Disclosure: I am not a technical founder or a developer. I have a “business” background in tax accounting and sales. I have zero intention of becoming a developer.
- Asked friends -> friends are lazy.
- Asked Pakistani guy -> Pakistani guy was from Pakistan…
- Met Chris -> Paid Chris
- Chris became my partner.
I’ve been interested in getting into the New York City startup community for quite a while, but I needed a developer like every other aspiring non-technical founder. Last year, I began searching for options to either find a technical cofounder or outsource the development.
I initially began talking to my circle of friends which included a good number of developers because KPMG has an entire department of developer’s in its back office in Montvale, NJ. I was sent there to develop the business logic for their tax product that was behind schedule and over budget. While saving that project from Armageddon I worked with a number of talented people, but quickly realized that these people were “lifers.”
Lifers are people that typify the unmotivated and the office politics bullshit. Thus, these developers had the skills I wanted, but also had the complete mentality I was looking to avoid.
I considered on outsourcing the development to Pakistan because it’s obviously – dirt cheap. I had a lead on a developer in Pakistan from Noah Kagan, who was gracious enough to help me find the technical help I needed.
He was fair and upfront about the quality of Pakistani developers in general, but suggested that it was a great way to get a beta or demo product to market. The Pakistani development company quoted me a $10 dollar an hour billing rate and expected the project to run approximately 180 to 200 hours for a total cost of $2,000 dollars or less.
I had negotiated everything and obtained a quote, but there was an uncomfortable feeling in my gut that kept saying that this guy wasn’t the right choice. I agonized on whether to just pull the trigger and take a chance to see if he’d produce anything usable. Ultimately, I decided against it because I wanted quality over quantity. As a professional service provider, I’m very aware that you get what you pay for and I wanted quality, so I decided I was going to pay for quality.
New Work City:
I had stumbled my way through another month looking for the technical talent that I needed. As a person that has zero technical expertise, I was honestly terrified to hire anyone because you just don’t know enough to be sure if the person you’re hiring is providing you a quality product. Trust was the main issue that I was having. At the end of the day, I was looking for a developer I could trust to not screw me over.
I ended up going to a New Work City meetup where they were having a movie night showing “Sneakers” on a random night. I met Chris at the meetup who’d been a previous technical cofounder and we were able to relate because of our similar backgrounds. I later found out that Chris moved from California and had just arrived in NYC two days, so it was a really serendipitous for us to happen to meet.
I ended up hiring Chris because I felt like I could trust him.
While we discussed my project, Chris was really helpful in providing me the technical insight of where my pain points would be and what the best choices for my web app were. I trusted Chris so I was comfortable with any suggestion he made as long as it fulfilled the ultimate goal. (Very important for later) Essentially, I told Chris what I needed the application to achieve and I left the rest to him to decide in regards to functions, features, programming languages and etc. all things that I don’t care about.
Chris and I agreed on a price that was more than five-figures or more than 500% more than the Pakistani quotation. But, I was more than happy to pay this amount because I knew that I was buying quality and peace of mind. It never makes sense to half-ass your way to the top or to reproduce the wheel. I was always of the belief that you should do it right the first time.
Fast-forward a month later…
Chris and I became partners. While discussing and working on our project, Chris told me that he moved to NYC pretty suddenly because he caught the startup bug and felt that it was something that couldn’t wait. After working with me, he saw that I was pretty good at handling my business and that I wasn’t another one of the three-blind-mice trying to find the cheese.
I had 5 to 10 paying customers or users waiting on the product to be finished, so the product was cash-flow positive from day one. The price point for the product on the low-end began at $100 dollars a month, so it was a profitable SaaS product. Also, I started a company about a year before I met Chris that was generating $40,000 dollars in net profit that I still own.
Thus, Chris offered me a simple proposition. We both had our ideas and he’d be willing to work together as partners on our ideas.
I stumbled upon a co-founder.
Chris later told me that he decided to work with me because of a few reasons:
- Like Mike Monteiro, Chris said “Fuck you, Pay me” and I paid. (Obviously, he didn’t really saying fuck you lol.) He quoted a price and we negotiated, but I didn’t disrespect him by asking for a 60% discount. I was realistic and told him what my budget was and he worked with me. More importantly, I paid him 50% upfront to show that I was serious and the rest over the next month. Nothing talks like cash money.
- I respected his expertise. I didn’t give him bullshit and I trusted him to make the right decisions for my product. Technical founders or developers all hate, when people question their decisions and nit-pick at every detail because it’s a waste of time.
- I had experience creating and running a profitable company by myself.
- I’m a tax accountant by trade, so I clearly had the business background and I’d like to think that I’m pretty awesome at my work.
- I already sold my product. Don’t tell people you’re an awesome salesman – just sell. ABC, always be closing.