Over the years I've worked with my fair share of non-technical people and one of my biggest frustrations is that some don't take an interest in what is going on over on the technical side. This especially makes me upset when the foundation of the company is built upon software. I understand that writing code might not be at the top of your list, but you should at least be informed as to what is going on within your business.

There have been a lot of instances where I'll step in to help out with a project from business owners who don't know how to grant me access to everything needed. They'll have to go to their last developer and ask them what passwords are, or give them copies of their own software. There have also been times where the last technical team isn't responsive since this person is no longer a priority so they are at the mercy of the technical team. Due to the ignorance of the non-technical person it gives the last group a bad name and they often times bad mouth them to me. The last group may have indeed been bad, but this stuff is usually a two way street.

Enough ranting...

So how do you as a non-technical person stay in the know without being bogged down with overly technical details?

That answer isn't exactly cut and dry but I do want to share with you some of the basics that I think you should know about and have control over.

Domain Names

If you have a presence online the chances are extremely high that you'll have your own website. With that comes the registration of a domain name. Often times business owners leave it up to someone else to do it for them, but I think it's important to keep the registration information under your name.

Learn where you domains are registered at now and then keep them in one place. I know sometimes this is unavoidable under certain circumstances, but in the long run it will keep things less confusing.

If you've yet to buy domains, I recommend using Google Domains. The process is pretty easy through them and they keep your registration information private.

Web Hosting, Servers, Databases, and Other Services

Just like a domain name its very important to know where your website or application is being hosted from. Depending on what you're building this can be easy to learn or it can be complicated. For example, if you're just hosting a WordPress website two of the biggest things you'll need information on is how to login into the hosting company and the WordPress admin section of your website.

If you're doing something that is outside of a simple website you may need someone to break it down for you or make a diagram of all of the moving parts with your software. Have them take some time to show you some basic troubleshooting and how to administer users to these services.

Source Code & Source Control

I saved this one for last. I believe that if there isn't anything else you can't get your hands on, it should be the source code and/or the source control. Ideally you should be the one that sets up everything, but if you didn't at least get owner/admin rights to where your code is going to be backed up to.

You should get familiar with adding and more importantly removing people from source control. If someone quits or if you fire someone you don't want them having access to your code after they've left.

I have a co-founder that handles all of the technical stuff

Until you don't...

Again, you don't have to spend time learning how to contribute to the software, you just need to know where everything is, and how to give access to people who need it.

There are so many more things that I think you should have a grasp on within your company, but if those three things above are understood you'll be a breath of fresh air to new developers. It will show that you're invested in learning about what makes your own company work.