How To Find A Developer

The question everyone is wondering.  Below is my email response that I sent to someone about a year ago.  Although, the email is dated– the advice is solid and I would like to share it with you.

 

Question:

(1) Where exactly can I find a reliable developer? I have been looking online and I have found some larger development firms that I can get into contact with, but they are charging anywhere from $50-$100 per hour and I think that might be out of our price range.  And, some of the listings for individual developers I’m not sure I could trust.  I’m having a hard time figuring out what kind of situation is normal here.

 

Ian,

The only way to find a reliable developer is to hustle and network.  Pitch your idea in an engaging and exciting way so that others want to join your team and feed off your energy.  If a developer believes in what you are doing, they will join your team.
Two primary reasons: 1. Money 2. Belief in your vision
Since you don’t have money, you will need to sell them on your idea.  It’s not good enough just to find someone who knows how to code.  You need to find someone who is excited about what you are building.
As I mentioned in the email prior, give equity.  If there are 2 of you now, and you are looking for a developer (ie. a 3rd person), then split the company equally 3 ways.  33% 33% 33% (and some decimals).
Remember, although this equity strategy is a route you can take– It will not be successful if you don’t sell the idea properly.  There are 1 million other people out there trying the exact same thing as you.
So find your x factor and make it happen.
Best,
Mike

Entrepreneurs Are Like Marines

When no one else will do it– send in the entrepreneur.

The entrepreneur sees opportunity where the traditional businessman sees risk.  However, risk is a necessary evil to build new business.

If no risk was involved everyone would do it.

capitol1Last week, I drove 2 hours to the Missouri Capital building in Jefferson City to testify in front of the Senate in favor of bill 1495.  Bill 1495 will add significant value to organizations such as Arch Grants and the Missouri Technology Corporation (MTC).  Both Arch Grants and MTC have provided funding and support services for RoverTown.  I have seen first hand how a small amount of money can make a huge difference for our company and others in these programs.  If you want to learn more about Bill 1495, click here.

While waiting for my turn, I watched a variety of people sit in front of the Senators and pour their hearts out in favor (or against) Bill 1495.  Most wphoto (12)ould read a well thought out speech printed out on a crinkled or neatly folded 8.5 in x 11 in sheet of white paper.

I couldn’t help but notice how standard this was for the senators.  The person giving the testimony was pouring their heart out.  The senators were wondering what they would have for lunch.

Finally, it was my turn.  As I waited in the narrow aisle with men and women in suits sitting next to me, I took a moment to snap a quick photo.  My name was called and I sat down a few feet away from the senators. I leaned in to the microphone and detailed RoverTown’s history from a startup in my bedroom to our fancy Washington Ave office with 8 employees.

As I wrapped up my speech, it hit me– entrepreneurs are like Marines.

“Entrepreneurs are like Marines”, I told the senators.  “Give us seed capital and we will fix the economy– or die trying.”

The economy is under siege right now.  Send in the entrepreneurs to get the job done.

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I See A World With RoverTown

Today I was driving back from a board meeting for the Parkway School District Spark incubator program.  The meeting was a 3 hour sumit of St. Louis business excutives with the purpose of designing an educational program that would accept 15 young students intereted in getting involved in entreprenurship into a year long program.
While in the meeting, I received an email from Arch Grants notifying me that RoverTown was the recipient of the $100,000 follow on grant.  I thought about the signifigance of this, as I often do, in pich form.  What I mean by that is I developed a pitch in my head to present this news in the best light possible.

Here is the pitch (let me know what you think): RoverTown was selected from over 707 applications from around the world as one of 20 winners to receive a $50,000 Arch Grant.  That means RoverTown fell into the top 3% of all aplicants.  Today, RoverTown was selected  as one of two companies (out of the origional 20 winners) to receive the $100,000 follow on grant funding.  This now places RoverTown in the top .02%.

After saying that pitch over in my head. I called my mom & dad to give them the good news.  I presented the pitch to my parents and my mother began yelling with joy.  After some congratuatory bantor back and fourth I hung up the phone and stared at the road as I drove back to RoverTown HQ in downtown STL.

My stomach growled and I realized that I hadn’t ate any food all day.  I needed to locate some food, any food, fast.

It was at this moment 5 p.m. traffic stopped me at a light and I looked in the review mirror.  I stared myself directly in the eyes and it hit me– I see a world with RoverTown.

Not the RoverTown that I know and love today but something bigger.  Something far greater.  Something bigger than me or any of the other RoverTeamers.  It is our job to bring this to the world.

The “Inches” We Need Are Everywhere Around Us

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rFx6OFooCs]

In high school, my best friend was on the wrestling team.  He would burn mix CD’s and listen to them before every match.  The first song on each CD was not a song at all.  Instead, it was a 4.5minute movie sound bite of Al Pacino’s infamous Inches Speech from Any Given Sunday.  If you haven’t already seen it, I encourage you to give it a quick watch before you read on.

I always thought it was odd that my friend would listen to a football coach before competing in a wrestling match.  Recently, I was going through some old CDs(to throw them away of course!) and I came across one of his old mix tapes.  Again, I listened to Pacino’s speech and it finally clicked.

Pacino says “the inches we need are all around us.”  I would like to put this into perspective for you– an entrepreneur.

The game of football is restricted to 100 yards (3,600inches) between goal posts.  Conversely, the game of entrepreneurship has a limitless playing field (see SpaceX).  The uncontrollable factor in entrepreneurship is time.  There are 24 hours, 1440 minutes, 86400 seconds in a day.  Minutes are the entrepreneurs “inches.”

We entrepreneurs love actionable advice– here’s how you use “inches” to win:

1. Pick one goal
My goal right now is to find the right investor for RoverTown.  After I achieve this, I will create a new goal.  What is your goal?  Write it down and put it on your wall.

2. Recognize the opportunity
There are 1,440 “inches” in a day and you can grab every last one.  Your goal is the first thing you think about when you wake up, your last thought before falling asleep, and the subject of your dreams.

3. Make it happen
No excuses.  Grab every “inch” you possibly can.  If you let an inch pass you by you might notice an unsettling feeling.  Do you feel that?  That’s your competition ripping that inch out from under you.  They are relentless.

As in football, an entrepreneur can both gain and loose inches.  It’s perfectly acceptable to loose inches.  Just understand, if you don’t make up for that loss, your competitors will.

“when we add up all those inches, that’s gonna make the difference between winning and losing.”

– Al Pacino, Any given Sunday

BOOM

Thus begins my blog.

Many of my posts will mention RoverTown.com: the FREE mobile coupon booklet for college.

My company is my life.  I talk about it all day everyday.  So that’s what I will do here.

Rover is made up of a dangerously talented team and an overly qualified advisory board.  It took two years of pivoting (testing, for you non start-up folk) in Southern Illinois but we finally found a model that works.

And damn does it work.

As we grow I look forward to sharing my experiences.

Cheers,
Mike