questions

When did you start learning programming?

We started programming in the summer of 2012, from our apartment in Brooklyn, NY. We took a Harvard course through EdX called CS50 taught by David Malan. What a great teacher. It was fundamentals of computer science for absolute beginners, so it was really the nuts and bolt of it, and we learned the basic foundations. In terms of actual coding, we started with markup first- HTML and then quickly moved onto CSS. Now we’re learning Ruby and Ruby on Rails, and plan to move onto APIs, JavaScript, MySQL and PHP. We have a full list of programming educational goals. Our initial desire to learn how to program however, was way back in 2010, when we first conceived the idea for our current start-up. We were very discouraged at that time, however, because we were unaware of all the free and cheap online education, and quite frankly, the education wasn’t all available yet, like it is now. We thought we needed to prepare to go back to college. Boy, were we wrong. Everything we’re learning related to coding now is done online, and we will connect you to all the resources here through this blog.

Why did you decide to start learning programming?

We were fed up with looking for a co-founder just to build our idea. We realized that it was a backwards way of thinking about our project, especially when we got further into the process and into the tech start-up world. We also realized how a start-up team should work, and how meeting someone at a tech event just doesn’t guarantee the soul-mate like chemistry you need in order to spend countless, salary-less hours together and still be friends. Most importantly, we were getting restless and took a hint from destiny. Guess the universe wanted us to become coders!

Why did you call it Two Non Techies?

Well, there are two of us, first of all… We quickly started to realize that the tech start-up world has a name for start-up co-founders who don’t know how to code. (And there are a lot of us!) Our Start-up Weekend tickets would say “Non-Technical” on them. We decided to playfully use these words for our blog title, and certainly other non-technical co-founders out there completely get what we mean! Never mind the fact that we are both from highly technical fields before entering into the programming world (Architecture and Animation)! We didn’t know how to code, so we were non-technical.

What’s the mission of Two Non Techies?

Our mission is simple: Grow Together. Develop Ourselves, and Develop Products together. By this we are not only referring to the two of us, but the greater startup community of non-technical founders who don’t yet know how to code, feel stuck and are in need of help and advice about how to start a tech company. We want to talk about the nitty gritty details of getting funding, developing a pitch with slides, talking to potential investors, talking to family about it, quitting your current job… because we’ve done all those things. And even though we’re not at the finish line yet, we have a lot of valuable information to share so it doesn’t take you three years to get to this point like it did for us- we’re going to tell it all to you straight, and from a non-techie point of view. By doing this, we hope to create a community of like-minded startup people who support each-other.

What did you guys do before this blog and before pursuing tech entrepreneurship?

Jesicka was a Project Manager in the architecture, design and construction industry, and Martin was a freelance Animator, Game Designer and 3D Graphics Artist.

What makes you the expert on startups and technology?

We’re not the experts on startups and technology; we’re the experts on navigating that world as an outsider, and transitioning into becoming insiders. That’s why we started this blog. This blog is focused on non-technical co-founders- and we have valuable experience in being in that position, and getting into the startup world with no prior programming experience. We know now how to best go about this from that angle.  As non-technical founders, we’ve tested and succeeded in many methods of pitching, networking, raising seed funding, bootstrapping, developing mockups and prototyping, as well as all the avenues of learning programming, so we can guide others who are getting started. Other than that, we’re both experts in not giving up, working all-nighters, persistence, and believing in ourselves. We hope to inspire others to do what we’re doing and not feel stuck anymore.

Do you have your own startup? What is it?

Yes! We have a start-up we’ve been bootstrapping for the last few years. The first couple years we didn’t know how to start or who to talk to so the learning curve was steep, and there wasn’t too much progress. We also didn’t quit our jobs until 6 months ago. However, things started speeding up ever since quitting the jobs, and now we’re working on that start-up full time, in addition to this blog. The start-up will be announced through this blog. If you’re curious, it’s in the philanthropic sector, and we’ve already pivoted a few times since the first rendition of the idea.

Why should I learn how to program?

We’re going to be writing our content in this blog with a strong bias on empowering yourself by learning to code. This blog is focused on start-up entrepreneurs who urgently need to develop their ideas and therefore need to program. That doesn’t exclude everyone else though. We believe that even if you have a good job now, or are a successful entrepreneur already, if you don’t know how to code, the changes happening in this world will sweep you off balance.The need for programming talent and innovation in tech has sky-rocketed and it will just keep growing. We don’t believe we’re in a tech bubble this time. The world just needs to catch up. No matter what field you are in now, that field will need creative programming talent very soon because technology is redefining culture, commerce and how we do business in every sector.“Program or be programmed” says author Douglas Rushkoff. The world is quickly dividing into people who can and people who can’t program, and this is a window of opportunity to learn – through hundreds of free resources online. We want to connect people to these resources through this blog. It is also our opinion that learning to code is empowering and democratic, and during this time of internet security issues and other technological concerns that threaten our everyday lives, the power to program will be invaluable for the conservation of our freedoms.

Where do you guys live?

Currently, we’re bootstrapped in Berlin, Germany. (More about bootstrapping will be discussed in a future article). But, like Martin says in the about page, it’s complicated. We are not married to one location and we are pretty mobile. We were bootstrapping in our Brooklyn apartment for a couple of years, but in March/April of 2013, we sold most of our stuff, cleaned up our life in New York City, packed our bags, put some important stuff in storage, and flew to Berlin. Oh, did I mention we brought our two kitty cats with us? They go where we go. The beer and rent is cheap here and the startup scene is booming. There are countless meet-ups and events to network here in “Silicon Allee.” Anyway, the point is that we don’t want to be anchored during this early development stage, and the reason we don’t have any stuff besides our laptops and a suitcase full of clothes. We want to be able to fly to San Francisco or New York when we need to meet a potential investor or our mentor, or attend an important tech networking event in Silicon Valley, Copenhagen, London, Tel Aviv, or even Uzbekistan.  It’s an adventure and we don’t know where we will end up. We might even stay here. Berlin has quite the startup ecosystem and it’s just getting started.

 

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