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

Difficulty finding reliable developers?

So just some background about me: Though I've been in technical leadership positions for the majority of my career, my current project is my first entrepreneurial venture so I think it can be assumed that I am unwittingly contributing to my current predicament and could use some input. In short I seem to be in a rut connecting with developers to build my MVP.

Months ago, after some time searching, I connected with a developer who was both qualified and excited about assisting me with building out my MVP. We had a month of conversations detailing out the goals & milestones and worked out a SOW while we waited out some funding challenges that I needed to suss out (I hid none of this detail from him ). Two weeks after our last discussion, once I got the greenlight, he disappeared. Even his team mates would't respond though I can't think of anything I would have done to offend him.
I then came across another developer who was both qualified and excited about my project but after some strong early discussion he proved lax in response and unreliable producing even basic output like a SOW or pricing.
I've since had several semi interested folks but cannot seem to connect with anyone both qualified and interested.

So questions:
1. Not being a developer myself, I've heard opinions from either camp stating that I do or don't need a technical co-founder. In my opinion I feel that if I had a personal relationship with a developer from the start who were interested in being a co-founder this would be a no brainer but since I don't wouldn't I run a greater risk connecting with someone who do not share my values? I may not have a full understand of the risk / reward factors here.

2. Where would one go about finding good developers? I've been to FreeLancer, Reddit, Craigslist and dozens of developers forums and have only been able to achieve the above results.

3. Is starting the relationship with NDA a faux pas? I've had several developers flat out reject initial discussion due to my request for NDA review. How do I protect myself if I plan on sharing details of my project?

19 Replies

Sudeep Bhatnagar
1
0
Sudeep Bhatnagar Entrepreneur
Developing iOS and Android Apps for Start-ups & Entrepreneurs, Mobile development consultant
Hello Jim,

Are you partnering with developers on profit sharing basis or for free? I'm asking since most of busy developers don't look for revenue sharing or partnership, but prefer doing it for free. I'm saying this with experience as I'm a development company myself. Let me know what are you offering, and then we can discuss more....

I'm glad to assist anyways with my team, we are into app development business from 2010, and following is our website - www.agicent.com; there is no issue with the trustworthiness and expertise if you are looking for fee based development; we don't take reveshare offering this time.

And asking for NDA is no sin, that is and should be mandatory so much so that developers like us have put such NDA on our website itself; I'm assuming that the issue is arising as you are talking with individuals or a group of individuals and not companies for development. Talking to individuals for partnership thing is okay, but if you are looking for product outsourcing etc then go for companies.

Freelancer.com etc. are nothing but another playground of insanely low cost bidders, been there done that and you may hardly see any quality there. So, utilize genuine networks like this or quora or linkedin to meet and join hands.
Steven Rubenstein
0
0
Steven Rubenstein Entrepreneur
Entrepreneur, Activist, Developer and soon Solver of all the World's Problems
1. Whether you need a technical co-founder really depends on whether you are a marketing company or a technology company. If technical is crucial and your primary differentiator, then you probably need to constantly update it -- in which case a co-founder is better. If building a system that you can market without daily/weekly changes, then you can survive without one.

2. To find developers, referrals are obviously best. Meetups are great -- even just showing up and sponsoring with pizza will probably get you some serious interest! But you need to be more specific as to what type of developer you need, e.g., mobile, web, game, video, general, etc.

3. Having been on both sides of the table, I would walk away from anyone who starts a co-founder conversation with an NDA. If you are hiring me (read "paying cash") then I am potentially willing to sign an NDA, but not before an initial overview.

In other words, tell me about your basic project and let me determine whether it's a good fit for me in terms of time, capabilities, interest, etc. Then if we decide to move forward, I might sign an NDA so you can share the rest of the details so I can put together a full spec and proposal.

But if you want me as a co-founder, that requires huge amounts of trust on both sides. So I would never sign an NDA. It's like asking me to marry you, but before you tell me anything about yourself, forcing me to sign a pre-nup. If you cannot share even a 5-minute overview without an NDA, then you will be quite lonely.
Sam McAfee
3
0
Sam McAfee Advisor
Building Popup Incubators for Corporate Innovation Programs
You are asking three separate questions, each of which have been asked elsewhere on FD. I'd encourage you to read the answers there (maybe someone will post the links?).

1) Whether you need a technical co-founder or not depends on the technical complexity of your startup. Is it an exclusively software play, or are there other more central business components? If you're building a technology-focused company, you will need a technical leader at some point. That said, you can get away with not having a tech co-founder if you can make enough traction in the business with regular services and tools, and only bring in a developer when you have reached the limits of your capacity manually to deliver the service. If you can prove that you can sell a service to people, and that they really want it, before you have built the fancy automated version, you are probably justified in building the fancy automated version. But I would try to get some checks for some cobbled-together manually delivered solution first, if I were you.

2) You might want to read my post on finding a co-founder (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-find-technical-co-founder-your-startup-sam-mcafee). Basically, you need to go in person to where entrepreneurial minded developers hang out. Join some meetups, go to hack-days, work in a tech co-working space. Get to know some of them and what they are about. If you're idea is good, and you have progress to show, you'll attract them eventually.

3) At least here in the Bay Area, NDAs scream lack of entrepreneurial experience. We have a culture (and I think it's spreading) of over-sharing what we're working on. There are a million ideas, and no one wants yours. What matters is execution. If we met in a cafe to talk about your startup (which, as an engineer, happens to me all the time), if you asked me to sign an NDA, I would probably do it. But I would think that you were a little too old-fashioned for me, and likely not pursue the gig too seriously. Hate to say it, but it's really a red flag for me and most of my colleagues.

That's not being flippant. Really, what the NDA says is you're too attached to your idea. If you came and said, "here is a market, and I see an opportunity there," I'd want to work with you to learn about it and crack it open. There are probably cases (and you'll see in the other discussions on this) that people really think you should have an NDA. Maybe this is one of them. I just rarely run into anything like that myself.
Imran Rashid
0
0
Imran Rashid Advisor
Owner, DeltaShoppe
Hi Jim,

Looks like something is not connecting with the developers about your project. May be it is the way you present the project or may be you have simply had bad luck coming across developers who were not really a good fit. Either way, it sucks.

Being a developer myself, I can offer my services. I mentioned in aother thread, I am in the top 1% of Elance developers. Elance is one of the largest portal relating to outsourcing with over more than 200,000 developers.

Even though I consider myself to be pretty good at my craft, still, at time, I find it difficult to connect with "right" clients.

I have signed NDA's with many of my clients and I have never had any trouble regarding that with any of my clients.

So if you want to proceed, you can let me know. I can even connect you to my previous or current clients in the US/Canada.

Thanks.
Jiemin Li
1
0
Jiemin Li Entrepreneur • Advisor
Entrepreneur and Investor
Most of developers are busy with their day jobs. They might be excited at the first, but have a second thought after knowing more about the project, or they are just too busy to support this project. NDA is good, common professional practice. I am not sure what's in your NDA. In the earlier stage, you can try to use mutual NDA. One of my companies offers the MVP development for startup as an investment. If you have an excellent business idea/plan and seek technical partner/investment , you are welcome to give us a call.
Nick Gray
0
0
Nick Gray Entrepreneur
Co-Founder / Sales / Data Architecture
1) Good developers are very hard to find - the quality you require will evidently depend on the technical complexity of your product. I'll happily tell you how complicated I think it is if you want some advice.
2) Try and get a recommendation.
3) An NDA should not be a problem really but its a bit pointless NDA-ing a concept really. Plus if you are not a cash buyer, you need to really try to build a relationship with someone and that's perhaps not the best starting point!

Do you have detailed wireframes of what you require?
Stan Podolski
0
0
Stan Podolski Entrepreneur • Advisor
CEO at Nimble Aircraft.
3. I say, big NO, NO.

To start with NDA is not a good one, you afraid of somebody stealing your ideas? Just ask yourself - how many ideas are floating around, how many ideas are going to be implemented. How many ideas can be sold at the stage of idea (well, 0, obviously). You afraid of big company getting you idea and implementing without your knowledge? Well, you can just try to offer it for free, the answer would be "we are too busy", or "we have something like that"

Or I can put it other way. How many companies were bought by Google or FB and then just put down. Again, it means their ideas were quite good and still can be reused, but how many people tried to reuse it?

So you have two options, try to convince somebody to work for free (ie options) or pay for the services. Even if you can get a developer as a partner, you still would need UX guy, designer, CSS guy, DB architect, sometimes unix admin, sometimes game designer. Of course it would be much easier to lure a tech cofounder if you have done marketing research and can prove you are going to have your early adopters at the beta stage.

Having said that, ping me. If the idea is right and clicks with us, we can offer either reduced price or work for options (ie free). The solution would be the edge of the technology, we work with Meteor, the very new cross-platform framework well suited for both mobile and desktop environment.
Marc Rowen
0
0
Marc Rowen Advisor
Founder & CEO at SquadFusion
First of all, finding the right people overall is hard, so keep that in mind as you face these challenges.

1. The fact that you've held tech leadership positions lessens the need for a tech co-founder, if you don't have someone you trust coming into this with you already. What would they do that you could not do? If you have funding to pay a good developer, but are having difficulty engaging them, you are likely to find you also have difficulty attracting a good tech co-founder. Think about how you're pitching this to them. Why should they be excited to join you, more than other opportunities available to them?

2. Not much to add here. How much you can pay, and your conclusions about question #1 will drive this. I would stay away from freelancer sites in general, from personal preference, if your tech requirements are at all complex. Not that you can't find good people, but it's way more of a crapshoot.

3. Echo the sentiment already here: IMO starting a conversation with NDA is at best probably not necessary and at worst counterproductive. If you start talking with any dev shops, they may actually ask you to sign a mutual NDA.
Jon Clement
1
0
Jon Clement Entrepreneur
Founder at TruthKit.com
Sounds like you've gone into a lot of detail of laying out scope, design requirements and expectations. Though, keep in mind that holding a developer to an exact quote per feature requires a lot of overhead. Half the effort of the implementation is in the design and planning. Ensure you're opened to accept some of the risk involved in developing deep technical solutions by absorbing some of the extra and unexpected costs.
David Schwartz
1
0
David Schwartz Entrepreneur • Advisor
Multi-Platform (Desktop+Mobile) Rapid Prototyping + Dev, Tool Dev
Have you built a prototype yet and determined that you've got a product-market fit?

(People seem to understand that in the world of physical gizmos, a mechanical prototype is pretty much a requirement. But in the world of software, too many folks go from the back-of-the-napkin state directly to MVP.)

Ideas are a dime a dozen. As a software developer, if you come to me with an idea then ask me to help implement it, I'm actually bringing more value to the table than your idea! Besides, there aren't a whole lot of new ideas these days -- just old ideas recombined in different ways. The value-add is in the implementation, not the idea.

Also, people are often focused on the wrong thing as their unique value proposition. I was at a meeting where a guy told us about an idea he had for a unique kind of "wired vest", and he wanted to know about patenting it. After further discussion, is occurred to some of us that while it might be hard to patent the vest, a more useful and restrictive patent might be on whatever means he used to plug the vest into something else. In other words, the INTERFACE, rather than the vest itself. Not being very technically oriented, he didn't really get the relevance of this notion.

The point is, you cannot really protect ideas. You can protect EXPRESSIONS of ideas (via copyright), DESIGNS and RENDERINGS of ideas (via patents), but along the way, the creative people you're working with are the ones expected to take your idea and get it to the point where it CAN be protected.

If you're not paying someone, I'm not sure how much an NDA is going to help, because at some point the creative person may realize there might be far more value in going another direction that you're not seeing. If they're not being paid, you really have nothing holding them back, since you probably don't even want to discuss this other thing because it's not in your focus.

I cannot tell you how many times I've had conversations with founders / managers / marketers about things I'm working on for them where I saw some possibility for the work I was doing that was in another direction and ended up getting quite an ass-whooping for having the gall to suggest something outside of their focus! These days, if I see something like that, I'll feel them out by casually mentioning it, and if they dismiss it, I'll assume they're not interested. These kinds of things are definitely NOT covered under NDA as far as I'm concerned, and they'd have a damn hard time making a claim that they are, especially after clearly and emphatically stating it's not something the company is interested in or focused on.
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?