Rentastartup

Dear Kalle and Matte

Just an idea I have been bouncing around in my head… I would like to hear what you guys think.

Would services like rentacoder or elancer be good for startups? I have actually no experience with these services, so, this is purely an intellectual exercise.

Possible Pro’s:
Quick prototype:
One of the main focuses of the lean startup is to get something (anything) out fast, and see how people react. Since rentacoder has people at extreemly low prices, and you are not yet overly concerned about questions like code quality, you could have something hacked together for very cheap that you can use to test your first assumptions.

Possible Con’s:
Hard to iterate…Maybe?
Since you hire the coder for a limited amount of time, they may not be there when you need to iterate to test your next assumption.

No passion:
I suppose it would be hard to expect a hired gun to be passionate about the product you are trying to create… Although, is that really any different from any employee in the short term? I am of the opinion that most developers are self motivating, at least in the beginning.

Opinions?
There are a lot of things to consider around this, but I will leave that to you guys to bring up 😉

//Jeff

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3 thoughts on “Rentastartup

  1. Interesting!
    I Googled a bit, and feel more optimistic about this sort of thing than I did before. Someone over here http://sivers.org/how2hire suggests trying multiple freelancer-sites and developers with a very small project, evaluate each (person) and go from there. That sounds sound to me, and I almost want to try it just because …it sounds exciting :).

    Imagining how something like this might play out I kind of get stuck on how to create and communicate requirements, feels like that might get complicated. Will you write very specific requirements for small chunks of functionality …or how would you handle it? (Because you do want to keep it Lean, right?)

    PS.
    Digg.com was started as an Elance project they say: https://www.elance.com/p/corporate/community/resource-center/elance-stories/digg.html
    …but perhaps that is mostly a deception: http://mixergy.com/pr-lies-destroy-your-understanding-of-how-business-really-works-owen-byrne-digg/

  2. Yeah, this was a big sticking point in my mind as well.

    Many of these sites seem to work on a fixed price format. In which case of course the developer would want some fairly serious specifications before they committed to a price. Especially since many of these sites protect the buyer and don’t pay the freelancer if the project doesn’t meet the requirements.

    What I was thinking was more of an agile model. Hire a freelancer on a month to month basis, and if you are not happy with the production level, then terminate the contract.

    In that case you could apply much more feedback loop centered development. Using standard agile methods like user stories and such… So is my thinking…

    Jeff

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