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I have many project ideas and unfortunately all require a team of at least 3-5 developers. I've started a project by myself too many times without reaching the end.

The point is to involve people in the project with the hope of giving them a share if the project succeeds. I know that the last point however is the hardest and most complicated one. I’m hoping to get some answers that point me in the right direct.

  1. Where do I find people that may be interested in the idea?
  2. How do I convince people in my network to put time in new ideas?

Update: Regarding "projects" I'm referring to projects in which I have initiated during my career as developer. Of course it wouldn’t be serious of me to launch several simultaneous projects and complain about not to be able to deliver them to the end.

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4 Answers

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Your influence is your last successful project, or the current one if successful. If you reverse your question, you'd be asking how to demonstrate that you are qualified to lead a successful project.

The odd thing that you'll encounter when dealing with programmers is .. the wisdom of the crowd is often accurate.

You might try the following:

  • Publish a road map with small, attainable goals for your next release. Ensure that you leave some low hanging fruit that isn't boring. If it is a feature, let someone else completely take it over and implement it. It might be 'easy', but it needs to be a bit of work.

  • Finish something. If I'm going to contribute to a project, I need to see a clear end game and evidence that it can be influenced if I feel that you've gone mad. I can only base that decision on what you've done in the past.

  • Don't expect that you can establish the parameters of something 'awesome' and expect the world to make it happen. How often in the commit log of your repo did you actually implement something that you previously thought was difficult?

  • Do proper facilities exist? Mailing lists, bug tracker, wiki .. even an ugly web site for the project? I can't count on all fingers and toes how many invitations I've received (mostly due to Ohloh) to contribute to the next 'great thing' that can't even be researched when I take the time to do it.

  • Regarding my prior statement, I can tell when you leave easy things undone. That screams to me that you don't feel like doing it and hope someone else will. That's fine for an established project, but you don't have one of those yet. Make sure the low hanging fruit isn't boring with the same vehemence that you'd offer a job as not being 'dead end'.

  • Have you documented anything? This is very important. I don't want to fail my way through using whatever it is that you wrote. Give me something to start with.

  • Don't be a push over when it comes to patches. If you get bad patches, reject them as bad patches, gracefully. Tell people what you don't like about them as well as what you like, if anything. Don't jump just to get another brain.

I've probably left out some points, but this answer is coming to licensing. Did you use an OSI approved license? Do I need to jump through hoops just to contribute? Are you alienating people that might otherwise contribute (hint, I hope you didn't try and write a license and didn't use something viral in a library). Give me a hint of idealism and I might wish you well. Give me a hint of practicality and I'll probably send you patches. I don't get paid to make speeches. If I wanted to be like RMS (who I really respect), I would have used a condom.

If I find something cool and it looks like a level headed person is putting it together, I usually try to help out, if provided with facilities for me to do so. Otherwise, I usually just download it, say 'meh' and move on. That brings me to the last point:

You need to be responsive, friendly, level headed and articulate. I have met so many people that think they can mouth off like Linus and still garner a community. Rubbish.

Incidentally, did you use the tools that are available to draw interested people to your project?

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Great answer. What attracts people is a great mystery and you gave some clue. –  user7071 Nov 14 '10 at 14:42
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Thank you for your answer. You point out some interesting points. Regarding your question, the only method I have used so far is to have meetings and gatherings with people and friends that may help the project. –  Amir Rezaei Nov 14 '10 at 14:51
    
+1 for the reversal of the question. –  user1249 Nov 20 '10 at 7:21
    
"the wisdom of the crowd is often accurate" ...right ...nazism, wars, genocides, etc: all these were made by people simply following the crowd. Quite ironic, isn't it? Following the crowd is surely the easiest path, but not always the right one. Actually, I believe that the crowd often chooses badly, but the crowd is utterly powerful by itself. Like with a product, it's not the best one which will succeed, it's the one with the most followers, even if it's inferior. That was just my off-topic 2 cents, sorry ;) ...besides of this, good answer –  arnaud Oct 19 '11 at 13:50
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  1. Have a start point to work from : if you have ideas but no implementation, nobody will do anything for you. Build something that show the basics of what you want to do, publish it and then talk about it.
  2. If it's worth, people will care : don't build something that only you will like. It's easy to know (using internet) if something will be useful to anybody else or simply will be interesting in a fun way.
  3. Have deadlines / roadmap : without a way to know what's the objectives of the developpement, people will fill your project is just a vaporeware.
  4. Target your users and contributors : the domain of your software tells you wich niche/audience will be interested in it. Start talking about it in communities that might be interested. Don't worry if nobody ever talk about it, they will if you
  5. Release early (1.) release often : if you release often, you show that something interesting is being done. Interested people will care and comme join your boat if they know you're in the way to achieve something that interest them and that seems more possible each day.
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You wrote that you have many projects, it would be personally difficult for me to invest my time with someone who try to launch multiple project at the same time.

Why not focus all your energy on what you think is the most viable project and that you've got a great deal of passion for, if you're passionate it will be easier for you to find business partner. Once you will have a successful project under your belt it's going to be easier to find new fresh recruits as you would have built credibility

From day one make sure they know how much equity they will be getting when the business will take off... Many people won't invest their valuable time without a signed contract.

Good luck with the project(s)

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Thank you for your answer. Regarding project(s) I refer to during my career as developer. I will update the question to clarify this issue. –  Amir Rezaei Nov 14 '10 at 14:41
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It must be beneficial to themselves for anybody to be interested in your ideas at all.

If you don't have anything immediately usable to those you want to assist you, the benefits are usually in form of money.

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Well one benefit must be that they see a potential in the idea and their share. –  Amir Rezaei Nov 14 '10 at 11:33
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The easiest way to do that is to present functional code... –  user1249 Nov 14 '10 at 12:07
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