Brad Feld

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Learning To Program

Apr 09, 2010
Category Technology

I had lunch today with Nate Abbott and Natty Zola, the co-founders of Everlater, a TechStars 2009 company.  Nate and Natty are two of my favorites – not only because they regularly kick my partner Seth Levine’s ass on bike rides but also because they starred in last year’s TechStars The Founders video series.

Today, while enjoying a veggie burger at Mustard’s Last Stand, we talked about how Nate and Natty learned to program.  When they came up with the idea for Everlater, they were both young finance geeks on wall street.  Nate was a math major; Natty was a econ major, but neither had a clue how to build a web app.  They decided that rather than find a “developer” to team up with, they would learn how to program.

I regularly get asked questions (via email, face to face, and this blog) by non-technical entrepreneurs how they should get started if they don’t have a technical co-founder.  There are a variety of answers – one is “learn to program.”  In Nate and Natty’s case it’s worked out great and their story is an instructive one.  So we’ve decided to work on a series of blog posts together about their story of how they learned to program, the resources they used, decisions they made, struggles they had, and beer they drank (well – maybe not the beer). 

Now, both Nate and Natty are smart, which is obviously a pre-requisite.  But neither were computer science majors, nor were they “hackers” (although apparently Nate is pretty good at a wide range of video games.) 

Look for some posts over the next few weeks on this topic.  Of course, like any of the series I’ve written, your feedback matters a lot to how much I keep it going.  If you decide that the story is great and/or helpful, tell us and we’ll keep it going.  If not, we won’t.