Entrepreneurs and App Ideas
One Entrepreneur’s Story
On a summer night in Boston, Bob Brown got an app idea he was sure would make him rich! For days he thought about it — telling his girlfriend, who loved it, but mostly keeping it hush-hush making sure to not give the idea away. Bob told a few buddies after having them sign an NDA. When friends liked his idea, Bob got real excited but if anyone poked a hole in his idea, Bob got a bit defensive but inside, he lost confidence. The problem was, Bob didn’t know if his idea could even really be done and he didn’t know how to actually get it done. So Bob asked around and finally learned of John, a programmer, through a friend and sent over his NDA. John signed and Bob promptly told John his idea and John was impressed. With great delight, Bob told John he’d be willing to give John a ‘fair share’ of equity if John built it. John thought about it but told Bob he’d need at least some compensation for his time. Bob asked how much but when he heard John’s quote, he decided to hold off. Bob was sure his idea was so good, he’d find someone wiling to build it for free.
Winter was cold in Boston but as spring approached, Bob decided to renew his efforts until one day he received a text message from one of his buddies with a subject “this was your idea!” Sure enough, Bob clicked the link to find someone had launched a company doing exactly what Bob wanted to do- and they were getting some accolades. Well, Bob was disappointed but at least he felt smart! He’d had a million dollar idea.
Another Entrepreneur’s Story
While working with a client, Sue had an epiphany: an app idea she was sure would make her rich! Like Bob, Sue thought about it for days — told her husband, who loved it, but mostly kept it hush-hush making sure not to give it away. Unlike Bob, however, Sue was a decisive person of action and she knew time was of the essence. Sue asked around and learned of Andre, a programmer, through a friend and sent over her NDA. Andre signed and Sue promptly told Andre her idea. Andre was impressed but Sue was more interested in what Andre would charge to build it. Andre thought about it and told Sue he’d need a base hourly rate but would work for less for a bit of equity. Sue accepted and had her lawyer draw up the paperwork.
Andre went to work even before all agreements were in place and Sue was delighted: he seemed to understand her vision perfectly. For several weeks, Andre plugged away late at night and Sue cut him checks as she saw progress. They’d discuss where things were at and Andre was quickly willing to take her feedback. Then one night, Sue realized one of the features wasn’t looking quite right. She pointed it out but Andre dismissed her suggesting his experience dictated it should work the way he’d done it. Sue accepted this but couldn’t get to sleep that night. Another week went by and decided to tell Andre she’d really like the feature to be redesigned to her original request. Andre said, no problem.
The following week Andre sent an email that he’d miss their regular review session due to family visiting in town. The week after that, Sue didn’t hear a word. She sent a few emails and even called but Andre had gone off the grid. Just when Sue was starting to freak out, Andre popped up and explained that his father had been ill and he needed to help with the family but was now back at work. A couple weeks went by before the normal rhythm of their work pace returned. Now Sue had to confront Andre again about that feature that continued to linger without being changed. Andre confessed that he hadn’t changed it because it would set the project back by about 2 weeks and he wasn’t sure she’d want to pay for the changes. Sue asked why she’d have to pay when he’d done it his own way instead of how she’d asked. Andre finally agreed to make the change without charging but pointed out there would be some time lost. Sue felt it was important enough to accept the time loss to get the feature right.
The following week, Andre did not respond to emails or calls again. In fact, two more weeks went by before Sue heard that Andre had taken some time off due to a cold and his girlfriend’s cat had been lost. He said he’d now get to work on that change… Finally, nearly a month later Andre had Sue review the changes. It was better… but still not what she’s requested. Sue had to make a choice. Time was being lost and she was worried Andre might disappear again. She decided to accept the change even though it wasn’t quite right and they were back on track. The following week, however, Sue found a few more problems with functionality and some wording she’d asked to be replaced was still there. Andre skipped another review session.
Sue’s husband, tired of hearing her complaints about Andre, insisted she find another programmer. What was supposed to take 6 weeks had turned into several months and was costing more than she expected and wasn’t working the way she wanted. Problem is — Andre holds all the code and Sue didn’t know (a) how exactly to legally detach from Andre (b) if he’d play nice and give her the code and (c) how long this would all take.
Finally since Sue couldn’t get Andre on the phone, she sent an email saying she appreciated his work but needed to move faster and she’d need to end their agreement. Andre replied a few days later saying he’d need to get full market value for his discounted work effort if she wanted to take the code to another programmer. Sue, now had to face this financial outlay to buy-back Andre’s equity, or leave him as a partner in spite of the fact his work was not done. She told Andre she’d pay a portion of the amount for the code but would leave him as a partner. A few weeks later, Andre sent Sue a zip file with the code.
Sue decided to approach a professional development company after feeling burned using Andre. A few days later, the company explained that there was very little of Andre’s original code they’d be able to use because it lacked the conventions they utilized. They said the code may work but was severely flawed and highly limited in terms of scalability — they’d basically need to start from scratch. The price they quoted Sue was out of her league… and Sue was now afraid to look for another freelancer.
Sue’s project was officially, and indefinitely, stalled.
Devtree Can Help Entrepreneurs
Although the names were changed for the characters above, the people and the stories are real and incredibly common. I wanted to illustrate the challenges most entrepreneurs face when pursuing their app projects. While I realize freelancer websites have spouted up claiming to solve some of these challenges, my co-founders can tell you, first-hand, they don’t. The majority of you who pursue freelance development will hit a plateau and realize a tough reality and difficult transition at a time when you simply have NO margin for error. We understand the plight and can help the serious entrepreneur get their app build in a timely and cost-efficient manner. We know, quite well you’re gambling money you’ve worked hard to earn and time is your enemy.
- Confidentiality. Devtree believes in protecting client confidentiality 100%; however if you want confidentiality, you’ll need to be our client. We’re professionals in this business who hear concepts all the time and can’t just agree to sign away rights for every idea out there for nothing. The good news is, we make it easy and affordable with our Explore Analysis for Entrepreneurs at just $289.
- Verification. Once you go through our Explore Analysis, we’ll let you know if your idea is technically viable. If we believe there are limitations, we’ll try to offer suggestions on ways to overcome such limitations.
- Quote. We’ll give you an idea of the size of your project and if you still feel serious about pursuing it, we’ll get bids from competing companies who can build your project professionally.
- For Free? We can’t usually work for free. Even for the greatest ideas where you plan to raise capital, the pursuit of funding is risky and fickle. It’s dependent on contacts and market conditions that ebb and flow. In order to take that type of risk, we’d require a substantial (and probably majority) ownership stake in your intellectual property until such time you’ve raised the funds to pay our fees.
- Reduced Rate? We prefer to stick to our model of getting you bids from professional companies qualified to tackle your project. However if we really like an idea, we’ll sometimes bid a lower rate on your project in exchange for some level of ownership of the intellectual property to be developed.
Going Forward with Your Project
Devtree recommends you undergo our planning process to assure coding on your project is straightforward and doesn’t begin too early. However once you award your project, the company you’ll work with will be professional. They’ll offer their insights but will always take your direction. If your direction causes a change that harms the timeline, they’ll be forth coming so you’re informed and can make the right decision. Devtree will keep an eye on progress to assure your project continues moving forward and does not stall. Devtree will further protect you by keeping weekly copies of your code base. In the event the project stalls with your programmer, Devtree will find a replacement at no charge and get your project back underway as quickly as possible — even if it requires reworking the existing code base.
Entrepreneurs can avoid the trial and error of working with freelancers by working with us.
Devtree assures the optimal use of time and budget.