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Show HN: New platform for finding work - $2000 project minimum (codeyouridea.com)
195 points by anto210 on May 12, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 111 comments

I'm a little confused at the pricing.

Why would I require access to a constant stream of developers to code my projects? Is the supply that bad? Am I running developers out of town?

To me, it seems that you would use a service like this to establish working relationships and then continue to use those same working relationships in the future. In this model, it seems rather silly to pay you a monthly fee, and if I find a coder quickly you're not making much off of me.

The interesting issue is that websites like this are doing the exact same thing that professional recruiters do - playing matchmaker. The problem I have is that if you look at the recruiters that are really good, one of the first things that comes to light is that they our outstanding at building relationships. It's not so much about being selective as it is about understanding need and fit.

My concern is that the very thing that makes the process work well is completely absent on the web. It's hard to assess personality and fit without meeting a person and/or working with them in person.

I wish you the best of luck but I'm not sure if this is a technical problem at all.

Design is really important to me when deciding where to take my business. I love the idea, but the web site could use some serious design love.

For instance: That block of text might be good for SEO, but no one will ever read it.

Also - design for your target customer. If non-technical business owners are your customer, go with a design that makes them feel welcome. Terminal icon? Blocky font? That tells me this site is for developers.

Other small nitpicks:

- The footer floats in the middle of the terms of service page, covering up text

- In the pricing pop up, "Why we charge for CodeYourIdea.com?" is not a real sentence. Eliminate the question mark or add a "do".

thanks! fixing now

I just read the entire block of text. I found it informative. If I was in the market for new work it would have converted me.

Check out the home page: http://www.codeyouridea.com/ :o

I don't necessarily agree about the long text blob however, I had to read that to really understand what he was doing.

Which is the outcome of a bad design. It should make the information better comprehensible.

Launch early, Launch often!

Working on it now - thanks for the feedback!

If I was in either side of this business, I'd gladly lose those who won't bother to read the block of text.

the ampersands on the bottom of the page look weird.

agreed - fixing now.

Justified text looks weird, and I'm sure I'm not the only programmer that despises being called a coder. I am not a coder and I don't write codes. I'm a computer programmer or software engineer.

I think it only looks weird here because the text looks dense and unapproachable. Too much text, too little visual breaks. Justification is only accentuating that problem.

Justified text always looks weird, irregular spacing, it's just wrong. I can't think of a reason to ever use it.

Personally, I find well-hyphenated justified text easier to read than ragged-right text. It is bothersome when a justification algorithm puts too much space between too few words, but that's what hyphenation is for. To the dyslexics and others who are distracted by the rivers of whitespace that run through justified text, are you never bothered by rivers of whitespace in ragged-right text?

+1, ha ha. And I like that (sarcastic, I presume) use of "codes". Seen many people say/write that instead of "code".

Although, strictly speaking, "I write codes" may not be wrong, since, at root, it refers to "I write programming codes", i.e. the codes used to convert human-language statements of intent into stuff that computers can "understand" and execute. But my reference was more to the current usage, which is "my code", not "my codes", for "my programs" or "programs written by me".

Code is always singular, it's never correct to say codes when referring to a programmers work.

This is somewhat hairsplitting, but anyway:

I think you're referring to commonly accepted _usage_, not "correctness", when you say "code is always singular". The phrase "I write codes" (as in, "I write programming codes for a living)" is definitely okay/correct, IMO (for the reason given in my previous comment above) - though no experienced programmer with a good command of English would use it in normal conversation, because it's not colloquial. I was referring more to a situation like if he/she is talking to a layman and happens to use such a phrase, to describe his/her work. Remember, I said "strictly speaking" - and strictly speaking (in other words, pedantically), I don't think there is anything wrong with that statement.

But overall, I get your point. For a similar yet contrasting example, consider this real statement of an ex-boss of mine: "I can tell you what code to write, but I can't write _a code_!" which was both BS and grammatically wrong, of course :-) He did not stay my boss for long ...

Other tidbits:

The '|' on the subhead needs more spacing b/w the two phrases, consider using some other form of visual separation.

The big text fields with small font look weird (& small dropdowns, uneven design). The labels are also misaligned.

Consider using something like: http://www.blueprintcss.org/ As mentioned before, needs serious design love but while doing so seriously consider your target marget and design appropriately. Coders generally don't like prose, keep text brief.

It's good that at least someone is trying to address this. There are no decent freelance/telecommuter oriented job sites. The ones out there are generally geared toward the "let's outsource to India" style gigs -- I really can't compete with Indonesian teenagers for $10/hr PHP work. I have a feeling there is a huge swath of untapped talent out there being ignored by companies who are still in the 20th century and demand on-site employees.

I think you won't find many Indonesian kids in India coding PHP. Indonisia is quite a different country from India, and not particularly known for it's booming IT outsourcing opportunities :P

I did not mean that literally Indonesian teenagers are in India finding PHP jobs. I meant that people in many poor countries (Indonesia, India, Philippines etc) must be competing for these minimum wage programming jobs.

I was just pointing out a mildly embarrassing factual error in your argument (but one that is made frequently); your points remain valid of course :)

I started an outsourcing company in Indonesia... not sure if it was any more or less fraught with problems honestly. Certainly are quite a few people doing outsourcing there though, no idea what the threshold for booming is.

FWIW, I don't think they were saying that Indonesia is part of India or that the two are related.

I could see how one might make the leap logically, but it's not what was being implied. The "India" was part of a descriptive label, and "Indonesia" was clearly a country just picked at random for illustrative purposes.

It's like if I told you I got a scroll written in "India Ink" while in Michigan...I'm not saying Michigan is in India.

I agree! A major opportunity seems to exist in developing a remote work/telecommuting-specific job board. A good one. Like TheLadders for remote/contract/freelance only.

I hate to say it but $2,000 sounds a bit cheap. I'm assuming that most people who want to "code an idea" aren't looking for a WordPress install but something that's a bit more grand and may require doing a spec. If a coder is $50 an hour $2,000 is just 40 hours (i.e. one week): In my experience you'll spend at least that doing bug fixes and QA (even on a small project).

Maybe you should even set the minimum at $5k? If you're not willing to spend $5k on your idea then it can't be a very good idea if you know what I mean. And I say this as a designer who isn't a coder...

We debated this number at length... We don't usually do projects for less than 5k, but every once in a while there is something small and quick that is worth it. We figured start low and if we need to raise the bar we will. Thanks for the feedback.

Maybe projects could be classified as $2K, $5k, $10k, +?

But maybe you don't want more of "every so often" type clients — you should market for the clients you want to get. Do another site for $2k jobs and define what those are (and they won't be "code an idea" -- more like "make me a thingie")...

5k seems cheap too. You might just want to ask for more.

In my experience, software projects always work best when the buyer considers the work to be plain expensive, and the developer feels well paid. Actually, that goes for all sorts of projects.

Pricing is hard and often the only way to find out what is the 'right' price is to experiment and adjust.

This is a great idea, It's hard for people with little tech experience to find a good hacker/coder and it's hards to find clients with a sufficient budget for a project. So here is my biz dev advice..

1) Your concept of screening coders for talent is important, only accept people who can get things done.

2.) Only charge developers a monthly fee. The collective fees should be enough to cover the cost of an ongoing marketing campaign to attract the right businesses and entrepreneurs.

3.) Educate businesses and single entrepreneurs about the cost of projects, and cost of talent and explain trade offs for paying less. Experienced coders may cost more, but they have the experience can work faster, less learning on job....coders who charge less may be less experience, in different time zone, not so fluent in native language, etc. Provide rough estimates based on info on past projects. i.e. Angry brids cost about $150,000 to create. (http://www.develop-online.net/news/37242/Angry-Birds-cost-Ro... )

4.) The education is important and it provides prescreen of potential clients, only accept projects that fall within reasonable guidelines.

5.) Do not charge businesses a monthly fee. as mentioned by MatthewB "If it takes any more than a month to find a dev, there's something wrong with your system." Once developer has been found, charge business/entrepreneur fee per projects because you're providing technical screening service.

Note: So the idea is to take some elements of successful services like elance, etc and raise the bar. setting up useful guidelines and an effective marketing campaign will not be easy.

Only charge developers a monthly fee? Last I checked it is hard to find developers and not hard for developers to find work. I doubt many developers would pay to be listed, I know I wouldn't.

Sure there are many developers who won't need the service, but there also plenty of developers who wouldn't mind having a service to filter out the silly and bogus request. It's not about finding any kind of work, it's about finding the right work at the right pay. The goal is to match quality jobs with talented developers.

> "Only charge developers a monthly fee"

I'd check US employment law first -- here in the UK, I had my first proper startup attempt holed by discovering UK employment legislation that stipulates you can't charge a worker for finding them work - you can only charge the person who ends up hiring them. There are nuances and exceptions to this, such as when someone's contracting via a corp/company etc, but it definitely applies to individuals freelancing, etc. Hope that helps.

That's interesting, there are number of website that have success doing this, Elance, Sortfolio, to name a few. It may be just the way the service is structured, i.e. it's just a listing where employers can find you.

Thanks for the feedback - very helpful!

No problem, I hope it does well. Keep in mind design is part of marketing so take heed to the comments about improving the designs.

You know, having coders or designers submit 30 second videos describing their skills and previous projects is an easy way to differentiate from other freelancing sites. Let non-paying visiters to the site see that as well. I would feel like I was getting a much higher quality batch of bid responses if I was able to see 30 sec videos of developers communicating their skills and previous projects competently in a not reading-off-the-screen way.

Maybe you could get the people asking for bids to submit 30 second videos of themselves too?

I hate the movement toward video vetting processes. It invites discrimination into an area where it otherwise wouldn't exist. Communication skills are important, but for freelance work most communication will be via email, with occasional phone/Skype conversations.

As in racial discrimination? Yeah, I'm sure it will for some. But it's still really useful. For example, I'm sure the videos play a big role in YC applications, although probably not as a first criteria.

Plus it's not like the developers would be talking about something obscure, they would be talking about their core competencies.

Not just racial discrimination, but also discrimination based on one's manner of speaking, confidence, or charisma. Some people don't have English as a first language, undersell their abilities, or aren't comfortable on camera; does that mean they should not get a gig for which they are otherwise qualified? These are exactly the qualities that a video judges.

If I was using this service, I wouldn't be looking for film star charisma, but I would want good communication skills. If someone isn't a good communicator, I'd feel unhappy either hiring them for remote work, or doing remote work for them; there would be too many possibilities for misunderstanding.

There is often a big difference in competency level between written and verbal communication. If most project communication happens through email, how someone communicates on video isn't a good signal for how well they will communicate.

I understood the GP in a different way, complaining about the discrimination of people with 'less capable' social skills.

Presenting yourself in a video might be a challenge:

* You are an introvert/shy guy

* Your written english is fine, but your accent sucks/you are not that fluent

Both (especially the first though) are really no big problems in a business relationship, especially for these kinds of projects. I'd even argue that number one is the stereotype of a potentially great hacker. So - letting guys like these compete in a video contest with people that are more self-confident/marketing savvy is 'discriminating' .

It's not a video contest. It could be just like the YC application videos and the people at CodeYourIdea can screen it to make sure it's just a webcam and nothing car salesmanish. I don't know about other people, but I would appreciate an introvert who could still decently communicate as I would intuitively translate that into intelligence. I get suspicious when the person is a smooth fast talker.

Plus I think the video would be a really big deal for first time solicitors for code projects.

I (hope I) know that's not what you meant. But it still is another hurdle. The skills to do a decent video are mostly irrelevant to the job you want the guy to do (assuming you want a freelance coder. I obviously understand that you're not going to choose a co-founder based on some textfields and a short bio).

Creating a video is the worst way to get an impression though, in my world. If you meet me on the street we can have a great talk and I am quite confident that my english is more than good (though with an accent that I hate) enough to discuss every practical matter. Doing a video call would be more awkward, but perfectly doable. Sitting alone in front of a camera, selling myself to the world with a broad smile? Nope, sir...

I don't think that I'm alone with that attitude and I doubt that this influences my communication skills in a project let alone my coding abilities.

Plus if there is an exchange of at least $2,000 dollars I would like to at least see your face.

I don't understand the motivation for this at all. Please explain.

As ridiculous as this sounds, because I'm human. I like to see the face of the lady that makes my coffee and I like to see the face other people as well. I like to see a name on the bottom of emails instead of just the company's. I prefer twitter accounts with an employee representing the company instead of just the company logo.

The cheaper the project is, the more likely it is to attract weirdos. $2000 is the daily rate of quite a few freelance programmers I know, and the projects they do take longer than a day.

For one $2000 project, people are going to want to see your face. For a $500,000 project, people are fine with email and phone.

This seems to follow the bikeshedding line of thought (i.e. the more approachable something is, the more you involve yourself)?

Since this site seems to be an international offer I see the following counter points:

* Getting $2000 per day is ridiculously high for lots of people. Just think of eastern Europe & India, to name some obvious samples

* Paying $2000 might be a lot as well: Again, thinking on an international. If you live in a "poorer" place investing $2000 to get someone to create your idea might be more close to the $500,000 for your guys (those with $2000 per day have to work 250 days to get there. $2000 can be close to a yearly income depending on your place of work).

And in the end I don't understand that people want to offer remote jobs/telecommuting, but still want to talk face to face. But I understand that this is something a quite personal decision or preference, so maybe this is just to be expected for some people/clients.

Videos just make people who speak English as a second language feel uncertain. And an unattractive or sloppy-looking person may lose a job... even if they're uber-qualified.

I'd say skip the video-thing altogether (unless you want to make it an optional addition to a profile) and jump straight to portfolios.

Portfolios are all that matter. Anyone worth hiring will have a good portfolio.

I want to agree the portfolio is all that matters, but in my experience it's not the first priority for the people hiring. There's a huge pool of people who CAN do the work, and many people hiring can't easily make the determination of quality anyway. Communication goes a long way.

I love this idea but it feels like these types of sites have become overly popular and I've noticed some problems. For context, I'm an entrepreneur with a budget, mock-ups, some angel interest, and I'm having a tough time finding senior development talent (mobile app & camera experience, some web talent). Anyway, if you solve some of these problems I'd get interested in a hurry.

-there's no upside in describing my project to an unknown community, If I describe it blandly nobody thinks it's interesting, if I describe it in detail I've given away our secret sauce.

-black box effect; it's unclear when/if I'll hear from the match-maker service.

-qualifications; while I value other people doing the pre-screens on developers I won't be comfortable unless they pass screens from technical people I know/trust but I seem overly picky and slow to decide if I have multiple interviews with all potential candidates.

For what it's worth, I think if you put more information about yourselves and your qualifications for screening devs it would help soothe these concerns.

I'd suggest using DEBUG = False in the production environment. (Django debug view gives a lot of private informations..)

Exception Location: /base/data/home/apps/ecl-data-collection/1.350367717383270314/views.py in submit_programmer, line 28 Python Executable: /base/ Python Version: 2.5.2 Python Path: ['/base/python_runtime/python_dist/lib/python25.zip', '/base/python_runtime/python_lib/versions/third_party/django-1.2', '/base/python_runtime/python_dist/lib/python2.5/', '/base/python_runtime/python_dist/lib/python2.5/plat-linux2', '/base/python_runtime/python_dist/lib/python2.5/lib-tk', '/base/python_runtime/python_dist/lib/python2.5/lib-dynload', '/base/python_runtime/python_lib/versions/1', '/base/data/home/apps/ecl-data-collection/1.350367717383270314/']

Plus, when DEBUG = True, Django leaks memory.

I'd rename the github field to something more flexible -- at least let it sound like a BitBucket address would be just as relevant.

Also, how about a field for a LinkedIn profile?

Interesting platform. For larger projects, I'm less likely to use a eLance/vWorker type service, and more likely to seek people out via their github/twitter/blog directly..

What is the revenue model here? Do you let me search people, and then I pay you a monthly fee, or do you take a cut?

The former is worthwhile to me; By requiring that users pay $50/month to search the devs, it keeps out a lot of the rifraff.

The later doesn't offer enough utility to be worth a cut of the entire price.

We are thinking monthly fee. Your point on charging to search devs is exactly what we are going for. People won't sign up unless they are serious about building a project.

Monthly fee is nonsense. Charge a project cut.

I agree with this. A monthly fee only makes sense if I have an ongoing and steady need, but the presumption is that this is project work. Your charge needs to be project-based.

Agreed. A monthly fee doesn't really make sense. If it takes any more than a month to find a dev, there's something wrong with your system. That means the most you'll ever make is 1 month worth of fees. Charge a flat fee...but wait until I find my tech cofounder:)

Definitely this. If I have a one-time project I need a programmer for, I'm not going to commit to a monthly fee.

The problem with that is that you want to let them communicate freely to strike a deal, emailing each other details etc. Then they can just negotiate off-site and you're cut out.

I'd like to be able to select more than just one of the "looking for" options. Maybe I'm looking for freelance work in addition to a co-founder with an idea, for example

I second this.

Definitely agree with the problem that this site is trying to solve.

For most large projects it is impossible to spec out the idea accurately and what the client wants changes as the person starts to code. So I think that in many cases an hourly rate makes more sense for the coder and the project creator.

For medium sized projects around $2-10k maybe 20k, then project based work makes sense. Larger than this and a fixed fee is dangerous for the coder. Plus managing the timing of when the coder is paid is difficult.

And yes in most cases if the coder is great, a genuine coder will want an ongoing relationship with the employer.

Also I think it is possible to achieve the same result as your site by using vworker for example but only picking coders with VERY good feedback (the top 200 coders on the web site for example).

Another potential problem is how to you weed out all of the bad coders? If you get 10,000 applications from India, how will you know which guys are good and which are not good? That's probably the most important thing you can do for the employers.

Having said all of that, there definitely is a need, so good luck!

I was not sure about the purpose of the website. On the one hand, it apparently wants to help people with projects find great coders. Great. On the other hand, it appears that it is also aiming to help you find (technical) cofounders. I don't think these are very related so I was a bit confused as to what the actual goal is.

Any thoughts?

Why the monthly pricing? Job boards and freelance sites are traditionally pay-per-post for a reason. Unless you know something that the rest don't, you might want to stick to conventional wisdom here.

Just charge $100 to post a project.

I want a site that charges people to bid. This way you are sure to only bid if you are confident.

$2000 can be a great price or a very bad price. A project which has a budget of $250 is great if it only requires an hour of my time. A budget of $2000 is horrible if it requires 200 hours of my time.

Curious question. How long have you been developing this?

The site - about 3 weeks. The two landing pages up right now? About a day. Working on the design fixes now!

Please don't use "GitHub page". Github is not the only code hosting site out there and many people (like myself) don't use it.

K - will rename to portfolio!

I think something implying: "Online Code Repository" would be better. Portfolio may mean, you want to look at the outputs while you want to check out the "code" or attitude here...

I'd suggest concentrating on the quality of work you will (hopefully) be offering, not the min project price. If I'm a potential employer I'm not thinking "Oh, God, I'm so desperate to find someone that will charge me at least $2K!". Yet, the price is the first thing you throw at my face.

Firefox 4 on windows - The blob of text doesn't have a margin to right, making it stick to the scroll bar and hard to read.

Great idea, I might even try out, but first I need to get a portfolio going. Damn all those closed source projects and non participation in StackOverflow...

There is another variable - the project size. $2000 is not much if asked to recreate facebook.

But it's enough of a barrier to keep out the really low projects.

Compared to people that ask you to program a Facebook clone in 5 days for $200, it's a lot better.

But it is high enough to rule out "do my Comp Sci homework project for me"

I'm always considering building a site like this myself, there's not law of nature that dictates that freelance sites need to be races to the bottom.

The pricing is a little ambiguous, is it free (after the pre-launch period) for coders?

there's not law of nature that dictates that freelance sites need to be races to the bottom

True, but setting a price floor doesn't automatically prevent the race from happening. $2000 for a 5 week project is still racing to the bottom.

We are working on pricing on the coders side. We are thinking of doing at least 3 months free and figuring it out from there.

So the text says you are 'a team of developers and designers who want to spend more time doing what we love,' but this appears to only be for developers. Are you targeting designers as well, or only coders?

I think we will break that out in the future. We wanted to simplify for launch, but I think its a good point.

Please sign up! Just mention in the comments you are a designer.

I really like the idea and I think there is a great need from both developers and customers for this service. Have you thought at all about how to drive the demand side of this marketplace?

Comment on the website: The main text goes off the bottom of the visible window and is obscured by the footer. This is on Chrome on Linux with the DPI settings increased a bit.

I found a small typo in the "Why We Are Doing This?" paragraph, "and have respect for the work we have [to] do."

It will be looking good if you change the logo type and mark. Also please add an input field for Linkedin.

"We will not share your idea with anyone else, but we cannot guarantee that we will not work on something very similar."

That makes me almost 100% unlikely to use your site. I know that you're CYA here, but I would need to cover mine too...It seems a little stupid to tell you an idea if you say in big bold letters that although you might not share it, you may steal it or "work on something very similar."

MultiValueDictKeyError at /submit/programmer, then:

global name 'phone' is not defined

(I think you're trying to fix this right now.. right?)

Yep - we broke the form - had to turn debug back on - fixed now! (debug is off)

For $2000 maybe you can hire someone to setup a staging environment? :)

I was down-voted for reporting a bug? wow.

I like the idea. I am looking for a tech cofounder and hopefully this helps me find one. Thanks.

Broken, I got a Django debug page on appspot, contact me and I can give you details

eHarmony for programmers and employers, nice! :)

Make sure you validate your text fields.

Renders funny under Firefox 4.

There is a white border around your logo.

pls disable the django debug , if you are going for public launch

whoops - Thanks and fixed!

    NameError at /submit/programmer
    global name 'phone' is not defined
    Request Method:	POST
    Request URL:	http://ecl-data-collection.appspot.com/submit/programmer
    Django Version:	1.2.5
    Exception Type:	NameError
    Exception Value:	
    global name 'phone' is not defined
    Exception Location:	/base/data/home/apps/ecl-data-collection/1.350367717383270314/views.py in submit_programmer, line 28
    Python Executable:	/base/
    Python Version:	2.5.2
    Python Path:	['/base/python_runtime/python_dist/lib/python25.zip', '/base/python_runtime/python_lib/versions/third_party/django-1.2', '/base/python_runtime/python_dist/lib/python2.5/', '/base/python_runtime/python_dist/lib/python2.5/plat-linux2', '/base/python_runtime/python_dist/lib/python2.5/lib-tk', '/base/python_runtime/python_dist/lib/python2.5/lib-dynload', '/base/python_runtime/python_lib/versions/1', '/base/data/home/apps/ecl-data-collection/1.350367717383270314/']
    Server time:	Thu, 12 May 2011 17:32:17 +0000

Send him an email dude.

yep sorry about that - we broke the form and had to turn debug back on - thanks for point it out!

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