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Emphasis on "good"
February 23, 2009 6:36 PM   Subscribe

How do I find a good technical co-founder for my startup? (I am not the worthless ideas-only guy!)

I'm trying to put together a database-driven web application in Rails that I can sell access to. I've managed to get development to the prototype stage using contractors, but the more I envision what the next year or two will look like the more I realize that I need a technical person to be fully on board. I'm tech savvy but I'm not a coder, and I'll be needed for the non-technical stuff (mainly gathering up, normalizing, and making useful the data going into the database). I'm more than willing to give up a substantial partnership interest to this hypothetical person.

Where can I find a dailywtf.com-reading, standards- and best-practices-loving, revision-control-using, commenting-addicted developer to co-found this? I really don't even have the foggiest notion where to being looking, how to persuade someone to jump on (other than sharing the business plan and hoping he or she really likes it), or how to tell a good techie from a bad one.

I'm in Toronto, in case any advice is city- or country-specific. I also don't work in a tech-related field, so I don't meet tech workers on a regular basis.

Finally, just to keep this thread from being a sea of "Oh, so you have a BRILLIANT idea and you want someone to do 100 per cent of the work for 50 per cent of the company!", the model is to market to a particular industry in which I'm an expert. I've also invested thousands of my own dollars and hundreds of hours (on market research, plan drafting, contractor wrangling, and IP issues) so far.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Maybe jobs.metafilter.com?
posted by aubilenon at 6:43 PM on February 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Check out this site: Hacker News. This is a common type of post there, under the 'Ask HN' heading (might want to lurk for a while before posting, I guess).
posted by dixie flatline at 6:53 PM on February 23, 2009


1. Hire Hashrocket to create a beta version of the site for you.

2. Use that to prove that your concept works, and to attract good people who will help you take it to the next level.

3. Cut me in for some sweet stock options so I can earn one million dollars for providing you with this brilliant plan.
posted by spilon at 6:54 PM on February 23, 2009


I'm a Rails developer and entrepreneur, myself, so I can speak about this from the technical side.

If your prototype is ready for launch and is a exciting example of the final app you intend to market, consider launching what you've got and posting a note to your site blog that you are looking for a technical co-founder. You'll likely get a few leads that way, as long as your site is interesting enough.

On the other hand, if you're looking for a partner who can handle some of the programming nitty gritty on the lead-up to launch, you might instead want to post a job description (on jobs.rubynow.com, for example) outlining your app and describing the sort of partner you're looking for. Be sure to say that you are looking for a co-founder, and that you are willing to pay the technical partner for their work, at least until you and s/he know that you want to work together and share the profit and risks of the venture.

Having noticed (and entertained) several "founder seeking partner" proposals, myself, I can promise you that competent coders considering this sort of work will run away from such proposals if they don't offer more than equity stake in the company, at least at first.

Regarding vetting your coder's work, you'll get a feel for the professionalism and competency of your cofounder during that trial period. If they're making features work and meeting deadlines, you've probably made a pretty good pick. (If you're terribly concerned about double-checking their quality, you can always hire a consulting firm like Less Everything to review your coder's work.)

(As a disclaimer, I'm interested in finding a partner myself, and wouldn't it just be perfect if we met via AskMe? I've got the coding chops you mention you're looking for -- if you're interested in talking more, feel free to send me a MeMail.)
posted by jacob at 7:05 PM on February 23, 2009


Get out to the networking events in Toronto where you might meet that sort of person. There must be start up meet ups, and tweet ups, and ROR user groups, etc where you can network.
posted by COD at 7:13 PM on February 23, 2009


There are definitely people at Waterloo who would be interested in what you are proposing. American corporations like to hire people from Waterloo, but it is pretty hard to get visas for them, so you've got an advantage.
posted by b1tr0t at 7:15 PM on February 23, 2009


Also, you might like visiting Irvine - recently voted California's Best City for a Monday.
posted by parmanparman at 7:27 PM on February 23, 2009


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