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Doug Nebeker ("Doug")
I'd like to ask a question regarding cooperation.
I've developed a small app for desktop and now working on similar app for web. The problem is that the data that web app will be using cant be created by me, meaning I don't have that data. So I've approached one company (based in India) which has this data. And they agreed we could cooperate, so from my side comes the development of web app and from theirs the data that web app will be using.
The question is how should we set up the cooperation so to be safe neither side will deceive. Should we go through all the layers and contracts stuff?
I didn't create any LLC and not sure if they have it as well.
Maybe someone has similar experience or can suggest something.
Thanks in advance.
Where are you based? (Not in India, I take it?).
> he question is how should we set up the cooperation so to be
> safe neither side will deceive.
How do you anticipate they might deceive you? How do you think they anticipate that you might deceive them? If you can flesh that out a bit here, maybe you can get better advice.
> Should we go through all the layers and contracts stuff?
Is that supposed to be lawyers (attorneys)? At first I thought you really meant "layers", as in layers of paperwork or something.
>How do you anticipate they might deceive you?
They can take code and get rid of me.
>How do you think they anticipate that you might deceive them?
Maybe they think I can take the data get rid of them.
>Is that supposed to be lawyers (attorneys)? At first I thought you really meant "layers", as in layers of paperwork or something.
Yea, the lawyers misspelling.. And yes I'm based in USA and they in India, so signing the contract can be problematic.
"signing the contract can be problematic"
That's the least of your problems. They have data you need, you give them money, they give you data. That's not a business partnership, it's a business transaction, and if either you or them is looking at this as something other than a business transaction, one of you is going to fail.
You don't need to be incorporated to buy data, in fact you don't need to sign anything. You just have to pay for the data they agree to sell you. You should get something from them in writing that promises to provide specific data at specific times for a specific amount of money. If you don't think they are trustworthy or reliable, find a different vendor for the data you need. Getting a vendor to sign a contract to be trustworthy and reliable is a waste of time.
"the data that web app will be using cant be created by me"
Okay, but why can't they develop the web app? Maybe they don't think there is enough of a market for your web app to justify the cost to develop one, which is fine. So if the amount they charge for the data is less than what it would cost you to collect it, the two of you should be able to agree on a price that you both think is fair. But that's a business transaction, not a business partnership.
Data cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be collected or recorded. If no one collects the data, it still exists. I have no idea what your web app is supposed to do, but it seems to me that you are already headed in the wrong direction.
Howard provides some good food for thought.
@Bane, on the one hand, you're in the U.S. and they in India, and that makes it seem like legal enforceability is impossible. On the other hand, outsourcing from U.S. to India for IT work is done on a massive scale every day, so it must be worth it. Looks like the research on this issue is out there. The question is whether it is right here, on this forum.
I'm confused as to why merely changing the way the app works, from desktop app to web app, requires this new data set--one that is actually worth doing a business transaction (or perhaps partnership?) over. Why is that?
What is your app about? (roughly)
Yea, you're right will clarify few things.
>What is your app about? I'm confused as to why merely changing the way the app works, from desktop app to web app, requires this new data set
The desktop application is an exam simulator with few tests. I've paid one guy here in USA, so he wrote those tests. That was damn expensive but one time buying data is fine.
The web application will be and extension similar to desktop app but just test questions will be bunched in topics and accompanied by lessons. However, there will be much more problems than in desktop app, and will need the lessons as well. So here comes the problem, if I would like to buy those data - I can't afford it even from some Indian company. So I found one company which preps for this exam and agreed to write all the problems/lessons if we share the profit.
>They have data you need, you give them money, they give you data
Can't afford it, hence cooperation comes into play.
>Okay, but why can't they develop the web app? Maybe they don't think there is enough of a market for your web app to justify the cost to develop one, which is fine.
They are start up like me and they do prep classes for students. They said they would like to introduce online classes for test-takers but since they are only 8 month in the market it's too early to digress from their primary business. However, since they are teaching, they already have the database for questions and lessons, all they need to do is to revise it and maybe modify accordingly to the web app needs. Besides there is market for this web app and I'm sure my product will fulfill exceptions of test-takers.
Even without knowing exactly what exams you want to develop a prep tool for, I can tell you still need to look at this as a business. The hard part, which is also the most expensive part, is getting quality questions and teaching materials. Developing a web app to serve the training and testing material is a weekend homework assignment. If your potential partners think your web app developing is equal in value to their tests and training material, their material isn't good enough to get people to pay for it, and even if your web app makes Marc Andreesen look pathetic, nobody* will pay money for crappy tests and training material.
You can make a business out of this, but you need money to get started. You have to spend enough money to convince experts who are already earning a decent living from their expertise, to rent that expertise to you.
*nobody: person or persons who will hand over hard currency for wild promises that a rational person would never expect to see fulfilled. I won't argue whether or not taking money from nobody is a crime, but I will tell you that nobodies are scarce enough that you will have to fight tooth and nail with competitors of equal or lower ethics, and unless you are the lowest of the low, you will fail.
>The hard part, which is also the most expensive part, is getting quality questions and teaching materials. Developing a web app to serve the training and testing material is a weekend homework assignment.
Well, it's not just another quiz app, since test is very specific, besides there are lots of extensions that have been implemented so the web app became more like self-study guide with different handy things to help, encourage and make preps more interesting and beneficial. And it took me 2 month of hard work to develop all this. So yes I think that developing of web app is actually more expensive than writing the prep material since most of the prep material the tutors have is just copied from somewhere and maybe modified lil bit. Their expertise is that they just know what test questions fit the curriculum of the exam and which will be beneficial to score higher. Probably within a month of reading through all the prep books that are available for this test I could became the same expert BUT that takes time which I could devote to further polishing the web app and besides they probably already have all the problem database and lessons because they are teaching students, so why should I reinvent the wheel?
The other thing is that the student can't judge much on the quality of the test questions and prep material, he's making his decision whether to buy the product based on the features, look, credibility and price. Credibility will come with time and all the rest is quite appealing.
>Spending a month becoming an expert sounds like a good ROI.
Expert in the sense that after 1 month I could also pick a test problem and tell whether it fits the curriculum of the exam. Of cause writing lessons is different thing but if needed probably could compile few sources available and make single solid lesson out of it, so that's also not big deal. The thing is - that's time consuming and it will delay the project for at least half a year or more, the other thing is I'm not very enthusiastic about working on problem/lesson database, besides I hate working alone, it's always nice to have a partner you can discuss the business. So that's why I seek cooperation.
But the question for this post was different. I was asking how to make this cooperation safe. Does anyone has a coop with some guy from other country? And if so how are you dealing this?
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