pancakes-syrup-y, buttery, goodness

Full-Stack Dream Team 

a personal take on startups and what to look for when finding your team

Sarah Marie
3 min readSep 27, 2013


Picture this: you run into a friend at the bar whom you haven’t seen in years. You exchange the usual pleasantries about kids, jobs and significant others (or lack thereof).

Suddenly, you find yourself listening to this person telling you all about their “brilliant idea” for an app.

just smile and nod.

He doesn’t know anything about development work, design or online marketing but he wants to find a team who does and become their “idea man”.

If you’re in the software game this conversation probably sounds familiar. It’s not the first time I’ve had someone pitch an idea like this and it probably won’t be the last.

And yeah, if he wanted to wander down that road in the 90s and lived in Silicon Valley he might’ve had a chance. Unfortunately, it’s 2013 and he’s living in rural Minnesota.

Kyle Tibbits, Co-founder @HoverApp, said it better than I ever could when he wrote an article about startups today:

A founder who can just do “sales” in the traditional sense isn’t going to cut it anymore. So much of the “selling” these days is in the design and the user experience of the product that the full-stack marketer must be able to push pixels with the best of them. The “seller” founder who can design is able to eliminate the gap between product and marketing and narrow the wait time between generating ideas and executing on them.

He uses the term ”full-stack marketer,” in reference to an individual who can do more than just be the idea man. The reality is, kids, that in the startup world today, mono-talented individuals won’t make it far.

You need to have the discipline and determination to be not only the “idea guy,” but a marketer, intermediate designer, and know a bit about code to keep up with your dev team. Trust me, you NEED to know a little bit about coding language to avoid looking like a dumb ass.

“can you make me an iphone site?”

Hold the phone, did you just say code!?

As we make the ever-increasing shift into online-ness, employers will be looking for better, faster and stronger marketers who understand the space and how to get the project from concept to production. Great that you have the ideas, now you need to help make it happen. Understand a language or two — plus the ability to push a few pixels and you’ve just unlocked the secret to online startup fundamentals.

Ugh, but coding? Really?

Remember when you learned a language in school and you got to the point where you could read it and understand it but you couldn’t write it. That’s where an ideal full-stack marketer should be. If you can read it, you can follow along and therefore communicate more efficiently… but let the dev team take it from there.

Syrup-y, buttery goodness…

Here’s where you’re really going to see your efforts pay off…If you can market, design and speak in some basic form of code then you can expect your dev team to have skills in web/mobile obscure mystic-rune-derived experimental proprietary languages…or a combination that suits your needs.

You’ll have what it takes to ask for, build or be a part of a full-stack dream team with a better shot of success.

So, to my friend with the “idea man,” illusion, if you’re reading this now; think about building some context around what it takes to develop your product. Then you’ll be on your way to having the knowledge and leverage to search for a dev team that can get you to your startup sweet spot.



Sarah Marie

Learner of things & project enthusiast // movie buff, dog whisperer and lover of a good-strong brew @Sarahberus