I'm new here and am wondering if this site is mostly just socializing, or if it actually works for finding business partners?
I seem to fit in with the way they present it. I mean, I am a sales/marketing guy with the right influencer contacts to launch a software product and know what I want built and even have part of it built already. But it seems the good devs are in such high demand, I can't even lure them away from their current work with a can't-miss multi-million first year opportunity.
Are there any success stories here? Has anyone like me actually found a good software dev for a 50% cofounder partnership? Or is there a better platform out there where I can find devs?
David, I agree 100% with what you said. A well executed agreement in advance is definitely what should be done. But at least with the few engineers I've spoken and compared notes with, they've devoted (for example) a year of their life working this as a side job while the other people waited patiently on the sidelines. Then, when the product was finished, the rest of the team would work maybe a month, realize that the product was not going to sell, and then they move on to the next idea. They lose one month, the engineer loses 1 year. This is literally what three engineers told me recently over a drink. For these engineers, they commented that if they ever do it again, they'll have to do it as a "Slicing Pie" type of agreement, where their ownership is based on the amount of work invested. I'm not saying it's impossible to find engineers, just be aware that many have been burned in the past.
Edgar, you make a good point. But I also have to call you out on the fact that if a software developer is getting "screwed" its because he didn't execute a proper contract. Now, granted just because most developers lack the competence on how to go into a start up and have a proper contract in place, does not warrant them being taken advantage of. I actually left working with a CEO as an advisor because of how he treated his engineers. The engineers started supporting me more than the CEO. The CEO's ego came into play as did his insecurity. But the reality is I was looking out for the engineers. Now, do they have the "Biggest" work load? That is debatable from start up to startup, and ultimately the CEO is usually the one taking the biggest risks not the engineers. It should all be a fair exchange of value, and you are absolutely correct too many foolish and selfish startup "CEO's" out there. They are fools, they play entrepreneur, and they are greedy and give entrepreneurship a bad name.
I have run into the same thing but the other way around. Developer who can't find sales/marketing. I have completled product ready to sell and can't find anyone. Might be everyone here has their own ideas.
Is very hard to find a good dev or a good team. Usually, you can find if the dev fit your needs or is good enough for your project, after you did some work with that person/team or you know it from some positive recommendations.
But first you need to know what means a good team for you and how can you keep it good by the end. I will make an example:
A good team will (just examples here):
- have a good communication
- make proposals with more solutions
- deliver quality code
- deliver a project that is functional and tested, etc
To keep a good team on your side (is like in the friendship when is easy to make a good friend but you can also easy lost him) you need to know also the team's wishes in time (also just examples):
- maybe after one year the budget for the team must increase
- the team is dynamic or not, how to keep it stable - dev or team have also needs
The idea is that we are all humans after those computers and to have a good long and stable business relation we still need to think that we work with humans at the end and not only with machines.
This is how on my side work all the time and our teams (we have 2) works on stable projects. And it wasn't easy for us also to get the "good" partner or the "good" client but only with a lot of tries, at the end that word "good" is defined by each one of us.
@Andrew, this platform certainly isn't for socializing. Most people come here to get a single question answered and don't hang out at all. There are exceptions, but a very small percentage. And we're all business, not social.
Yes, technicians are in demand, but so are business people. Perhaps it is your approach that is not winning the hearts of potential partners. Remember that a business partnership is based on risk sharing. What have you already done to reduce the risks for someone joining your team? And are you looking for a no-salary employee who works for a stake in the company, or are you looking for a business partner who shares your vision?
A co-founder is the latter. A gambler is the former. Either way, you need a fully-formed plan with evidence that success is a series of specific steps away, all researched, validated, and strategized.
Your influencers may be entirely the wrong strategy for your product. How do you know it's the right strategy? How have you proven it's can't-miss? How have you guaranteed mult-million dollar revenues in year one? Frankly I don't believe any of it, because it's sounding too good to be true. If it were such a sure thing, everyone would leave and join your party. So, that seems to say you haven't provided a credible plan, only an idea.
It's not the platform that matters when seeking partners, it's the planning. Investors, whether investing their time or their money, are assessing the risk associated with the opportunity. The more work you do to ensure all risks have been tested and minimized, the easier it will be to attract supporters, employees, etc.
My suggestion going beyond doing the planning work is to look at how you would proceed if you had to pay a developer or development team to create your product. Would you define your goals the same way? What would you do first to make some money so you could continue to self-fund the next step?
Think about it from the prospective partner's perspective. What are they left with if your expected customers don't come? How long will they have to starve before they can pay themselves? How much of a Herculean task is it to get to the point where any money comes in? How are expenses until you have revenues being met? Your partner wants security. Lure them with security, not speculation.
I've found that many developers hide from so called "entrepreneurs" because they've been screwed way too many times. In other words, they are promised the world, but at the end of the day they are the ones who carry the biggest work load. So, if you find a dev anywhere, make sure you really make it worth their while. Good luck!
Are you looking for a partner or are you fine to outsource to another firm?
As rightly pointed out before, the developers tend to have a lot of workload. Thus, would be better to be very clear on your ask and then share it to a freelancer.
If you're considering a partner, then more than developing s/he should be taking strategic calls on whether the development is really required and assess how ready firms are for it. Should also be able to develop a team. Now of course initially this partner will have to go through literally developing workflows etc and coding it, but be rest assured work will have to be placed to ensure there's no burnout as well as your requirements and deadlines are met.
I certainly understand that devs don't exactly trust a marketer's claims of certain fortune. Even if it is easy to verify for a person who has any kind of market research and analysis capabilities, especially, as in my case, with an analysis of the existing competition and proposed marketing methods, which seems so simple to me. But I guess that's why devs make software and I do the sales & marketing. Frustrating, though. I feel like there is an obvious pile of gold sitting in an open hole waiting to be scooped out and I can't get the guy with the shovel to see it.
I am a dev myself and have been challenged finding other devs to help with my project even within my network. There is a lot of good talent here on CFL, but a lot of people are involved with existing projects as you suspect. People do find matches here, but it takes time and effort to search for candidates. I have found development help, so it is out there, but I didn't find it on CFL nor was I putting much effort into finding it here -- go figure. Don't overlook freelancers either. There may be opportunities there to work an agreement with minimal cash outlay and there is no shortage of help in that arena.
Hope that helps
"Either way, you need a fully-formed plan with evidence that success is a series of specific steps away, all researched, validated, and strategized."
Got that. It is clear and I can point to others in the space who have done these same exact steps and made millions. No one seems to want to take three minutes and look.