder times to land job, and requirements are increasing every day, highly competitive market, price of outsourcing dropped compared to previous year due to increased number of programmers. Yes there is shortage of programmers, but expert programmers with years of expierience.
I don’t think programming is a bubble but it seems like programming salaries in the US are in a bubble because of the stock market (which I think is in a bubble).

You can literally have 6-12 years of experience and make $300,000 - $600,000 at some tech companies. Basically half or more than half of your compensation comes from stock.

Compensation at facebook for different levels:
Facebook E5 Compensation | Levels.fyi
Facebook E6 Compensation | Levels.fyi

I’m not sure if tech can ever become a commodity in our life time.
I could see certain areas in tech being a commodity. For example making a basic website or iphone app.
 

SarahO

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I think I have a decent idea for an app. I am hesitant to put out the money to have it created for me, but at the same time, time is already scarce, so that's a risk as well.
 

MaciekWado

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I don’t think programming is a bubble but it seems like programming salaries in the US are in a bubble because of the stock market (which I think is in a bubble).





You can literally have 6-12 years of experience and make $300,000 - $600,000 at some tech companies. Basically half or more than half of your compensation comes from stock.





Compensation at facebook for different levels:


Facebook E5 Compensation | Levels.fyi


Facebook E6 Compensation | Levels.fyi





I’m not sure if tech can ever become a commodity in our life time.


I could see certain areas in tech being a commodity. For example making a basic website or iphone app.

Well by definition we can describe it as some form of bubble.


It was fortunate for people to learn it earlier, and because of high progress in tech it was a shortage of programmers, but like you and csalvato stated barrier of entry is smaller than before. Expectation increased.


Why there is so push for coding early in school, why so many tech companies lobbing? demand and supply.





"You can literally have 6-12 years of experience and make $300,000 - $600,000 at some tech companies." I hear ya, but it is a little bit cherry-picking, and in some, you can earn no more than 60.000 or even 30.000 . Also isn't it be right now get so many shares to get it from stocks?

In some companies, you can also earn more than in others in many professions. Don't get me wrong I don't demonize programming. But I think there is to much lobbying on it. That can cause oversaturation(it already starts in lower lvl like juniors). Look at FB for basic INTERNSHIP.





"


Mininum Qualifications:






  • 1 or more years of experience with perl, java, php, python, or c++
  • Must be currently enrolled in a full-time, degree-seeking program and in the process of obtaining a Bachelors or Masters degree in Computer Science or a related field

"


In such companies willing to pay you a high salary a college degree is a must.


Many companies start again required degree, few years ago they take everyone who was willing to learn even if he didn't know anything above HTML/CSS.





Many people are ignoring the fact that people who earn this money are early adopters experts they were in good time(they code when it was boring, not cool) when it was a shortage and right now they have experience and knowledge. I completely agree that an expert got paid good money. Because still is a shortage, but these people who are now becoming juniors are gaining this experience and there are more them now than before. As technology mature and start being easiest less and less will be needed programmers than now.


You nailed it perfectly "in some cases, with the help of the cloud, one developer could deliver what it took a whole IT department in 2011 " and things getting improve most task also will DevOps take .


"I’m not sure if tech can ever become a commodity in our lifetime. " virtually every single person in the past profession said the same words.


"I could see certain areas in tech being a commodity. For example, making a basic website or iPhone app. " yes, very specialize people will get money, but it isn't true in any area?


My University created building only for CS students so much them there is right now with classes.



In my old high school, there is 6 IT profile calls in years and 6 class
together for all rest profiles.
The more frequent courses online are programming courses.
It is a gold rush, and in a gold rush period money earns
shovel sellers.

The programming profession is not different from others, will eventually face the same fate as all.

Also I just notice in Europe trend that many start waking up. Like for example Romania and Bulgaria more and more, developers are created there.
What I mean, many are entering this game in nxt 5/10 years it will be red ocean, now we just start seeing red stains and pinkish color.

My generation hear: you want earn good money? Become doctor, lawyer, dentist, banke etc. You have choice, right now there is one answer become coder it is crazy.

One more time I don't wanna demonize codding but I think early adopters boat already sail away. For people who really like I mean like it, want do it even if they would not getting paid great, there will be room for them.
For people who want to make money and force themselves to learn or create app? how they differentiate from others where will be great competition?
Let say you want create app for medical purpose good highly profitable business. Yeap.
But you then need extensive coding knowledge to do it alone and also from a medical background, Of course, I don't even mention basic requirements like selling/marketing/hr skills.

I think in a few years(probably in next-generation) some programming skills will be required as computer skills right now, but children are currently learning to programme in primary schools. For example to creating scripts in work. Marketers already use it in google ads.

If someone starting from zero if he is in his teens then learn coding if you like in 30 years you will be good. But if someone is already in other area and has expertise, it doesn't make much sense to waste 10 years to learn by doing itself(of course some knowledge is beneficial to learn some) He can achieve success with the same effort in the area he already has some knowledge. If someone is a good programmer with years of experience he has the chance.
But if you like also have great safe job look at boring difficult professions
where is less competition.
 
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BusinessBen

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Just saying i would rather learn programming. I am learning it now at 21.
I learned copywriting at age 16 and it was a waste of time. I would rather pay a copy writer to write an ad then edit it to my liking instead of paying a coder to write an app.
 

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Just saying i would rather learn programming. I am learning it now at 21.
I learned copywriting at age 16 and it was a waste of time. I would rather pay a copy writer to write an ad then edit it to my liking instead of paying a coder to write an app.
If you failed as a copywriter, why do you think that you'll succeed as a programmer?

As MJ likes to say, how you do one thing is how you do all things.

The reasons why you failed as a copywriter likely has nothing to do with how you write copy, and more to do with how you do marketing and sales.

Similarly, if you succeed at programming, that will not be governed by how you program, but how you do sales and marketing.

I'm assuming you're aiming to be a freelancer or entrepreneur, and not just get a job.
 

csalvato

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Similarly, if you succeed at programming, that will not be governed by how you program, but how you do sales and marketing.
As someone who has done both, I don't think this is true. In my experience, it's more like:

"Similarly, if you succeed at programming, that will not be governed by how you program, but how well you understand how your work translates into business success."
 

Black_Dragon43

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"Similarly, if you succeed at programming, that will not be governed by how you program, but how well you understand how your work translates into business success."
Imo, "how well you understand how your work translates into business success" is what you use to sell your services. In the end it still comes down to being able to get sales.
 

csalvato

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Imo, "how well you understand how your work translates into business success" is what you use to sell your services. In the end it still comes down to being able to get sales.
That's not true. A top-notch developer typically only needs to make one sale every several years. Even then, people in the higher tiers of any sort of production-based role aren't ever really selling; they are either:

1. Being pursued and simply accepting/rejecting offers
2. Pursuing a role where, in most cases, they are being more harshly assessed on hard skills (not soft skills). Soft skills aren't completely valueless, but they are icing on the cake. You can be completely anti-social and get a job in the 100-200k+ range as a developer, or landing a spot on a founding team as a technical co-founder.

Once in an organization (whether as a co-founder CTO or as an employee), sales is a non-existent part of the job. Even a founding engineer who has to sell once in a while quickly delegates out sales because it's not their strength.

If you are the kind of person who can marry up sales + engineering, you are definitely a force to be reckoned with. But you can get very far as an engineer (in a job, as a founder, and otherwise), while not having any idea how to sell anything.
 

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Black_Dragon43

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That's not true. A top-notch developer typically only needs to make one sale every several years. Even then, people in the higher tiers of any sort of production-based role aren't ever really selling; they are either:

1. Being pursued and simply accepting/rejecting offers
2. Pursuing a role where, in most cases, they are being more harshly assessed on hard skills (not soft skills). Soft skills aren't completely valueless, but they are icing on the cake. You can be completely anti-social and get a job in the 100-200k+ range as a developer, or landing a spot on a founding team as a technical co-founder.

Once in an organization (whether as a co-founder CTO or as an employee), sales is a non-existent part of the job. Even a founding engineer who has to sell once in a while quickly delegates out sales because it's not their strength.

If you are the kind of person who can marry up sales + engineering, you are definitely a force to be reckoned with. But you can get very far as an engineer (in a job, as a founder, and otherwise), while not having any idea how to sell anything.
As I mentioned in my first response, I'm not really talking about working a job with regards to programming. If working a job is all you want, then you can surely make 100-400K/year as a programmer by just being great at what you're doing: writing code.

On the other hand, if you want to be a founder in a tech startup, or you want to start a software company (creating your own software app, creating customized apps for others, web development, etc.) then you most certainly need sales skills. Whether you'll be selling to employees, investors, co-founders, or customers, you'll still need to be doing a lot of selling.

Not to mention that getting the right product-market fit comes from having sales expertise and being able to understand what customers want. Without being able to create an in-demand product or service around tech, despite being a great programmer, you will not succeed in an entrepreneurial venture.
 

csalvato

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As I mentioned in my first response, I'm not really talking about working a job with regards to programming. If working a job is all you want, then you can surely make 100-400K/year as a programmer by just being great at what you're doing: writing code.

On the other hand, if you want to be a founder in a tech startup, or you want to start a software company (creating your own software app, creating customized apps for others, web development, etc.) then you most certainly need sales skills. Whether you'll be selling to employees, investors, co-founders, or customers, you'll still need to be doing a lot of selling.

Not to mention that getting the right product-market fit comes from having sales expertise and being able to understand what customers want. Without being able to create an in-demand product or service around tech, despite being a great programmer, you will not succeed in an entrepreneurial venture.
I see where you're coming from. You are drawing a conclusion that anyone without sales/marketing experience will be stuck in a job. That stems from a solopreneur mindset.

This forum over-indexes on the representation of solopreneurs, so the culture here matches your assertions.

So if you are starting a business as a solopreneur, then you need sales, of course. You also need dozens of other skills; IMO sales and marketing is the second-most important skill, just after creating an incredible product.

If you're not a solopreneur, it's not necessary that you, yourself, have those skills. All you need is a founding team that member that does have those skills.

In reality, there's a lot of ways to be on an entrepreneur and founder; being a solopreneur is only one of those ways. Many would argue it's not the best way.

There are lots of extremely wealthy CTOs who co-founded a company and never have to sell anything in their life. Steve Wozniak comes to mind, who famously joined Apple based on Steve Jobs' promise that he would be able to stay in the engineering/design space, not have to sell, and not have to manage.

When it comes to being a CTO, you don't need to be a salesperson, too. You just need to not be an a**hole, and have capacity for empathy so you can grow into a leader.
 
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Black_Dragon43

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I see where you're coming from. You are drawing a conclusion that anyone without sales/marketing experience will be stuck in a job. That stems from a solopreneur mindset.
You are right. Self-reliance is quite high up the scale for me in terms of a personal value. It's not that I never started companies with other people - I started two companies with partners, and invested in another one - it's just that all of them failed (and the third one is doing okay, but not great). One time it was a matter of one of the partners not putting as much effort into it, to the point that it would feel like you're pulling all the load, and yet... you'd only get a fraction of the result. That tended to be quite demotivating, so the success achieved was nothing great. The other time it was a matter of just entirely different visions for the company, differences which showed later on and disrupted the company, again leading to demotivation and ultimately failure. And the third time, it was a matter of replacing the CEO which we've just done, so things will improve.

On the other hand, the only business that I started entirely by myself, which is my marketing agency worked. A LOT better than everything else. Actually, I never intended to start an agency, I just started working as a freelancer (copywriting), and then I had (from my previous work) some experience as a developer and designer, so people asked me to do all sorts of work for them on top of the copywriting - banners, native ads, websites, SEO, ads, etc. So naturally, over time I started outsourcing these jobs, while doing just the copywriting myself. Today I've also outsourced the copywriting, and I'm doing just the sales/marketing, management, checking the work and client interaction side of things. For my own business, sales and marketing were clearly the key to success, and perhaps even more than that, just the daily grind.

I remember awhile ago reading something by Peter2 (RIP) on the forum that was funny and resonated with me. It went something like "If having a partner was good, God would have had one". :happy:

So yeah, I guess you did read me correctly, and I agree that I probably have a bias against giving away the equity of your business. If I had been luckier (or perhaps more skilled in choosing the right people, or even better, knowing how to find them) then perhaps I would be in a different place today (not to mention a different person).

IMO sales and marketing is the second-most important skill, just after creating an incredible product.
Just curious, why do you put creating an incredible product above sales & marketing in terms of importance?

I mean the way I see it, an incredible marketer can always make serious money even by selling someone else's product, or otherwise selling a mediocre product, whereas a genius inventor, if he cannot sell his inventions, cannot make any money.

And on another note, a great marketer can always identify a market need, and dare I say that identifying a market need is harder than building the solution itself, so in this way, sales & marketing skills may be critical to the creation of the incredible product itself.

It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on this!

Quite possibly. I have no question in my mind (knowing the amount of work building a company takes) that having a team of highly capable people who get along together allows you to jump from zero to a high-impact company very fast. Much much faster than doing it solo with employees.
 

MrRobot

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An interesting thread. What if I only care about coding? I can code (and develop complex systems, implement concepts), but have zero ideas about anything else in the world.
 

VicFountain

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The worst thing I've done was reading these posts and wander around for months thinking "Should I or shouldn't I?" instead of just doing shit.

I think it's highly subjective whether someone should code or not, but the worst thing you can do is keep asking that question over and over instead of doing something about it.

5 months spent trying to code are a way better investment than 5 months spent researching the perfect thing to do.
 

WildFlower

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I was just at a friend's house hanging out the day after a big teen's birthday party.. and he, my friend, would emerge every once in a while.. and I'm hanging with the moms.. and I finally ask his wife what is he doing... oh he's in there learning a new programming code. He's built companies and sold them.. his last one for $300 million and is building a new one. So I guess there's your answer.
 

RoadTrip

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This new video from MJ answers this thread question perfectly:

 

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