FINDING DEVELOPERS by Jason Ashton (an ITEN Mentor)

Since a large majority of tech startups today involve some kind of Application Development (App Dev) I find it troubling that so many startups that I’ve mentored and/or hear about, struggle so much with finding (and keeping) application developers that “work out” or more importantly, “align with” their vision.

I’ve seen quite a few startups that have amazing, viable ideas/businesses, only to end up failing or staying in limbo land forever because they are changing App Dev resources so frequently.

The fact is – you really don’t want to change ever if you don’t have too!

You may be asking yourself “okay, so how do I change this for my business?

Unfortunately, I don’t have one answer or a single solution for that matter. However, I do have some advice based on my experiences and the experiences of many startups throughout the country.

(Side note: I am currently tossing around some ideas that might help STL startups with these very struggles…. more to come on that front).

My advice is:

  • Be smart about choosing your developers.
  • Create a baseline for what you want to accomplish.
  • Can you accomplish what you need by contracting or do you need to bring in a partner (or sweat equity, etc.).
  • Make sure it also aligns with your vision (even if that changes over time).
  • Be sure whoever you hire absolutely understands your vision/goals/expectations – and you theirs.
  • It’s important to manage this relationship or you’ll wake up one day only to realize that you’re going in one direction and your developers are off on their own path.

Remember, just because someone says they can develop or code – doesn’t mean they are qualified to help you actually build your vision into a viable company – very important!

Quite the contrary in many cases. Consider this: You might find the best developer in the world, and seemingly, they can do exactly what is needed – but if that developer isn’t on board to help you build your empire – you’ll find yourself zigging while they are zagging sooner than later.

However, in that same scenario – you could have your vision and expectations clearly defined and presented to this developer, making sure to learn his/her vision and/or expectations and be able to align both to create a win – win.

In summary:  know what you want, articulate this to anyone you consider for this venture.  This should be part of your business plan or at least given that much consideration – IT’S REALLY THAT IMPORTANT!

Until next time,

Jason Ashton