Breaking up with the ‘do-it-all’ self.


Armed with a pantry of Raman and Red Bull, the geek coder hacks his start-up in his dorm room. Startup stardom ensues.

I have a confession: I wasn’t a great coder.  My LAMP developer career developed consisted of a patchwork of Drupal Modules, a smattering of plug-ins, and a lot of duct-tape spaghetti code that somehow held the house together.

One area I found joy in was technical planning. Would it be Drupal? WordPress? Custom? What APIs can we use?  Any scripts we can use? Is there a third-party that does x for us? That part gave me energy.

It’s fun to gaze at creations and plot to adulthood. Being the general that directs each step is not required; Maybe you need a mercenary.

I started to learn Flutter and Dart; videos, tutorials, ide environment.  Knowing what it is capable of is very valuable. Knowing the in-and-outs doesn’t spark joy.

I as in the public library the other day and I was surprised to see a Flutter book. Go books! I had a flip through and the denser the content got, the more I knew that this was a romance that wasn’t for me.

There are way more talented programmers on platforms like Upwork, or TopTal that have oodles of experience, and enjoy coding.

If I was going to deny my inner coder, my inner designer had to change too.

Sifting through the creative talent on Upwork, Dibble, Behance, and everywhere-else is fun. There is so much talent to sift through and letting go of the fact that I will not be at that top-notch level is freeing. Taking enjoyment in injecting someone else’s creative work into my own is scary and wonderful.

Good designers push the boundaries on what’s comfortable. They bend the line of standards and conformity with uniqueness and awkwardness. I like to work with people that will poke at these boundaries, but also have the humility to pull back when things get too weird.

“So, if you’re not programming it and not the designer, then what are you doing” – drunk friend @ party

What am I doing?

I am doing the parts of creation that I enjoy;

  • Developing the product idea (Product Owner)
  • Rough sketching out concepts (Product Designer)
  • Branding (Product Design and Marketing)
  • Finding the best way to develop (CTO)
  • Finding customers (Acquisition Marketing)
  • Onboarding (Product and Retention Marketing)

So, it’s OK to bring in people who are more talented in doing. Letting go of the mythology that one person ‘could and should’ do creates freedom and permission to bring to life your creation on your terms.  It is will be a hell of a lot prettier and without the duct tape.

About the author


Making stuff online since 1998. Currently building SaaS @ Next In Line