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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Any chance for serious contracts for a fully distributed team

Hey guys,

I'm Alex, Co-founder of everywhere.is LTD, a fully distributed team (remote team) of software professionals. We've been working remote for the past 5 years and have rarely seen each other in person. Until recently we've worked as an innovations team for a huge online gambling company and now have gone to create our own company.

Our biggest challenge right now seems to be tracking down "the good customers" as we're trying to do some outsourcing while building our own products. While trying to do SEO for our website and generally build our web presence we're also trying cold emails and gave freelancing sites a shot but these seem to be dominated by "build us facebook for 3k" type customers.
Not being restricted by geography when recruiting talent has always been our way.
What do you guys think? Is there a market for remote teams in the "good customers" area?

Alex Gacichevici
Alex Gacichevici Send private email
Monday, December 02, 2013
I do think there's a market for it and you're making a good start with your communication here. Quite often we get poster here who ask things basically just to get their link in front of people who might hire them. By writing well, not looking spammy and having a link to a frankly stunning website you're standing out from the crowd.

Now, I don't know much about attracting customers for what you're doing but I've hear very good things about using....


... apparently buyers lurk, and if they like your work they might engage you.
Jonathan Matthews Send private email
Monday, December 02, 2013
I didn't find that web site stunning at all; I'm sure it's just me, but I found it annoying and gimmicky. Plus, I don't really care if you are "lifestyle designers".
GregT Send private email
Monday, December 02, 2013
I'm not sure about the market specifically for "remote teams" but I could see benefits in a round-the-clock development team.

What struck me about reading your post was that you claim significant expertise in a specific domain plus global coverage.  This is your differentiator.

Target those clients in your domain first with a laser focus.  You have a proven record AND domain knowledge.

Anything else that comes from the web site is a bonus.

James Crossley Send private email
Monday, December 02, 2013
To stand out of the crowd, you need to have a specialty that is in demand. Given your background, I'd expect you to be fairly proficient in secure online payments, high performance networking, building scalable systems, etc.

You can build something free/open source to showcase your skills and knowledge. If it's really good _and_ useful for business, you'd be able to cherry-pick the most rewarding projects, whether in terms of money or engineering achievements.

By way of example, our pals built this open source Java Card simulator:


which won a Duke's Choice award this year.

To the best of my knowledge, they have no shortage of contract work.
Dmitry Leskov Send private email
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
Thanks for all the feedback guys, I appreciate it.
We have a few ideas for some open source tools as well as for some non-open source tools. But these are our long term plans as we want outsourcing work to sustain us while we build our own products, not the other way around.
As for the life hacker/designer thing, I'm sorry to see people take it so badly, we make these statements very lightheartedly.  All these names and expressions are just a fad but this is the way we prefer to work and run our lives. Oh and surfing 8 hours a day and working 4 is just a myth, in reality our work is our true passion. I realize that might sound cheesy but it's the truth.
There is a good lesson to be learned here, match your audience mentality instead of pushing yours on them, but that seems very sales-ey  and will probably backfire :)
Alex Gacichevici Send private email
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
> Any chance for serious contracts for a fully distributed team

The real answer: Not really, unless you develop specific contacts.

The problem is exactly what you are experiencing. There is an overflowing abundance of small virtual contract houses, and there is no way for a client to vet any of them. So there is little opportunity to stand out. The usual advice is to "niche" and to publish content, but it's an incredibly crowded internet.

The heart of the problem is that your desired target market is not looking where you are right now. My experience has been that really serious B2B buyers with budgets in the 10s or hundreds of thousands don't look for providers on the web or on Odesk and certainly not on social media. They ask someone they know, in their own network, for a recommendation.

The smallest companies and solo entrepreneurs like mISVs do look on the web and on outsourcing sites for contractors. But as you noted, they have no money.

Your best tack is probably to target some businesses that you'd consider good potential customers, and market to them. Try to find out how to get inside them and speak to procurement. Using the phone, not email and other geek ways to dodge human contact.
Profit and Loss Send private email
Friday, December 13, 2013
I am a medium sized business looking to spend <=$5K for a web based software application. ( I already looked at your site, so I know that you specialize in Web Apps.)

First I google Web + (Apps or Applications or Games) + (Designer or engineer or  builder)

I looked at your site's source code. Haven't you guys ever even heard of SEO? You are marketing yourself as Internet Pros, aren't you? You should get Climb Digital to work over your site.

You are not even on the second page of any results. Somehow, I find your site. The first thing I see is that you are hiring, probably to busy to take on any more business until you fill your openings. Or maybe you are a terrible company to work for and just can't keep any good programmers around.

I am a business, I do know about employee issues. Don't wave your HR problems in my face.

I am now looking for a job in the web domain. I found your site (somehow) and peek at your source code. What a bunch of kids, using ASCII art in the code. Forget it.

Your website from a potential client's POV:

You need to hire some one = Bad
Experts at node.js; What is node.js? Never heard of it, can't be mainstream = bad
CSS and html. Well it is a web app I want = null

Scrolling down = bad
A bunch of examples of your work = good
(I only researched the Web Site examples. Presumably, this section is representative of the apps and Games.)
None of the "pages" are actual examples, but 7 of the nine have links to websites. Two of the links are duplicates of a gambling site, (opps, this guy is risky and exagerates/lies,) one is a linkless Splash page, and all of them have a depressing similar look and feel. = Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad.

Scrolling down = bad
Two circles. Hunh?!? = Bad

Scrolling down = bad
Big #1 in a dot with content on left and right sides = null
Left Side: Hear. "Software is the most versatile material you will ever work with." Umm... NO. I will never work with software. That's why I'm hiring you. = Bad
Right side: Understand. "If you are live the stakes change." What are you talking about? nevermind, skip it. = Bad

Big #2, Left side para 1 = good
para 2 = meaningless = bad
right side. I skipped #1 so this too is meaningless = bad

Scrolling down = bad
#3, left = real good
Right side. No I just tell you what doesn't work and you fix it. = Bad
Honesty = null

Scrolling down = bad
Who we Are. Nope, Where you are.
You don't have a B&M office and you are scattered all over the world. = Danger, Will Robinson! DANGER! Untouchables!

Scrolling down = bad
More of same = more of the bad.

From a marketing viewpoint, if your web site wasn't de facto invisible, it would be terrible. For a company specializing in Web technologies, it would be suicide.

A potential client will distrust everything positive that you say about yourself, BUT, you had better appear professional, honest, trustworthy, professional, competent, professional, caring, handsome, witty, rich, available and most of all, professional.

One "Oh Shit" cancels a hundred "Attaboy's:

A client doesn't really care where you are, after all, it's the internet. BUT, you had better be SOMEWHERE, with a physical address, Lucky you, you can have physical addresses all over the world. That is very impressive.

You have only one point of contact on the site. = BAD. Set up a Contact us page with physical Corp. addresses in every country that has an employee you trust to forward snail mail as appropriate. Include a land line phone number for each. Train them in appropriate Phone Screener techniques so they appear to be a Corp emploee while the transfer the call as needed. Corporate Email address for each such corporate office. Have Corp Headquarters contact points with all the above + 800# and Fax. Emplace as many points of Contact as possible = Big Successful company.

regional mail adresses should be like everywherequebec@everywhere.is. The Corp HQ addresses should be marketing@, sales@, support@, accounts@, etc

Corp officers should be listed with email addies like jnorth@ or all such should have the same address; contact@...

Big Successful company.

"We are passionate about our trade.  We want to leave a positive impact" would look great under your logo. Wait, you don't have a logo. Never mind.

Follow the POLA on your own website. (That is unless your market is limited to the young and outre.) If your market is stodgy old businessmen, stick to the basic standard Corporate look and feel. Show off your artistickness in the "What We've Done (meaning SOLD)" pages.
Sam Tyler Send private email
Friday, December 13, 2013

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