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Ask HN- Could any one person have all of these skills?
8 points by davidl 2603 days ago | hide | past | web | 4 comments | favorite
I own a popular discussion forum that has grown over the past few years into one of the top resource sites for it's niche. I am looking to transition the site away from being just a discussion forum and more toward a full blown site, similar to one that a trade publication might have, with news, articles etc... I already have the base of traffic and now I want to serve them additional content and add new features.

I need to have a site built around the forum, or modified, to enable a quality interface, easy editing options, simple advertising interface, email marketing etc...

There is also a current database with the posts and the users and if there is a larger infrastructure created, then that database would need to be accessed by several new parts of the site in different manners.

I think I could afford to hire maybe one full time programmer at this time, while I handle all of the marketing, content creation, community management etc...

Is it possible to find someone who is a jack of all trades that can build out the infrastructure, figure out how the databases need to run and interface with different parts of the site, integrate them with an email marketing solution like Aweber, etc...?

The features that I am looking for for the website to have all include things that currently exist, from q and a to article display to commenting and rating, profiles etc... nothing too revolutionary or proprietary.

I have no technical skills whatsoever, I don't eve know basic html, and I need to know if this is the type of thing that could be reasonably expected of one person, or am I being too greedy in what I expect?

Assuming said programmer exists, is that a very rare skill set, or could any normal programmer working full time bang something like this out?

Also, what would an appropriate salary range be for a programmer like this if I offered no equity?

Would that range change substantially if I offered equity? Would my chances of landing someone good change?(The site is already profitable, although the profit would be eaten up by a programmers salary)

Finally, are there people I could hire to help me figure out the technical requirements I will have and to help me hire someone appropriate, since I am in no position to judge anyone's technical abilities?

Thanks a bunch




sounds like you need something pretty basic, pretty much every freelancer would be able to do all of that.

Cost wise it can really differ, from $2-3K for some freelancer code monkey, 5-10K for someone who is a little bit more advanced(HN quality), 60K-100K/yr if you hire someone, And a few million if you hire some big design house.

Having dealt with freelancers, I'd avoid those guys like the plague. Unless you can sit on them to get them coding, it's a waste of time and money.

Personally I'd go with the HN solution, surely you'll find someone here who can help you, and you know you are getting someone competent.


Short answer, yes.

Slightly longer answer, it depends.

What you're looking for can basically be done by any "good" programmer. Most are actually jack-of-all-trades kind of guys. The things they don't know, they learn. The things they can't learn well enough, they pay someone else to do it.

If you can hire someone, then that's great. If not, I would look into freelancers.

Freelancers are not born equal. Use your gut instinct, and don't bother trying to judge him/her on the technical skills.

I used to do this for a living(programming and consulting), and I'd always explain to my customers that I am not a server administrator, for example, but I'd do it to help them out if they can't find anybody else. And I think of this as just being helpful. I try to make sure that they understand the risks. Most people will react favourably to this.

I'll keep this short. If you'd like any more help, I'll be happy to answer a fellow HN'er questions via email.


Thanks. I have added an email address, but have not been contacted by anyone. What would an appropriate methed be to try and find an hn type person who could help with a broad range of things? Should I just post something to the effect of what I am looking for?


You should post some contact info and Im sure you'll get some good response.




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