Today I had a discussion with colleague about role of software development and software developers in tech startups. He thinks that programmers contribute the major part for the success of the whole story. That is even more true if they are ruby software developers.
Before starting up couple (majority failed attempts) businesses I had the same opinion. Proud to be technical, yeah! But not today. Let me share with you my superficial and not well grounded thoughts about it.
To run the tech startup, in very rare cases you can be fully digital. Even if you can, you cannot avoid discussed below activities. Assume you equally distribute your efforts to activities to start/run your technology business. Then you spend only 25% of your time to product/platform/technology development in general sense.
If you have software product, then taken out customer development, business development and business administration activities (also largely spinning around your product), your product development team distributes time to product management, software development, quality assurance, developer operations and 2nd or 3rd line customer support.
With all my from-the-ceiling numbers, time of actual software developer is only 5%. Sure the role of especially ruby software developer can be much higher than masseuse, but they reportedly get stock too, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/12/technology/12google.html. Time committed does not equal to success, true. That would be too simple. But still …