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Sorry but I disagree with this post completely. In fact, I hate articles like this.

A real developer who loves his project would never outsource major aspects of the project. One might outsource the design, only because its incredibly difficult to create a great UI and have the know-how to code it as well.

One might outsource the slicing of a layout to CSS/HTML or something simple like that while dealing with IMPORTANT issues such as database architecture, setting up the server, etc.

To suggest that you want to concentrate on the "business aspect" simply means that you don't want to do the hard part. By outsourcing, the article states: "I have more time and I can spend this time for marketing and blogging". ... Right. Because blogging and marketing is so very tough?

The truth is that you USED to be a developer. It sounds like you've realized this and outsourced the project to an actual developer. If that's the case then you've made a wise choice.

In any case, best of luck to you.

Edit: It sounds as though I am belittling other people's jobs on a project. Sorry, I guess to some degree I am? I agree that I am a bit foolish to say that. I don't mean to create any type of hostility in this thread. (Regardless I will keep my full comment here so this thread makes sense.)

My main point is that the author refers to himself as a DEVELOPER. Therefore it does not make sense to me to outsource his own specialty.




I'm really wondering if your post is sarcasm. But I'll bite. To wit:

>A real developer who loves his project would never outsource major aspects of the project.

Excuse me, but that's just the 'No True Scotsman' fallacy. You don't get to decide what makes someone a 'real developer. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman

>while dealing with IMPORTANT issues such as database architecture, setting up the server, etc.

The primary focus of the founder should be to get paying customers. These paying customers could care one iota about Codd's 12 Rules, 3NF, and Chef/Puppet configuration. If you truly believe that those things are more important than getting paying customers, then you, my friend, have a hobby, not a business. The IMPORTANT thing is "getting them to sign on the line which is dotted." Not mucking about at the CLI.

>To suggest that you want to concentrate on the "business aspect" simply means that you don't want to do the hard part. By outsourcing, the article states: "I have more time and I can spend this time for marketing and blogging". ... Right. Because blogging and marketing is so very tough?

Sigh. The common engineers fallacy of thinking that creating is enough. It is not. Steve Jobs was a salesman. And I can assure you that marketing is not as simple as throwing up a wordpress blog and a facebook page. It takes real work. Which I suspect you would know if you'd ever done it.

HN: You don't get rich by agonizing over data structures and algorithms (unless you're Google). You get rich by leveraging resources so the multiplier effect works to your advantage. If the most efficient path to getting paying customers is to outsource, then do so. Kudos to OP.

</rant>


Excellent viewpoint. The business aspect and getting paying customers is important. A marketers job is important as well. I don't mean to step on toes. However, keep in mind that the author of this post refers to himself as a developer.

It's like Steve Jobs saying he is a great salesman but wants to outsource selling his vision. It makes no sense to me.

Therefore that is why I wrote what I wrote.


Thank you. However:

>author of this post refers to himself as a developer.

It doesn't matter what he calls himself. If you can pass FizzBUzz, you're a developer. Maybe not a John Carmack, but a developer nonetheless.

There is no sacred law written on tablets of stone and handed down from volcanic mountains that states "Developers who found startups must code or face eternal damnation." Rather, there is a holy precept that does state "The founder (whether a dev, UX guy or bizev guy) shall find the most efficient path to profitability, or be condemned to the lake of failure."

So if a founder is from a UX background, but in his particular context, it is more efficient (faster to profitability) for him to outsource the UX and read 'MBA for Dummies', I would argue that that is the rational course of action.

Again: Your priorities as a founder are not whatever background you are from. Your priority (and you must accept it :)) is to become profitable. When that is achieved, THEN you can go up the Maslow Heirarchy of business-actualization.


Again, you are repeating this idea that all these other non-coding skills can be mastered on a whim. If you truly need an MBA type doing MBA things for your company, then you should go get one. Lord knows there's a zillion of them out there, almost all of which have a better resume than "I read MBA for dummies".

Or to put this differently. If I was working for some larger company as a developer, and I went to management and said "I have decided that I want to quit development and work in marketing", they would turn me down. And rightly so, because A) it would be bad for the company to lose my development skills, and B) there is no reason to hire me as a marketing person when there's many more out there far more qualified and experienced in marketing.

So...if this would be quite clearly the correct course of action if I worked for someone else, why would I not follow the same thought process for my own company?


I disagree. IMHO, there is no better person than the founder to market your startup passionately.

I am not saying MBA skills are not valuable. But what is more important is ability to write pithy blogs, write tons of emails to your potential customers, investors and do lot of other routine activities to keep your startup afloat. None of this requires MBA as such in the initial days.

Your passion, reading some of the best blogs out there on specific topics is more than enough provided you take all the advice as just that 'advice' and tweak it to apply as per your situation & needs.


> IMHO, there is no better person than the founder to market your startup passionately.

Exactly my feelings.


Others have put this differently. But my experience working at a startup before and watching both the founder and marketing manager tells me there's a difference in startups. Atleast the one i was at. The founder had a vision that was pretty impossible to transfer to someone with all the nuances and subtle differences. And when someone(experienced too) else was marketing, he missed out/dropped out all those subtle differences, and was just practicing his Always Be closing principle. Maybe all startups don't have the same quality/problem. Maybe some startups are very fine calculated risks, that can and do manage to transfer/communicate their vision easily.


None of this addresses the fact that the author has set up his company such that the person doing the marketing/blogging/sales/etc has zero experience doing any of those things. By attempting to do them himself the author is completely disregarding their value!


I find harder to outsource marketing and blogging than outsourcing software development. This is why it made sense for me to do it myself. For example, I don't know if I could have found a writer that could have written an article that has brought 16000 readers so far.


> Because blogging and marketing is so very tough?

I agree with the rest of your comment, to an extent, but I strongly disagree with this line.

The act of blogging is easy, sure - it's just typing. The act of marketing, or at least some subset of it, can be easy, I'm sure. Doing these things effectively, so that they actually drive business, is hard.

Dismissing blogging and marketing by sarcastically saying they're "so very tough" is the same sort of bullshit that we get pissed off about when people say "I have this great idea for a website/app, all I need is a coder!"

You're dismissing an entire profession without regard for the hard work that those in that profession put into their jobs.


I see your points here and understand your frustration. Marketing / blogging are still important to the success of a project.

Though in order of importance, I feel it's behind the actual codebase. For the author to suggest that it's okay to outsource development to have more time doing marketing and blogging when he refer's to himself as a developer is just plain ridiculous.


I didn't say I didn't understand your point. I get where you're coming from, and I don't necessarily disagree. I just didn't like the sarcastic dismissal of an entire profession.


This seems ridiculous. This belief doesn't scale past a few programmers/employees.

If you are "doing it right", your time should be worth far more than a programmer's salary.

I run several websites/businesses. At one point I was doing all the coding, marketing, blogging, customer support, etc... I was crazy busy. Over time I've managed to hire for most of this, so I can work on bigger picture, managing what is to be done, architecture issues, and a lot more.

Every few months I try to reasses what things I'm doing that are not worth my time. Programming was one of the first to go. It's so incredibly time consuming and I can hire someone better than me.


You're doing it right, and that's exactly where I'm headed. Mind if I email you?


sure!


That's kind of bullshit, you've focused more on what he decides to call himself rather than what he has accomplished. Are Eric Scmidt / Larry Page are no longer "real engineers" because they manage, and not code anymore?

And yes, blogging and marketing is very tough. User acquisition is tough. A good on-boarding process is very tough. User experience is tough.


> A good on-boarding process is very tough

a-fucking men to that!


A real developer who loves his project would never outsource major aspects of the project.

Obligatory: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman

Secondly, I'll posit that a "true developer" (whatever that means) certainly might outsource "major aspects of his project," if he's trying to make a successful business from his project, and he needs to dedicate bandwidth to other areas of the business. Creating a business is more than just writing code.

As the old saying goes "The scarcest resource in a startup is founder bandwidth." If you can amplify your bandwidth by doing some tactical outsourcing, then you do it, as far as I'm concerned.

In fact, this post got some gears turning in my own head, and has me considering whether or not Fogbeam Labs could justify outsourcing some development work, to help speed things along. All three of the founders still work dayjobs at the moment, so a little additional development help could actually be a good thing. I'm not saying we will do it, just that I'm seriously considering the possibility for the first time.


I think you're underselling the challenge in the parts of the business that aren't coding. Which is exactly why this guy's decision is such a bad one.

He's basically said "I have skill set X, which I'm trained in and have been honing for years. For my company, I need skill sets X and Y. So I'll do Y and find someone else to do X."

No matter what X and Y are, that's just the wrong way to solve that problem. The key issue in this case being that he is assuming the marketing/user acquisition stuff is so easy that he can just pick it up on the fly with no prior experience.


No matter what X and Y are, that's just the wrong way to solve that problem.

I don't know, If I can't do Y how am I going to hire an A player at the Y game. Being good at X means I can evaluate others in skill X.


OK, but here are your outcomes if you are good at X and need X and Y:

You do X, hire Y - You have one skilled person, one question mark.

You do Y, hire X - You have one unskilled person, one question mark.

Seems pretty simple to me that the first is better. I suppose that you could make the argument that Y may be easy to pick up, but if that's the case it should be all the easier to just hire someone else with a proven track record.


Just to elaborate what i think stonemetal's point is that. You are good at X. you hire someone to do X. prob. of X being useless <<< prob. of y being useless(if you don't know y and hire for Y)


My thought exactly, those two question marks aren't equal. One I am capable of evaluating, both before and after I hire for the position. The other I am incapable of evaluating both before and after I hire for the position.


Time is the real currency.


+1 I had the same reaction.




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