There’s a reason that the concept of “Hackers and Founders” is entrenched as a concept – burned in the mind of all entrepreneurs in the tech space – it’s because not having a tech co-founder often drives the founder to outsource development. Here’s 6 reasons why outsourcing development sucks for startups :
Startups are all about being MASSIVELY PASSIONATE about a problem you’re solving. You can never expect an outsourced firm to be passionate about the same problem. They’re passionate about 2 things: Geting more clients and the bottom line. They can never share your passion or understanding of the problem to creatively address the issues beyond the functional spec you create. This is probably the biggest issue at the heart of why outsourcing development sucks for startups
Outsourced development firms are filled with 9to5er’s – people who earn a salary and want to leave asap. The company sometimes charges overtime (MORE EXPENSE!) for them to stay later. They rarely have a share in the profits or share options of the company they work for. As soon as they can, they leave these companies and start competitive ones of their own or their own startups.
Most importantly – they don’t give a shit about your problem you’re passionate about. They are removed by 2 to 3 degrees from you as a client.
The focus of an employee at an outsourced development firm is on the work the company has – NOT YOUR PROJECT.
This often means that they could be working on other projects at the same time or be distracted by the dev company’s own agendas.
They’re not in the trenches with you. When you’re in the trenches, feeling the burn of deadlines looming – only people with whom you’ve developed true camaraderie, perform and go above and beyond. That’s because you’re in it together. One focus. One vision. United passion.
Outsourced firms can never share in that.
The founder should have a type of Steve Jobs-esque Reality Distortion Field ™ where they unite everyone within a new reality that they share so intensely – that they bring it forth into being. Anyone who cames in the range of the field, gets sucked in and their reality is altered.
How can you possibly do that with a team you almost never see?
Although you are assured that the engineers working on your project are competent… If you’re not a great engineer – how do you know? Moreover, how do you know who is actually working on your code?
Often you will be told that a specific engineer is working on the code, but in reality it’s actually some noob bozo with almost no experience bumbling his way through and being supervised at an arms length by that more senior engineer that you thought was working on your code.
Anyways – that senior engineer managing/ overseeing the development is never really focused enough to truly vet the code or ensure it’s awesome first time round. That means mistakes. That means time wasted. For you that means: FRUSTRATION. POOR DELIVERY. OPPORTUNITY COSTS. YOUR TIME WASTED. Think what you’re team’s time is worth, and factor that into your costs when they don’t deliver on time or well.
If you have a fallout with the firm, they technically have you over a barrel. A very uncomfortable position to be in.
They can steal your code, take your site down, sabotage it, shut you out… Use your imagination.
Now don’t get me wrong – outsourcing development can be awesome for a company that is not in the startup cycle or where there is technical expertise to manageand vet the coding process. Generally speaking there are too many reasons why outsourcing development sucks for startups. Sometimes it’s a must, but I advise avoiding.
My suggestion: You need a TechStar CoFounder. Find a technical cofounder who is awesome and shares your passion and can bear the burden of running the startup with you. It’s a lonely road – especially when there are areas that are not your forte.
Every Steve must haz a Woz.
Be the JobWoz (or J-Woz)