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I liked this rant, immature as it might be.

Just about every month, some business student will come to me and say they've got some "amazing idea" and just need someone to do the work of implementing it.

Before I even hear their idea, I do a simple mental calculation.

First, I have to see their skills at least exceed mine in the same areas. For instance, I'm a competent but mediocre designer and marketer in addition to being a programmer. They better at least match that and have actually worked on (and finished!) some project that they started themselves.

The person needs to be as competent in their supposed field as I am in mine. The value that people who are good at selling and networking bring is incalculable, I'd kill for a co-founder that could bring that. But they have to be as crazy and devoted to it as I am towards my coding, or else it just can't work.

Maybe that's why I suck at finding people to work with. :(

Send them to an outsourcing site. Tell them you'll offer a competitive rate. Most of these guys won't think of spending a dollar.

I wouldn't work for rates "competitive" with those at eLance or Rent-A-Coder. I've done projects through those sites, and despite explicitly stating, "Don't bother with lowball offers--we're looking for good work, not low prices. We are developers, and we will be judging your experience and code harshly." I still got bids of 150 bucks for a project that I would have billed a weeks worth of hours for. They, of course, would do a horrible job, and not even worth that much...but you shouldn't try to compete on price with those folks.

In theory, but we're talking about guys who think that you love programming so much that you'll just work for some of their worthless equity.

True. Asking any amount is probably enough to weed out the folks who think hackers are inter-changeable and completely devoid of business ideas or acumen. Of course, you can also just say, "No thanks, I'm working on my own idea for the time being. Best of luck to you, though." That's what I do.

My strategy has always entertained me because the guys I've known were so thrilled about their rediculous "world changing" idea that they were crushed to find that hardly any outsourcers were even interested:)

Yours will work well enough, but I also like to test to see if anyone is actually determined enough to go through all this trouble and carry out their plan anyway. Serious entrepreneurs are very few in this part of the country...

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