"It really comes down to putting your faith in people with good judgement making sure you hire good judgment, and then guiding them with principles."
This article is packed full of practical tips on how to interview engineers for company culture, create a less bureaucratic organisation and an environment where autonomy can allow engineers to do great work.
"Organizational debt is all the people/culture compromises made to “just get it done” in the early stages of a startup"
You may have heard of technical debt?
Steve Blank discusses the cost of organisational debt and the need to be able to recognise and "refactor" it. Much like you would technical debt.
I wholeheartedly agree with this post. I worked on a project where the founders outsourced the startup to an agency. The founders were too removed from the product creation and definitely had the "wrong mindset".
Often non-technical people try to go down this route but, as Joel points out, you don't actually need to code anything to get traction or prove a market need.
Also If you validate a business it makes it a lot easier to recruit co-founders or early employees.
A great list of traits an exceptional engineer has. Make sure you surround yourself with these types of people and you won't go too far wrong.
As an engineer myself I particularly value creativity when solving problems, people with a growth mindset and positivity balanced with healthy skepticism...
"they’ll be more paranoid about whether what they create works properly – rather than celebrating victory once it appears to work"