Thursday, April 09, 2009

Who to run a software company?

I always believe the owner of a Software Company need to be a programmer (or ex-programmer) in order to understand Software Development and appreciate Programmers' Talent. If it is run by marketing people in suit, I really doubt that they could attract the right talents or develop the right product. I used to make it a point if the person interviewing me has no technical background, I would probably not work for the company (as an interviewer, you would fail to evaluate my skill).

I once try to talk about programmers’ need and how proper software development is done to a CEO, but I think he hears nuts from me: either he thinks the extra cost is not justifiable or what I am talking about is just utter crap. I concluded that he would never understand what software development is all about, besides just employing some people and get the work done.

Even if the owner is a pretty good Techie, we still have to pray that he have good business connections, very good luck, excel in sales and marketing or be very cash rich. No matter how good he maybe in running software company, he still need to be able to charm the market and sell something.

No matter what, I still think a software company is a very fragile business as it needs special kind of people in a special environment. If you try to run it like a factory or be marketing-driven, you will kill creativity. Software Development could be somehow chaotic, an art with a lot of unpredictability, worsen by programmers with special behaviors. If you try to impose too much order and procedures, it will kill productivity and creativity as well. If you cannot manage it, your software will never complete or ship.

Nevertheless, a software company should never be run by marketing people in suit as all the good programmers will be chased away and be seen as rebellious child (rather than a great artist).

An interesting read forwarded by Kenny about How Software Companies Die by Orson Scott Card. Simple and straight to be point, something some people would never understand why.


Marvin Lee said...

Getting a real techie or programmer which is also good in marketing and getting sales could be a rare find.
I agree with you that the owner of a software company needs to be a programmer or an ex.
Other than programmer themselves, the others will only think it's easy to build software or manage a software project.
It applies to software projects and not only software company.

d_luaz said...

Indeed a good software company which doesn't go down is a rare find.

I didn't find one, nor could I create one.

Superman said...

True true... It's better that everybody in the company has a little knowledge in programming. Else those programmers can die. :(