Hey, I’ve got an idea…

Hal Mueller (@halm), local Cocoa/Mac/iPhone instructor and one of the long time local Xcoders, responded to an email that I’ve seen or heard a dozen times before – the gist being, “Hey, I’ve got an idea, and I need a developer to help me make it real… anyone willing to donate their time?”

Hal’s response to the Xcoder mailing list was so incredibly well stated that I’m going to completely steal it and put up the response here. By “the group”, he’s speaking of the Seattle Xcoders:

Your best bet is to attend some meetings and get to know some people. The group has been very supportive of new ventures and new developers. But I don’t know any decent Cocoa developer who’s sitting around thinking “oh if only I had a project concept”. You will have some selling to do.

The risk in these “rev share” deals seems to me to fall mostly on the developer, particularly as an opportunity cost, since it amounts to an interest-free loan, to the business, of the value of that developer’s time. Ideas are easy; I have a notebook full of them (and if the value of your idea goes to zero as soon as someone else hears of it, there’s really no barrier to competitors). If I’m going to take on a partner I want to see a proven record in the business side: marketing, sales, management, fundraising. I want to see a complementary skill set with a dollar value comparable to what I would be putting into the venture.

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