Tech Startup for dummies
December 19, 2011 1:28 PM   Subscribe

I have an internet marketing concept that might be useful. Unfortunately this is not my field and I'm in over my head. What are some steps I can take to turn my concept into reality.

After talking to a venture capitalist friend I feel confident that my idea is a good one but of course execution is far more important than just a good idea. In the most simple terms, I would need to fully develop the concept from the ground up, a programmer to physically develop the concept, a real world example of the product working successfully in a market, a business plan and presentation to pitch for funding, and data to back up the products efficacy.

Where to go from here?
posted by mizrachi to Technology (10 answers total)
How much money do you have to throw at this?
posted by mr_roboto at 1:34 PM on December 19, 2011

Response by poster: I don't know. Programmers won't accept a deferred payment, I suppose?
posted by mizrachi at 1:38 PM on December 19, 2011

The long and the short of it is that your options are either to learn how to do all of the stuff you don't know how to do, or pay someone who knows how. There are two major reasons why:

1. Anyone with a marketable skill spends a lot of their time being asked to put it to use in exchange for equity. If they're any good at what they do, they have actual paying clients and don't need to work for deferred payment, especially because the equity in question fails to materialize in almost every instance. And if they're not all that good at it and don't have paying clients then they'd probably do more harm than good to your business plan.


2. Ideas by themselves are basically worthless. The value is in the follow-through.

You could start with the programmer and go from there. Once you have a working model you might have something to show investors.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 1:43 PM on December 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Programmers won't accept a deferred payment, I suppose?

Good ones won't.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:48 PM on December 19, 2011

I don't know. Programmers won't accept a deferred payment, I suppose?

In the sense of 'payment upon completion of work,' maybe. For the kind of work you're more likely to find people looking for incremental milestone payments, because, frankly, you're the kind of client who's most likely to bail out partway and it's nice to get half the money for the half the work you've already done. But "Deferred" in the sense of "You'll get paid when I eventually get funding?" Yeah, that's not going to happen with anyone you'd ever actually want to work with.
posted by Tomorrowful at 1:58 PM on December 19, 2011

Equity doesn't pay the mortgage or put food on the table. Theoretically you might find an uber-geek who has enough cash that they will take the risk on not getting any return for several months work but I think it unlikely.

I've been offered similar propositions a few times and always turned them down, although with enough cash behind me I might have taken the offer.
posted by hardcode at 2:01 PM on December 19, 2011

If your VC friend is as intrigued as you say why not ask him for seed capital in exchange for equity and then pay a developer with that seed capital?

VCs have cash to spare.
posted by dfriedman at 2:28 PM on December 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

If your VC friend is as intrigued as you say why not ask him for seed capital in exchange for equity and then pay a developer with that seed capital?



That's why there's the phrase "technical co-founder," which is never quite a good thing in its way, but let's not quibble about that now. Yeah, what you need is a cofounder. Or two.

Thirdly, why not apply to an incubator, with a co-founder, after you identify someone(s) you really like and like working with?
posted by RJ Reynolds at 3:36 PM on December 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yours is a story that repeats itself time and time again.

1. Get cool idea.
2. Realize you don't know how to create it yourself.
3. ???

Sorry, not trying to be overly sarcastic, but my point is that this is a common problem with many solutions that others here have outlined. Finding a competent programer for affordable rates has never been easier or more accessible than now thanks to sites like elance, rentacoder, odesk, etc. If you're not willing to put your own skin in the game in terms of funding (since frankly, ideas in and of themselves are worthless), then you'll need a technical co-founder, and expect to give at least half (possibly more since they are bringing much more to the table than you are).

Or, you could do what I do, and teach yourself the skills you need to get this off the ground.
posted by Elminster24 at 10:06 PM on December 19, 2011

As a first step, I would ask somebody who works in the specific vertical you are targeting for feedback. Perhaps post on hackernews. You need objective feedback, not from a friend, from someone who is currently in the space you are targeting.

I wouldn't worry about someone stealing your idea. As others have mentioned, ideas are not rare.

Maybe post it here?

Also, ask yourself why nobody else has launched this product? Is there actually an existing market for it? If not, why not?
posted by choppyes at 3:13 AM on December 20, 2011

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