If only I had a quarter for every time I’ve been asked that question. Most often it comes from a first time entrepreneur who doesn’t know any better yet. Engineering talent is one of the most sacred and rare resources our industry has and is often times the difference between success and failure. As such, it’s not something you should ever expect to be handed, if that’s even possible. Entrepreneurs who know engineers worth bringing on to a team recognize the value, and great engineers know that they’re valuable and could work just about anywhere they want. My typical response to the question is “if I knew any engineers looking for a job I would hire them.” So you get the point.
I get why entrepreneurs ask the question though, it’s a critical part of the team that is never big enough. And if you’re just starting up and can’t code or design yourself, then you pretty much can’t do anything without them. So what do you do? Plenty of people have written posts about how to recruit and attractive engineering talent (I’ve even seen a few engineering recruiting startups recently), but at a high level you just need to be super scrappy and dedicate a ton of time to it. Network with people you went to school with. Then network with those people. Ask your current or former classmates who aren’t tech entrepreneurs if they know anyone who codes, even if your friend is a lawyer or doctor. The best startups I work with just seem to get it done, and the path is always different and serendipitous. It was through a friend of a friend of a family member. It was from a LinkedIn blind message. Once it was that the founder’s struck up a conversation with the guy sitting next to him on plane.
No matter how you do it, hiring engineering talent as an entrepreneur is totally up to you and is gonna be hard. You have to not ony convince the person your startup is better than the
1,000 others out there (not to mention the option of the engineer starting his or her own startup), but you need to find the person in the first place to talk to. But it’s one of those things that sets entrepreneurs apart, like being able to sell customers or raise money, or yes, code. So get after it.