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Ready set code
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The Grey Offline
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Post: #1
Photo Ready set code

I'm in the process of building out a new digital platform. For a certain infant industry we process data into actionable conclusions. I know this industry pretty well so I'm in charge of the logic, strategy and overall business part while my partner is responsible for UX, design and SEO.

I have a couple of questions related to solve development.

We have managed to secure development of the first version of the website, but have somewhere between 200-250 hours of backend tasks to be done after that.

We are doing a freemium model where first phase of monetisation is enrolled 2-3 months after first launch (Reason is we wanted to launch as early as possible is validation + be able to do multiple iterations of the solution early on).

Options are:
a) outsource to cheap labor. I've worked extensively with these types of devs in the past as an employee. This will cost a lot of management time in documentation, planning and quality assurance. They will execute code 90% as ordered at best and you have to think on their behalf. Benefits: It's relatively cheap, flexible and I know what I get

b) find a strategic partner. I don't know how to structure this. I know 'you'll probably get paid a few months in case it succeeds' kinda deal stinks ass.

c) find investor. Great to outsource risk like this and use someone else's money, but I assume time consuming.

We're open to invest a bit into this, but I want it to be lean and profitable as early on as possible. I have strong business experience, but I've never been in a position to deal with exactly this so if any of you fellas have some sharp advice here that would be most welcome.
(This post was last modified: 09-16-2018 01:08 AM by The Grey.)
09-16-2018 01:07 AM
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Celestial Offline
Recovering Beta

Posts: 151
Joined: Feb 2016
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Post: #2
RE: Ready set code
Sourcing software engineers is tough, especially in this market where the best ones (i.e. the ones you'd ideally want) are being chased by Google, Facebook, Airbnb etc. Problem is, when you go lower there are many more engineers available but you're cutting somewhere or another, whether it be on development speed, ability to architecture large-scale systems, significant experience, very difficult to work with, etc.

When you're starting out, it's very important to consider the cost of mis-hiring or doing low quality work. It seems like you're at the stage of building the MVP, and want to consider if it's worth cutting costs for that. My advice, don't do that. This is where the company is fragile and you're trying to determine a million other things (does the product have demand, is there market fit, can we sell this). The last thing you want to do is add another complication of having incompetent engineers messing up the product in the early stages. The cost of a mis-hire or these mistakes of producing low quality work goes down as the company matures.

If you're idea is very solid, my advice would be to get Venture Capital funding from a VC firm that has a track-record of funding successful tech startups, and you can use their connections to get in contact with strong software engineers to build out the product.

If that doesn't work, you can try to hire a very strong CTO, someone who has connections with other software engineers, has experience in building out teams, is also a strong developer, etc. Here you run into the first problem I mentioned of not being able to attract them away from Silicon Valley, but in exchange for equity it might be possible.

Finally, you could try and outsource it, but be warned, the quality can be terrible. You do not want to short-cut development and find later on that there are security bugs, the website doesn't scale, etc. If the tasks are truly mundane, such as add an About page, implement Paypal checkout (i.e. tasks that are universal to many websites and there is a well-defined process to doing them and minimal ability to mess up), you might be able to pull-off outsourcing.
09-16-2018 08:54 AM
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the Thing Offline
Chubby Chaser
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Posts: 548
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Post: #3
RE: Ready set code
OP are you open to hiring a CTO for equity?

“Our great danger is not that we aim too high and fail, but that we aim too low and succeed.” ― Rollo Tomassi
Yesterday 04:25 AM
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