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Re: [Developers-Entrepreneurs] Co-Founder wanted

From: Prash
Sent on: Saturday, September 7, 2013 3:14 PM
Hi All

Interesting discussion and some good advice. But I think some of the advice is counter productive. Kwesi, I hope you can decipher which are which and hopefully my comments below will help. I have read many articles and books to come to my opinions.

On the face of it it seems like I'm in a similar position. I'm a non-techie entrepreneur with a prototype, cust dev, competitor analysis, market research and other business related work done. I am confident I have validated the business (www.localoids.com)

I too have just started looking for a co-founder, but not a co-founder straight away. I'm looking for a 'potential' co-founder. The reason I want an eventual co-founder (and not just hire a developer) is to have a partner in the business, someone to bounce ideas off, help with testing, bugs, iterations, analytics and pitching (Investors look for a team). It's very difficult and costly to go it alone if you are a non-techie.

I think the following approach I'm taking is fair for both the tech developer and business developer. I'm looking for a 'potential' co-founder who I will pay to complete the website to a full featured, high spec and fully designed state. 'If' the developer is good, we get along well and we both have passion for the business then we can discuss any mutually beneficial co-founder relationship. This way, at the very least, the developer is paid for their time and I will end up with a completed website. Sounds fair to me. Here is my full ad (http://bit.ly/17q4AeV)

If I'm not able to find this person in the next few weeks I will hire a freelancer (or perhaps an agency) to complete the site, then I can push ahead with bringing on users and building traction. I can then look for a 'potential' co-founder again, when I have even more to offer. 

In terms of learning to code, I think this is a waste of time and effort for a non-techie. It takes quite a few hours to learn to code, even just the basics. Once you have learnt, can you build a quality product? And how long will it take you to build compared to an experienced developer? I think you should concentrate on what you are good at (building the business) and hire a talented developer to take care of the tech side. That said, it would be beneficial to learn enough about building a website so you know what you are talking about.  

Another point I wanted to make is that it seems some developers want things all their own way, but some have a very fair and positive outlook. For a healthy co-founder relationship to work there needs to be a fair exchange of value, which both sides understand and appreciate. To have the mindset that an idea is worthless is ridiculous. All business start with an idea, then are executed and managed. Many developers don't have their own ideas to work on, so need an ideas person. Development of ideas takes a certain creativity and many hours to hone. As well as this, a MVP or prototype, strong cust dev, competitor analysis and market research also helps and takes a lot of time and effort as well as capital outlay. Following this, I think a validated idea has a huge amount of value. Developers need to understand this. 

Also, all business have an element of risk. An ideas person takes on risk with the business as well as taking on a potential co-founder. To think that developers are the only ones taking a risk is crazy talk. And both sides are taking on opportunity risk. I myself have just quit my job in Investments to work on Localoids full time, giving up a good salary and bonus. 
 
I hope this helps Kwesi. Well done on coming up with your idea and building on it. Keep searching for the right person for your business. Good luck!

Cheers

Prash



Prash Lagisetti | Mobile : [masked]


From: Luke Hamill <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Saturday, 7 September[masked]:13 PM
Subject: Re: [Developers-Entrepreneurs] Co-Founder wanted

Useful discussion going on 

Kwesi whatever you do will teach you lessons on way or other and tomorrow you'll make more informed decisions 

Act now get perfect later 


On 7 Sep 2013, at 08:32, Ali <[address removed]> wrote:

 > Why do we have developers not willing to take risks?

I can think of plenty of programmers or perhaps technicians that were/are willing to put their work into business ventures without a guaranteed paycheck.

 > Isn't that what business is all about?

Calculated risks that are likely to deliver a good ROI for resources invested, sure. Blindly going along with one of the thirteen emails you get a week from an "ideas guy" who needs a technical co-founder to build the latest figment of his/her imagination is not that. A year of an experienced developers time is worth around 70k in opportunity costs, double that if you run your own projects and manage other developers, so you'd be a rather inept business person to throw that away without a great deal of deliberation and assessment of your non-technical co-founder. 

Without a personal connection, recommendations, social proof, track record or a few years of working together, I'm not likely to put much faith in any non-technical co-founder that pitches work for equity. I'd be happy to build your MVP for you at my regular daily rate though (and trust me, there's plenty of risk involved in that). Your sales pitch for bringing on developers in this way has to be as good if not better than the one you give to investors (who will usually pony up seed capital if you just read a list of buzzwords to them in the meeting).

A strong suggestion: learn to code just enough to get your prototype out the door. It will be a buggy, insecure and perhaps ugly version of your ultimate vision, but you'll have something to start getting traction off of. Once you're that far along, have real life users and start bringing in revenue, you can hire an experience dev to do a rewrite or perhaps iterate on your prototype. I've personally witnessed four web-based startups go down this path and come out on top with the original founder keeping 100% equity (which is great for them!)


On Sat, Sep 7, 2013 at 3:47 PM, Victor A Aladekomo <[address removed]> wrote:
Excellent comments all!  
Some difficult questions - Why do we have developers not willing to take risks? Isn't that what business is all about? You might as well stick to your pay cheque with Apple, Google, etc.
Please don't get me wrong....
Kwesi, you might want to consider mix of equity & some pay for the right developer(s).

Best regards,
Victor

Sent from my HTC



----- Reply message -----
From: "kt" <[address removed]>
To: <[address removed]>
Subject: [Developers-Entrepreneurs] Co-Founder wanted
Date: Fri, Sep 6,[masked]:28


Has anyone of you browsed through his website before? 
www.imakethathappen.­com

I actually think that his proposition is quite good. As he mentioned before he has been working in events and arts industry in the last 10 years so I assume he knows the people in the industry and the painpoint of the industry well. With some trials and errors method he may be able to make it a viable business (but it will take a lot of hardwork). 
I totally agree with Sam and Emily that it is not a good idea to give out equity to a developer for building the web application at this early stage. Kwesi, maybe you can try to hire one of the developers in this group instead. I am sure there will be some developers who are willing to help out with a reasonable fee. 

Please don't be put off by some of the comments here - keep trying/changing until you find the product/market fit. You never try you never know.

All the best!

Kah

On 6 Sep 2013, at 22:26, Sam Livingstone <[address removed]> wrote:

Dear all,

I am not sure I have ever heard of someone agreeing to inject equity into a business basis one single short email.  To be frank, such haste decision making would mean me labelling them quite a serious business risk.

Forgive me if I speak out of turn, just my 2p worth.

Kind regards,
Sam


On 6 September[masked]:03, Emily Ferguson <[address removed]> wrote:
Dear Kwesi,

I wouldn't be so hasty to give anyone equity until both parties have proved that they can have a strong working relationship and both bring complementary skills to the table. Start your business slowly, hire a good freelancer who will be a fraction of the cost of an agency. This way when the business is more established you will be in stronger position to understand what you and your business needs from an equity partner. What you think you want now is not necessarily what you will need when the business is more established. 

Good luck with your start-up

Kind regards,

Emily 

Sent from my iPhone

On 6 Sep 2013, at 08:02, "Kwesi Johnson" <[address removed]> wrote:

Hi All
 
My name is Kwesi I'm an entrepreneur and have worked in events and the arts for over 10 years.  I'm looking for a front and back developer to move my website to the next level and implement the more detailed ideas I have for the site.  I'm offering an equity share in the business.
 
I Make That Happen
Happen enables users to sell tickets for live events and never lose money. The potential audience make the events happen by purchasing advance tickets to attend the event. When the ticket Target is reached, the event goes ahead - it's that simple! Whatever the users passion and they want to create an event, Happen saves them the risk of losing precious money and time by starting a campaign at inception stage. The audience support the campaign and the user knows how popular the event will be, ensuring its success and their profits.





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