Or do you always hack on your own, until you are ready for getting a paid employee?
These days you cant really have an app, which does not have good design aesthetics. With enough startups relying solely on great interface design and user experience (or more so on them than actual innovation), I just find it surprising that there are so few startups where any of the founders/co-founders are designers. Perhaps I dont know enough of these startups, or maybe most of them are not mainstream, but either ways you dont seem to find enough UI designer as founders.
This comes to me as a surprise because there are enough startups with non technical founders. Wouldn’t having a great designer as a cofounder be more lucrative that a business contact, especially for a user facing startup? I mean unless you are already rich, you probably won’t be able to afford a designer right off the bat. And a great UI can be game changing. Given all the creativity that these designers bring to the table (coupled with flawless execution and integration from engineers), I would believe that more of them would be ready to start something of their own.
Is this because of how engineers and designers look at problems? This might be going down a completely wrong track, but engineers look at problems in a much different fashion than a designer. Perhaps as an engineer you are sitting at this vantage point, where you can see more scope for innovation and change. You are exposed to more problems, and have the skill set to figure out what can/needs to be changed/created. Or is because engineers are used to all the pain that involves getting a company to bootstrap?
Either ways, I strongly think that engineering and design complement each other really well, and put together right from the beginning make a huge difference. I think we really need to stop thinking of design as an after thought. For the same reason, I always wonder if we should even be segregating engineering from engineering with a good design?
In any case as engineers, till the time we can not afford a designer, we will hack together whatever we can.