|A few weeks ago I posted an Ask HN about what to do as my 3 next steps on a startup concept, and now I wanted to provide you with a quick update. http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2223764|
Based on some of the advice and information I received I decided that imperfect action was better than no action at all, so I went to my local San Diego Ruby meetup. I had some lengthy discussions with some of the folks that I met and concluded that as non-programmer attempting to manage full time hires was not practical and that subcontracting vs. full time was an appropriate next steps.
I then asked for recommendations, and along with a trusted and experienced PHP programming friend did some interviewing of the local talent. With the average cost estimates, timelines projections and learning curves - I figured it was time to expand my search rather than risk it with the two person companies that I was finding in San Diego.
I reached out to every provider listed on http://rubyonrails.org/ecosystem plus a list of people that they recommended to simply schedule an initial call.
My result, I was able to speak to 6 of the 17 providers that I called or emailed - the others did not even respond.
A few of them "disqualified me" during the initial calls as not having the budget, they suggested other trusted providers and sent me on my way. They did not get out of bed for less than $150,000 on a rails app and an additional $60,000 for the iPhone component. I certainly do appreciated them not wasting my time.
I had three fantastic conversations over the next two weeks and one of them said they said it was an awesome idea however they were not inspired to work in XYZ industry, but again I asked for the referral and called another set of providers.
After each of the calls and rejections I learned a ton about the vernacular and language of communicating my ideas to development teams and what is expected from the clients perspective in order to work effectively in an Agile environment.
So I refined my Keynote presentations, update my strategy and then something huge happened - I realized that part of the reason that I was not inspiring the providers was that I was not talking to them in the language that they wanted to hear....I was pitching business cases and they wanted 'user stories'.
So with the help of youtube / google I was able to get an immersive indoctrination into the distinctions of user stories, story carding, the differences between agile and waterfall / scrum and about 7 other Evernote notes full of info. After a few hours I was actually able to pick up the concepts and I have been giddy ever since.
Now I am not saying that I have ANY experience with the process, but it most certainly made sense! So I ended up building story cards and calling the providers back and communicating with a common language. What a difference that has made.
It may seem simple to those of you that do this for a living but because I did not want to use something as complicated as Pivotal Tracker and I needed to build cards really efficiently that I could sort and that the providers could have access to. I was unable to find any templates for the tools I already had so I build my own version in Keynote. (the template is located here if it would help anyone - http://bit.ly/i1phXs)
I am talking to my preferred provider tomorrow to see if we can hash out a plan and I have put my investor on hold until we all know what we are in for - both in time, and money.
I recruited the CFO of a company that I used to work for to build a financial model based on some projections and API costs and things have really come together nicely. I have also been following the advice and formatting of the "applying to ycombinator" - not because I intend to apply but it does ask some very important questions and provides great insight into the getting to the "why" of the project. (who knows, I might just click the submit button on Sunday after all of this effort)
This has been an amazing four week I have learned a lot - but it seems like a lifetime of experience 36 years :-) are really coming together to move mountains.
Thanks to HN for all the great insight and articles. As things progress, I will most certainly let you know.