Big News: FounderDating is joining OneVest to build the largest community for entrepreneurs. Details here
Latest Notifications
You have no recent recommendations.
Name
Title
 
MiniBio
FOLLOW
Title
 Followers
FOLLOW TOPIC

Question goes here

1,300 Followers

  • Name
    Entrepreneur
  • Name
    Entrepreneur
  • Name
    Entrepreneur
  • Name
    Entrepreneur
  • Name
    Entrepreneur
  • Name
    Entrepreneur
  • Name
    Entrepreneur
  • Name
    Entrepreneur

Whats' the best approach to build product for a new start-up - outsource or team building?

For a band new start-up with an idea, what's the best strategy to build an MVP? I want to get a product to market within 4-6 months. Do you go with a full-stack developer and contract out some of the other pieces like UX or do you outsource to India or Ukraine? If you outsource offshore, I suppose you get a "team" as opposed to one individual but what are the trade-offs? Initial MVP will require a lot of brainstorming and trial and error. Time zone differences, language barriers...all of these could hamper progress.

Also, when is it best to bring on the CTO? Right away or after MVP and seed funding?

20 Replies

Ron Bentata
1
0
Ron Bentata Advisor
Entrepreneur ● Startup Advisor ● Product Manager ● DigitalProductCritic.com
hi Richard.
It depends, on the nature of the product.
If it's something which involved new and breaking technology, such as the next Google Glass, Nest or a new security solution; you need a technology geek by your side from the get go. If the product is less technology-centric, you should have a partner with strong ux and design skills.

on the other hand, you can start on your own, developing the technology or UX/design aspects using expert services, as outsource, without giving away part of your "cake".

for example:
if you're think of new mobile app. you should start with design and ux. development can be kept to minimum and outsourced to europe companies/developers.

remember that you should invest your efforts in customer acquisition and conversion. so ux/design and marketing are #1, you can postpone the technology/development partnering for later.

also remember that for investors, it is important to see a strong technology leader and team. so look for that as you make your way towards that stage.


good luck with your new endeavor.

Hernán Borré
1
0
Hernán Borré Advisor
CoFounder & CEO at mobaires - nearshore staff augmentation
Hello Richard,

Your question is really interesting since a lot of clients ask the same questions to us every time.

About bringing the CTO I would recommend you to bring a tech savvy guy from the beginning. They will help you not only define the size of the team/project but also to understand the natural software development process in detail.
It's very important that you can have someone in your team who 'speaks' the very same language as the developers you'll hire - no matter if they are in India, Ukraine or Argentina.

A lot of companies offers the development of software product in addition to the software architecture, product graphic design, initial mockups, UI/UX guidelines, etc. There are other companies that only delivers software development services but most of us have all the package ready to start (turnkey).
If you are very confident about your product and you know exactlyhow would it be at the end of the process - you are pretty much sure that you are not going to change anything in the middle of the development - you should go with a Fixed Price service.
In the other hand if you feel like your software is going to change more than one time in de process you should hire Time&Materials kind of service.

I'm from Buenos Aires, Argentina - another very good destination to 'nearshore' outsource your software development. Have you ever thought about it? We've been developing for US since 2010 with strong client referrals.

PS: Please don't hire an Ads Agency for development - they are very good with creativity but they don't know much about software development.

Aleksandra Czajka
3
0
Aleksandra Czajka Entrepreneur
Freelance Senior Software Engineer, Developer, Web Developer, Programmer - Full Stack
Richard,

I work for myself as a senior software engineer and have dealt with a lot of start-ups. Have been a part of a few and started a few myself. The most common thing between start-ups is horror stories about, not just going to India because they're cheaper, but even going to dev firms in the states. Whit India or anywhere else, surprise surprise, a huge problem is the language barrier. On top of that, the culture is way different when it comes to deadlines and being close to specifications of the projects. Entrepreneurs come to me to fix a project done through India because, even with meeting after meeting, they did not complete the project to spec and were very late in submitting the project. Not to mention that the actual technology/code is crapola. On top of that, you get the time difference. Which, at first you might say to yourself that you can deal with it to save money, but, when you take into account that you will need many many meetings to answer questions, it quickly becomes unmanageable.
The best way to create an MVP is to have a dedicated person, a full-stack developer, someone that speaks your language, someone that you know you can trust and will be available in a moment's notice to give you status updates and answer your questions. You don't get any of that with India or Ukraine.

Your second question is more complex. You definitely want someone like a CTO involved from the beginning, even if they are not the CTO at that moment. My recommendation is to contract someone out for the MVP, see how well you work with that person and gauge their work ethic. I you have vetted them well at the beginning, now you will have someone who is a great candidate for a CTO. I'd also say, wait until you have customers and the business is looking up. This will attract someone who not only has a technical part of the brain, but an entrepreneurial as well. A CTO is not just a programmer. This person will need to be deeply rooted in the business side in order to know where the technology should go.

I got a lot more thoughts on this because I've been in the start-up scene for a long time. Feel free to connect if you'd like to chat more.
Andy Williams
0
0
Andy Williams Entrepreneur
President at Zypp Technologies
Richard,

The design and development of your MVP will be a critical step in the development/success of your company. The importance of face-to-face interaction and a iterative design process is vital. With this being the case - you should strongly consider partnering with a team that you can communicate with in real-time, white board ideas - so that everyone is on the same page with your vision and goals.

I would suggest finding a strong UX firm that is steeped in product design and development - not a "web dev" firm or a ad agency. You will want to look at a firm that has the expertise of total life-cycle product development (operations included) so that these critical components are factored into your decisioning process as well.

You funding partners will want you to have a CTO type on board at the time of "large funding" but in the early days you can get by with a strong partner that is working on your behalf.

Best of luck as you travel down this exciting path....
Mark Lummus
0
0
Mark Lummus Advisor
Fractional CTO for emerging businesses and non-technical founders
Richard,

Lots of great ideas so far. Let me echo a few...

What kind of product and company do you want to build? what is your definition of success?

If you are planning to build a technology-based business (heavy tech IP) then you must start with a CTO. Your CTO will have a strong opinion about where to get the work done. Your CTO will also have an opinion about how to build the tech and that will drive the selection of outsourcing partner.

If you are planning to attract venture investment with a tech startup, then you absolutely must have a CTO. Remember that your IP may be a differentiator for you. Many investors will want to see defensible tech differentiation. It's difficult to do that with 100% outsourced tech talent.

I recently consulted with a tech startup who did not start with a CTO and outsourced everything. 2 years later, there is no one on the team that knows and owns the IP - it's known best by the outsource partner - that spells risk for any future investors.

Regarding selection of outsource partner, don't ignore Latin America. There are many tech firms now operating there and they have very competitive skills and rates, and they are in your time zone.

Think of your outsourcing vendor as a partner - they will be with you for a potentially long time.

Regarding outsourcing to India, I just had a conversation yesterday regarding the big problem they face there: lack of senior development talent. it's easy to find engineers straight out of school that want to do development. Once they have 3 years of experience, they want to manage others. They now have trouble finding deep talent with > 3 years of development experience.

good luck!
alexandr gubenko
0
0
alexandr gubenko Entrepreneur
director at GTL
Richard, there are hybrid solutions that are very beneficial for start-up. You can have a project lead/developer in US and a development team in for example Ukraine - both from the same, US based organization. That will give you a way to i) face, control and lead conveniently in US, ii) save costs by having outsourced team and iii) find the right moment to bring CTO. In my case have used:http://www.rightandabove.com
Regards
Jeff Fugitt ☁
1
0
Jeff Fugitt ☁ Entrepreneur
CMO | Demand Generation | Content Marketer | Revenue Marketer | Product Marketer | Chief Marketing Technology Officer
Hi Richard, I'm sure you'll get a lot of opinions; here's mine: I think building the MVP is highly strategic, requires insight into lead user pain points/needs, requires strategic thinking regarding the data model and development of the requirements. I also think that UX and UI are strategic. I've found that this is best accomplished with a small insourced group and CTO versus outsourcing. Once the initial product is built then product extensions and additional features can be outsourced. Good luck - I hope this helps. Best, Jeff Fugitt Founder and CEO AuthorityForce v. [removed to protect privacy]
Michael Brill
0
0
Michael Brill Entrepreneur
Technology startup exec focused on AI-driven products
Sounds like you need product management more than a CTO at this point... Your "trial & error, brainstorming, etc." are, I assume, all on the feature set, not so much on architecture/implementation. Especially for a new product category, there is a 0% chance you will be successful offshoring that.

Of course you can find those skills occasionally in a CTO, but maybe a strong product lead is what you want.
Andrew Lockley
1
0
Andrew Lockley Advisor
Investor and strategy consultant
Build MVP with off the shelf components like WordPress, then rebuild once commercial proof points are obtained
Ron Bentata
0
0
Ron Bentata Advisor
Entrepreneur ● Startup Advisor ● Product Manager ● DigitalProductCritic.com
Andrew, this is exactly correct!
create it small and quick, iterate to find you POC, using existing, "shelf" products.
then deepen your team, product etc.
Join FounderDating to participate in the discussion
Nothing gets posted to LinkedIn and your information will not be shared.

Just a few more details please.

DO: Start a discussion, share a resource, or ask a question related to entrepreneurship.
DON'T: Post about prohibited topics such as recruiting, cofounder wanted, check out my product
or feedback on the FD site (you can send this to us directly info@founderdating.com).
See the Community Code of Conduct for more details.

Title

Give your question or discussion topic a great title, make it catchy and succinct.

Details

Make sure what you're about to say is specific and relevant - you'll get better responses.

Topics

Tag your discussion so you get more relevant responses.

Question goes here

1,300 Followers

  • Name
    Details
  • Name
    Details
  • Name
    Details
  • Name
    Details
  • Name
    Details
  • Name
    Details
  • Name
    Details
  • Name
    Details
Know someone who should answer this question? Enter their email below
Stay current and follow these discussion topics?