Tech/startup people who are “not that technical”

I often meet managers in tech who say they are not *that* technical. As if they are pretty technical but not as technical as the bearded unix god optimizing their database performance. This is usually a euphemism for “I am not technical and will do whatever the unix god says”. These folks are at a huge disadvantage: – they can’t manage project timelines by judging dates or difficulty or individual performance – they can’t critically evaluate tech architecture or strategy choices – they are vulnerable to getting BSed by the (human-readable AND BS-motivated) crowd These are bigger company problems. Plus another set of problems: – they can’t manage junior people directly. They don’t know what the junior guys or doing and can’t direct them. So they need an expensive manager layer – they can’t use the armies of low cost junior talent available via global outsourcing – they don’t know how to chunk the work into rapid product iteration These are startup problems. So if you want to avoid being a useless destruction-magnet PowerPoint weenie you should learn how to – use an IDE and build a sample project – use FTP, make an HTML page with JavaScript and CSS in it – make an iPhone app and publish it – use github – use a shell and use emacs or nano or some editor – use Amazon Web Services EC2 and host something there The whole “learn to code” submovement in tech is all about this sidebenefit I think. (Plus you make something, another nice byproduct.)