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Doug Nebeker ("Doug")
Do any of you have experience hiring someone to program a complete app for you that you then owned and sold? How did you go about finding a programmer?
I have an idea for a simple (I think) iPad/iPhone app that would be useful to a specific type of small business.
My thought is to try to find someone to program it from a site like Elance or oDesk but it occurred to me that I'd have to put the idea up there to do that and someone else could copy my idea. Am I being paranoid? I suppose most ideas are out there in one form or another regardless.
I also have the impression a lot of people on those sites are flakes, but I haven't done any market research on the software yet. I think it would sell but not be any huge cash cow. I would not want to invest too much so maybe that type of site is my best option.
I would recommend you check out the following book:
Appreneur: Secrets to Success in the App Store
2013 by Taylor Pierce
It is a great book like Bob Walsh Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality from somebody who has actually done that and also has the talent to write in an interesting and easy to read manner. It includes a section about hiring developers, pitfalls etc and answers alot of other questions you will have about developing an iPad/iPhone app
Finding competent software engineers who can come up with good architecture and write well maintainable code is very hard in the "normal" job market already. Finding them on a market place where the discriminating factor is the hourly rate (lower = better) seems like a gargantuan task.
I usually use eLance & co. to outsource graphics work (because if it looks good it is good) and smaller code parts. Like "I need a library where I pass in a bunch of floats and get out another bunch of floats". That's something the average "coder" can do without creating too much mayhem.
But hiring someone to build a full app? Maybe if I wasn't running a software business and wouldn't really care about code maintainability and stability of the resulting product. If I was a hair dresser and needed an iPhone app to give away for free to my customers I'd hire the next guy from eLance.
But building a software product that I intend to sell to customers? I'd prefer to let a full time employee do this.
Now the exception: If you just need a MVP/proof of concept then yeah hiring someone from oDesk & co. isn't the worst idea. If the concept works and sells you can rewrite the software (yes, yes, I know - whom am I kidding). If it doesn't then you just spent a few thousand dollars that you can deduct from taxes. But most importantly you didn't waste your irreplaceable time.
tl;dr it depends
My only concern is whether you're trying to make money on this app. So few people make money in the app store. If you're not in the top 20-30 apps in your category few will even find you. So it becomes an issue of advertising.
Now if you're doing it as a companion to a service, book, another app, etc. then you've got a built-in audience and don't need to worry too much about someone stealing your idea.
As far as I know, There is no easy way to just put a little project on e-lance and get another guy to do some graphics and the website and then whip it into a business that makes you consistent, effortless, revenue that will have an impact on your life.
I have often fantasized about just such opportunity, but I don't believe that it exists.
Anything I have every done worthwhile took at least one year of insane effort. And then a lot of post launch work as well.
I like to be completely terrified of my new projects, challenged beyond my capacity, and forced to learn and grow in many ways from the experience. This way even if it fails I grow and am better for having done it and gave it my all.
Is that how you feel about this project?
The best place to do so is sites like Elance/Odesk(its owned by elance now), etc. All you have to do is post a job that contain the technocal requirement of the job leaving out the idea part, then the proposals will start flowing. Now you have to chose among those proposals, profiles and engage via messages/skype/etc to know more about them and their Ideas.
The risk of Idea being stolen is there but you can ask them to sign an NDA before explaining the whole idea. Most of developers will be more interested in consulting and not launching the app themselves but still the risk of Idea being stolen is there, and fighting a NDA case with someone outside your country is not an easy task. But you have to take risk if you are looking for better cost deal. Most of them will be interested in developing it rather than developing the idea for themselves. I am also an app developer and had used Elance in past to get projects, two of my client gave me proposal for developing the app being a partner, both are good ideas but i was more interested in developing for my fee rather than as a partner.
Company next door does custom product development all the time, including lots of mobile apps. They are in the top-10 on Elance, so not cheap, but, at the same time, putting such reputation at risk by stealing a client's idea would have been crazy. It is simply not their business model.
I know at least one other local company that would be a good fit. Both companies have representative offices in the US, if that helps. Email me if interested.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
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