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How do you distinguish between a killer mobile app developer and an ok one?

I am the founder of the first ever website for women's belts. I am looking to develop a one of a kind app that enables shoppers to snap an image of an outfit with their phone and pair it with the perfect belt from our site. We will revolutionize the way belts are bought and sold.
Where would I find a killer developer? (on FounderDating, yes I know)
But how will I know when I find the right one since I am not a developer?

12 Replies

Sean Lazenby
2
0
Sean Lazenby Entrepreneur
--
Hi Sivan,

When you talk to developers you will find that many of them will talk about what is not possible instead of talking about what is possible. These are some of the factors I would use in finding a killer developer:

1. They use an agile process which allows you maximum feedback during the development process.
2. They are proactive instead of reactive. This can be seen in the sales process, are they trying to push solutions down your throat? Or are they trying to find out what you want, and then offer solutions based on your needs.
3. They speak English, not "techese" this means they are able to accurately and efficiently explain solutions to you.
4. They are as passionate and committed to your project as you are.
5. They create realistic expectations, even if the answers are not what you want to hear.

I hope this helps you. We are developers ourselves. Feel free to send me an email at [removed to protect privacy] and I will be super happy to discuss your project with you.

Aleksandra Czajka
1
2
Aleksandra Czajka Entrepreneur
Freelance Senior Software Engineer, Developer, Web Developer, Programmer - Full Stack
Sivan, I totally agree with Sean. Many developers are know for not having very good social skills, but, I feel like those developers will rather stay within a sallary job than work for themselves. If you're looking for a good freelance developer, you're looking for someone that your gut can trust. If they're saying something is not doable, then they better be able to thoroughly explain to you why. If they can't explain, they're in the wrong business. You need someone that you can trust and that is resembled by easy and open communication. If within your conversations with the developer you feel like you're missing something and the developer feels closed off to answering your questions, chances are he's playing the 'power with knowledge game', that is, making you think he knows better than and that you can't make the tech decisions for yourself by withholding information from you. This keeps him/her in control. Don't let yourself get in that situation. Always go with someone that will want to be your partner in any project, which will mean that he/she will want to give you as much information as possible to help you make the decision together.

Hope that helps.
Best,
Aleks
Andrew Westberg
1
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Andrew Westberg Entrepreneur
Nike+ Running App Android Developer at Nike
As an app developer myself, here are my thoughts.

1.) A killer app developer will want to create a native app. Appcelerator, Phonegap, etc.. are good for proofs of concept, but for the ultimate in user experience, they'll push you to go native on each platform you are targeting. End users expect a native experience on the platform they have chosen. Nothing is more disappointing to a user to open an app on Android and have it feel like iOS... or vice versa.

2.) They'll have an understanding of both iOS and Android. They won't necessarily be an expert at both, but they'll have an appreciation for the strengths and weaknesses of both platforms. If they're a snob about either one, it's not necessarily a red flag, but it's maybe a reason for caution.

3.) They can show you an app they've developed. They do NOT necessarily have a published app on one of the public appstores. There are many skilled mobile developers that just do internal company apps who are open to freelancing a bit on the side.

Those are just some of my initial thoughts. If I have more, I'll chime back in.
Burr Sutter
1
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Burr Sutter Entrepreneur
Product Management Director, Developer Products
Based on how you describe KeepYourPantsOn.com, I would first consider some of the better mobile app design/consulting companies. Yes, they are going to be more per hour than person you can find on odesk/elance but a great consulting company will have previous work product for you to review and a team with diverse skills where one of those skills is design and usability. Having high performing, well structured, well documented code that correctly leverages the appropriate design patterns and recent libraries/APIs is important BUT great visual design and usability is an absolute must. This takes a team - not an individual.
Igor Moliver
1
0
Igor Moliver Entrepreneur
Founder & CEO at OnePlayce
Hey Sivan,
I'm using a great on-shore/off-shore mobile team for my startup. The architecture, project management, high level work is managed by a senior team in NJ, while the coding is completed by senior engineers in Belarus.

My experience has been very positive.The devs in Belarus all speak English, work standard workday hours, and, most importantly, think like real tech team members, not hired hands. The prices are very good, and it's allowed me to extend my company's runway significantly.

I've recommended them to others, and everyone who has used them has been happy with the results. If you're interested, I can put you in touch.

Best Regards,
Igor
Aleksandra Czajka
1
0
Aleksandra Czajka Entrepreneur
Freelance Senior Software Engineer, Developer, Web Developer, Programmer - Full Stack
Andrew, disagree on pushing toward iOS. If you're a good technical person, know what you're talking about, you will never push for one technology for every concept. You will actually think about the best technology depending on what the project is. iOS is not best suited for every app. Phonegap can actually be great for a lot of things.
Karl Schulmeisters
1
0
Karl Schulmeisters Entrepreneur
CTO ClearRoadmap

Why do you need a "killer app developer"? what it sounds like is that you do not have a technical side of the company sorted at all, and in essence you are betting that if you get a "killer app developer" they will do all of the technology for you. The reality is that augmented reality in retail is nothing new http://www.creativeguerrillamarketing.com/augmented-reality/10-examples-augmented-reality-retail/

and most of it has to do with the back end infrastructure and NOT the "mobile app". because the image analytics to build the recommendations on what is the best belt for an outfit is NOT part of the mobile app but rather the backend.

So I think you are buying yourself a bunch of trouble if you think your solution will be doable by a "killer mobile app"

Andrew Westberg
0
0
Andrew Westberg Entrepreneur
Nike+ Running App Android Developer at Nike
Aleksandra. I agree that phonegap can be great for a lot of things. In the question, Sivan asked for a "one of a kind app". I don't view phonegap as meeting that particular requirement.
Lalit Sarna
0
0
Lalit Sarna Entrepreneur • Advisor
Business & Technology Leader
If you are hiring a contractor then perhaps this is not pertinent. However if you are looking to build your tech team then here are my two cents:

In my experience, for early stage companies, killer attitude trumps killer developer skills. Start-ups are challenging, filled with surprises and uncertainties. Your code, technology choices, product features, almost everything is up for change. The only thing that is certain is that you will need to iterate and adapt.

I have always found devs who have an innate hunger to learn and figure things out to be far more effective. Before I dig deep into technical expertise, I look for what the developer has done to improve himself. How their curiosity inspires them, and do they invest in picking up skills beyond the call of their duty? Once I am convinced that I have a builder on my hands, I give them a tough challenge outside their experience level and see what they come back with.


For early stages, tenacity in the face of hardship is the number one quality I seek in my team mates. I have built 9 teams and this criteria has yet to fail me.
Erlend Wilhelmsen
1
0
Erlend Wilhelmsen Entrepreneur
Partner, Fabric; Co-Founder Card Labs
Who you need depends on a few things:
  • The state of your product design (UX/UI) and documentation. If you have a well documented MVP, you can probably do with a strong iOS or strong Android engineer. If you don't have use cases, wires, flows, and a decent handle on your tech requirements (backend/API etc) - then you should find a product design + engineering team.
  • Your funding and venture stage. If you need a prototype with x users/transactions to convince investors to come into a Seed round, then you can build fast (PhoneGap can work) and get past your proof of concept stage.
Happy to talk for a few minutes if that would be useful for you.


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