Author Topic: Non-programmer seeking programmer on business idea  (Read 2469 times)

gachillies

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Non-programmer seeking programmer on business idea
« on: December 22, 2019, 06:19:34 AM »
I work in the business world as a CPA in public accounting / private equity accounting. Throughout my career I have had ideas for technology solutions that could bring greater efficiency or value to my industry, but have rarely had the skill set required to implement these ideas.

I am convinced my most recent idea for an enterprise software platform would address some serious needs in my industry, however I don't have the technical skill set to know where to even begin.

Does anyone have recommendations on 1.) how to describe a business challenge and get feedback on a technical solution to a programmer audience? and 2.) Partner with someone who has the technical skills that I lack, but who doesn't have a great business idea and may be interested in a project?

Ideally I want to have some informal conversations with individuals who could be interested in a new project without engaging someone as a freelancer without knowing the technical scope of my project.

LPG

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Re: Non-programmer seeking programmer on business idea
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2019, 11:19:05 AM »
It sounds to me like you need to define the vision for some of these projects, and start getting them in front of people. If they're experts in your field they'll be able to help you define the series of tasks needed to turn your vision into reality, and maybe recommend improvements beyond your plan. Do you know any people with the relevant skills that you'd be comfortable reaching out to?

If/when you do reach out to people, I'd try to follow this general path:

  • Bring up the big-picture concept, and pay attention to their reaction. Are they interested in it? Does it sound like their knowledge matches some part of the project, and that they would know how to tackle the problem?
  • Mention that you're looking to collaborate with somebody to turn this vision into a reality. Do they seem open to taking on freelance work on the side?
  • Create a more defined version of your plan. Do you need to create a user-interface? Does it need to be slick and flashy, or will your market accept something very simple? What information will your information need to accept from the user and/or present to the user? What will happen behind the interface? What calculations do you need the program to perform?
  • Once you have the vision more clearly defined, take it back to the people you talked to before. What do they think of the vision? Do they have ideas on how to improve it? Can they identify the steps needed to create it? Do they have the skills, willingness, and time to make it happen?

If there are a lot of "Yeses" to those questions, I think you might be set to move forward.

By the way, I've done a fair lot of programming for scientific data analysis and simulation modeling. It's a different industry, but I'm sure a lot of the skills and concepts transfer. I'd be happy to chat about it more if needed. DMs are usually the best way to make sure I stay on top of ongoing conversations (I tend to be bad, bad, bad at forums).

ctuser1

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Re: Non-programmer seeking programmer on business idea
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2019, 08:48:11 AM »
I would strongly suggest you get someone on-board with a 50-50 equity or something like that who can code.

If you try to get professional opinion from programmers - you will get estimates that will be appropriate for established businesses, but not for startups.

I once sat down and compared an estimate I sent to a client (this was back when I used to work for a consulting firm), and tried to tally the actual programming tasks *assuming* I coded it myself to have 80% of the most value added features in a Proof Of Concept mode without any of the following:
1. Buffer to spin up a team and knowledge share.
2. 2.5X multiple due to offshoring inefficiency (I used to use 2.5, some other people would go higher or lower).
3. SDLC processes that I could have avoided if I was the solo on this and could cut/morph things as I see fit.
4. Communication overhead.

The final estimate was approximately 21X what it would have been if this was my startup and I was working 20-hours-a-day to spin it up.

If you seek professional opinion, you are going to get the 21X estimate and be unduly discouraged.

What you need is the 1X startup-estimate, that is impossible to estimate precisely and you just jump in and try to build features in the Proof of Concept and see what sticks and what not. You either have to do that yourself (perhaps with a coding mentor who you hire) or get someone equally committed and ready to put in the 20-hour startup days to the task who builds while you fill our the other roles (testing, project management, selling etc).

Sparafusile

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Re: Non-programmer seeking programmer on business idea
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2020, 02:43:52 PM »
As someone who has started multiple businesses as the programmer counter to the idea, here are my thoughts.

I would not accept a new project from a non-technical person with no startup experience at a 50/50 split. You can either pay me a normal salary (at least 6 figures) or you can give me a bigger percentage of the ownership.

Your idea is worthless, only the implementation matters. If you gave a good idea to 100 average programmers, only a few of them would succeed in bringing a product to market. Good programmers are expensive (see my first point) and worth the money.

Your programmer's job will never end. Most people think "all he has to do is write the application and then I wont need him any more", but that's not the case. There will always be bugs to fix, users to support, and features to add. The application development life-cycle is perpetual. This is one reason why outsourcing without any local technical people can be hard to manage.