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Which forums do the best web programmers hang out at?
June 26, 2009 4:15 PM   Subscribe

Which forums do the best web programmers hang out at?

Long story short: I've got a web site that already does over 1 million pageviews per month. I've got a great idea to take it to the next level, but I'm looking for someone who can handle the coding and technical aspects in exchange for an equity stake.

I'm wanting to bring aboard a great programmer who doesn't necessarily need the work but will be motivated by the equity.

Which forums would you recommend I post on to find this person?

Also, if there's anyone interested here, let me know.
posted by jackson5 to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
Joel Spolsky's Stack Overflow and jobs page.

Be aware that as websites become more popular, they start to need programming teams, VPs, and business infrastructure, something one guy working for equity usually can't or won't provide.
posted by infinitewindow at 4:25 PM on June 26, 2009


in exchange for an equity stake.

Also be aware that this will serve as an enormous waving red flag to most experienced developers. Most of us prefer to be paid for our work.

Equity is only an incentive if one or more of the following is true:
a) the company has an established revenue stream;
b) it's the developer's dream project or s/he's otherwise emotionally tied to the project, which generally means s/he's a cofounder, not somebody you find on a message board;
c) it's in addition to a salary which would be reasonable on its own merits; or
d) it's ten years ago and the dotcom bubble is still going strong.

Seriously. Every developer who has been in the business longer than about six months has been approached by loads of dreamers with completely unmarketable ideas, hoping you'll work for them for free so they can give you some of the profits later on if they ever materialize.

This is not to say that you aren't sincere, just that by putting it like this you'll be making yourself appear to be in that category.
posted by ook at 5:02 PM on June 26, 2009 [4 favorites]


37signals' Signal vs. Noise blog is also a good one.
posted by meowzilla at 5:08 PM on June 26, 2009


No, this is where you raise capital from friends and family and hire some contract developers. Don't give away the company now - anyone willing to take your equity stake is not a good person to have as a business partner.
posted by b1tr0t at 6:27 PM on June 26, 2009


+1 b1tr0t
posted by bbyboi at 12:28 AM on June 27, 2009


The Dailly WTF, though it isn't what it once was. And yeah, don't give away equity for a programming job. Can you quantify the tasks that need performing?

b1tr0t++
posted by mattoxic at 5:34 AM on June 27, 2009



I was going to ask almost the exact same question next week. ook++, and b1t0t++. I was under the assumption, as well, that one would have no trouble finding a stranger who would work for equity.

Are you sure that there aren't people out there who are would-be-entrepreneurs who are happy to work on other's people's ideas for equity? I mean, if I knew more about jackson5's idea, I'd maybe consider it. So long as he could afford to pay me enough for Ramen Noodles. (If such a market exists, someone should set up www.development-equity-exchange.com or similar).

Begs the question: how the hrist would someone in jackson5 (or my) situation raise enough money to pay a developer? I guess, you'd need to be well connected (and a good communicator) to get rich friends and family to invest. I guess, ideally, that you have a soul-mate who is also a good programmer to work on it in the first place.
posted by tomargue at 7:28 AM on June 27, 2009




anyone willing to take your equity stake is not a good person to have as a business partner.

Why is this the case? (not saying it's not, just wanna know your thoughts).
posted by tomargue at 7:34 AM on June 27, 2009


Begs the question: how the hrist would someone in jackson5 (or my) situation raise enough money to pay a developer? I guess, you'd need to be well connected (and a good communicator) to get rich friends and family to invest. I guess, ideally, that you have a soul-mate who is also a good programmer to work on it in the first place.

The basis of entrepreneurial b-school educations. The sources are endless. Bank loans, credit cards, friends and family, angel investment clubs, self-finance, bootstrapping (i.e. start small with something that pay for itself and allows you to grow). In almost all cases you need to come up with a business plan that details what you are going to do, how you are different than other people doing similiar things and how you are going to make money (and this better not be Google Adsense).
posted by mmascolino at 8:06 AM on June 27, 2009


You can't find anyone willing to give you cash money to fund your business idea, yet you think you can find someone willing to put in hard work, when they could be working on their own ideas or relaxing or working for pay.

This just tells me (and everyone else) that you believe that programming work has no value. That a programmer's time has less value than your uncle's cash. Has less value than your credit card debt. Has less value than your dignity - because you aren't willing to go to someone and ask for a loan, but you are willing to go to someone and ask for hard work.
posted by MesoFilter at 9:41 AM on June 27, 2009 [5 favorites]


Are you sure that there aren't people out there who are would-be-entrepreneurs who are happy to work on other's people's ideas for equity?

It's not impossible. But you need to give them a plausible reason why it's worthwhile (as I listed above.)

I've worked as a first-round employee in three startups. The first was a standard salary plus options. (it succeeded, mostly because of my point D above.) The second time around, I elected to take cash and no equity because I didn't expect the company to outlast its first round of angel funding. (It didn't.) The third one was the only case where I worked for pure equity, because I was co-founding it with a close friend who I had worked with before, and I knew for a fact that he was a fucking genius, and the job involved some interesting challenges. (It failed too.)

Look at it from the developer's point of view: you're experienced. You know for a fact that you can get a good salary doing what you do. You don't need to live on ramen. And you also know that most new businesses fail without ever making a profit. And if you're the sort of developer who's got any kind of entrepreneurial streak whatsoever, you've definitely got ideas of your own that you want to build.

So in order to take the gamble on working for somebody's else's untried business, you need to believe that that somebody else knows what they're doing, has an idea with a clear path to making enough money to make the risk worthwhile, which sounds interesting enough to work on to be worth the gamble, and most of all that that other person brings something to the mix beyond just "hey! I've got an idea!" As in: a proven track record, or skills at marketing or fundraising, or -- yeah -- if nothing else rich friends and family willing to invest. Everybody's got ideas. They're really not worth that much.

As MesoFilter says, asking someone to work for (nothing but) equity means that you haven't got any money, which means you probably haven't sorted out a business plan, which means you're probably not bringing anything to the table. It's a sign of probable amateurism.

(Incidentally, so is "I've got X million page views!" Page views mean nothing if you don't have any way to transform them into cash.) (So, too, is "it's a _______-like website", which means your idea is unoriginal and starts out in the shadow of an already well established 800-lb gorilla.)
posted by ook at 11:16 AM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hoping for a link to Jackson 5's million-plus pageviews website, I went to his profile, and found this:

This account is disabled.

Take My Ball and Go Home Filter?
posted by jayder at 12:38 PM on June 27, 2009


This just tells me (and everyone else) that you believe that programming work has no value. That a programmer's time has less value than your uncle's cash. Has less value than your credit card debt. Has less value than your dignity - because you aren't willing to go to someone and ask for a loan, but you are willing to go to someone and ask for hard work.

Well-put. Damn, that is nicely expressed.
posted by jayder at 12:42 PM on June 27, 2009


Take My Ball and Go Home Filter?

More like take your ball and go away filter. (Speaking of signs of amateurism...)
posted by ook at 1:08 PM on June 27, 2009


You might try posting to http://news.ycombinator.com The guys who hang out there are generally start-up-minded coders. Supposedly, the average intelligence level is fairly high, though I would say this is becoming less true.
posted by maryrosecook at 2:01 PM on June 27, 2009


Why is this the case? (not saying it's not, just wanna know your thoughts).

Mostly because skilled software developers are actually in high demand right now. If you have the experience then it isn't very hard to find a very good job in a large and stable company. So if you are looking for someone who will work for free, you are most likely going to get someone who couldn't impress a handful of their professional peers enough to land a job.

I've been doing a lot of interviews lately, and the majority of the candidates that I reject have good people skills, can talk the talk, but lack the ability to actually execute on what they are talking about. Someone who isn't used to working with software developers will probably pick one of these guys up, hand them 10% of the company, and then be screwed when they need to shove them out the door and hire someone with more experience.

That is why contractors are so great. You can end the relationship as soon as you realize that the contractor isn't delivering the value you need. Contractors don't always have to be expensive. There are lots of people who could make good short term contributions that aren't particularly expensive.
posted by b1tr0t at 2:53 PM on June 27, 2009


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