The Roles in a Startup

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Interesting post on The Business Insider about the roles and their area of expertise and responsibilities in a startup.

  • Visionary/Architect. Idea generation, shape features, repositioning, market fit, competitive landscape, research.
  • Lead Developer(s). AKA Hackers. A good place to have a pair of jelled programmers. Uses web framework, creates functionality; knows Python/Ruby, Javascript, AJAX, Flash(?), HTML, databases.
  • Sysadmin. Network, web server, NFS (for VCS/file sharing), caching, other infrastructure, data backup, backup hardware, performance tuning, scalability.
  • Toolsmith. Team is provided with: productive development environments (all users can say ‘apt-get install …‘), frameworks, editors, interpreters, multiple browsers, GIMP/Photoshop, (D)VCS, wiki, maybe BTS, quick training/consulting on tools/environment, continuous integration.
  • Webmaster. SEO, analytics, domain registration, site hosting, Apache/lighttpd.
  • DBA. Helps developers plan schema, set up tables, design for scalability, tuning/optimizing.
  • Graphic Artist. Color coordination, logos, icons, image libraries, etc.
  • CSS Designer. Usability, accessibility, layout, look-n-feel.
  • Content Creator. User-facing documentation, populate/organize wiki, design tutorial, usage studies.
  • Customer Support. Answers phones, forum voice, FAQs, knowledge base, help entries, problem solving.
  • Tester. Bangs on site, tries devious things, automates stress.
  • Marketer. Evangelism, blogging, advertising.
  • Manager. Coordinates all team member activities.
  • Lawyer. Business setup, guidance, law interpretation.
  • Chef. Handles all other (random) tasks to keep team functioning.

While you don't need to take the list as an exhaustive and definitive one (as pointed by the commenters the author has left aside some important roles like Sales), I still find it interesting.

A good exercise for every startup is to figure out a the way to reduce the number of people it actually needs to successfully cover all these roles.