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65

I'll try to list a few things¹ I wish I thought about when creating my company. The essential thing to know is that either you have to hire people (lawyers, accountants, salesmen, project managers), or you have to learn lots of stuff yourself, given that trial and error technique would often cost you a lot of money. Be aware of the local laws. When you're ...


30

This may not be the very most pertinent answer to your question, and in truth I'm not sure how I would answer the specific question of telling an interviewer about entrepreneurship, but I recently went through the job search process again, for the co-op I'm completing this summer, and I picked up something that's very important to me: If I have to lie to ...


29

Normally I recommend honesty in interviews, but your future plans are none of the company's business, so I would simply answer the question by stating a position or rate of pay that would be consistent with five years additional experience. That tells the employer that you have an expectation of moving up if your work is good, and says nothing about your ...


21

If they are only willing to pay next to nothing, that means they really don't believe in the idea. They just want to try a long shot and see if they get lucky. I usually respond with something along the lines of "you get what you pay for" for development services, and if they don't want to pay anything, they aren't likely to get much. If they say they'll ...


17

I ask leading questions, try to figure out how much of their idea they actually thought through and whether or not they understand how much work will be involved or if they think of programmers as just a commodity. To a lot of people software development is magic and they treat it as a minor task item. After all, some kid wrote Facebook, so it can't be that ...


17

If the whole thing is Open Source and people can download the software and use it, it could be hard making money just from that. Some ways you could make money: Support: People pay you to configure and set up and maintain the software, they get their bugs fixed on a priority-level, etc... Training: People pay you to train them how to use and administer ...


16

I think you just need two things: The Dream and the Balls to just do it. As for timing, don't quit until you have the money to quit.


15

I've come to realize that I know nothing when it comes to the "next big thing". When I first came across Twitter I thought IM/IRC only worse. It will never fly. When MySpace came out I thought "oh Geocities all over again". It will never fly. When I saw the commercial for the Snuggie I thought "a blanket with holes or a backwards robe". It'll never ...


13

Depends on the company. When I took a job at Zillow, part of the appeal to them was that I had been running a small company; entrepreneurial attitude was desirable there. On the other hand, I interviewed for a contract gig at Google and the interviewer sounded positive about my (non-software-related) business, indicated he wasn't concerned about conflicting ...


12

The boss you are comparing yourself to seems to have a different mindset than you. He cares more about getting projects than about his abilities to accomplish them. Your description of him reminds me of a broker. He finds people that offer projects and pushes the projects towards others with the required skills to do them afterwards. His confidence is that ...


12

Every project is built in steps: I have a concept or an idea. This is not very valuable: everyone has thousands of great ideas, and keeping the idea in your head without doing anything with it won't make the world better. Example: a chat for cats and dogs would be so great! I draft the concept/idea on paper. This step is important, because something ...


11

This is called Wizard of Oz prototyping. Wizard of Oz prototyping is a popular approach in HCI to evaluate new human-computer interfaces. It is typically used if a system is expensive to build but can be easily faked by a human sitting in the other room. Thus the name.


10

Are you 100% sure the client is completely gone - is there not some bankruptcy process in place that tries to divide the assets fairly among all creditors? If you sell the solution to someone else, you may be forfeiting any chance of getting anything out of the bankruptcy, which might still be the easiest way to get paid. If there is absolutely no way for ...


9

Let's see. You graduated in CS, without good grades, and your goal is to get hired by Google or create another Google. I sense a mismatch between desire and reality. My sincere advice is to not worry about your desired end result. Instead try to find something you are excited to be involved with, and do that. Your excitement will solve your motivation ...


8

I live in San Francisco, where you have to use a stick to clear these people away. I'm starting my fifth company right now, and have a few thoughts: Yes, they're drunk on the idea. Your first big idea is like your first good cocktail or your first real girl/boyfriend. At the time, it is the best thing ever. Really, though, it's just the best you've ever ...


8

The head of a computer science department recently wrote this article about business majors who would call-in to ask if a programmer would join their projects. He writes that the value of a product comes from its execution, not just the idea. Another article also mentions that the execution is what matters and that an "ideas guy" is really just deadweight ...


8

One very important point that many software startups seem to miss is this: Find a problem, and solve it. Don't build a solution and find problems that could fit, and don't solve problems that are solved already. This seems obvious, but there are many examples of companies whose products failed (or who went under entirely) because they couldn't convince ...


8

I would adopt the strategy of taking the best programmers, the entrepreneurial, super-effective stars and giving them an entrepreneurial-level stake in the business. That engineer is much more likely to put all his or her energy into making your business a huge success if it means that they, too, will be huge successes. That's going to dramatically cut back ...


7

If the person has a lot of domain experience, they may have more than just an idea. Now whether or not they're willing to make any type of commitment is another thing. Will they help you with design and testing and do they know anyone else in their situation that would buy it? Better yet, would they help you sell it to those people? Are they well liked in ...


7

You need both. If you don't know where you want to go, you're not likely to get there. But you also need to actually get started, and to take every step along the way. But as you make that transition from corporate drone to entrepreneur, you shouldn't think that you either remain an obedient servant or become an omniscient dictator. Neither is particularly ...


7

Here it is how it goes in simple words. You put some money aside while working for a company You quit you daily job and start freelancing You transit form freelancing to business by either: a. Hiring other people that you will share your workload, which makes you a services shop. b. Come up with a cool idea and build a product that sells. c. Or Both. ...


6

To start a business, we should have a basic idea about what we gonna do. Laws and other things are secondary which we can hire proper lawyers and resources. In India, there are two type of business running. Services & Products but the products seems not getting wide popularity and attention as the startups in U.S. Also the angel investors are not so ...


6

Simple :) Just do your own business beside your regular job. When you can live of your own business, than the time is right. Nothing less, and nothing more.


6

Speaking from a position of ignorance... (never been a freelancer). First thought - people fear what they don't understand. Get more knowledge, and maybe you'll have less fear. For example, on the liability issue, I'd have thought there's insurance for that. There's probably getout clauses, but if you get good advice... Second thought - sometimes you just ...


6

In my experience I've found that finding a designer that is consistently available to do any front end work that your projects need is worth their weight in gold over contractors. You learn what each other likes, how you communicate, and just mesh as a unit much easier. Now this can happen with contractors of course, and not every designer available ...


6

Is the client actually bankrupt or are they simply "out of business"? Bankruptcy is a legal state and the assets of the business are being administered by the United States Trustee (assuming you are in the U.S.A.) The key here is that the product you have developed is an asset that belongs to the company, and thus to the estate being administered by the ...


5

I think I understand your question now, as per your edit. You desire to become essentially, a contract developer. If that's the case, the most common scenarios I've seen are creating a business, developing a site and running ads in local newspapers and having a website that details what you're capable of. If you personally have experience in a particular ...


5

Turning an idea into a business is a very difficult transition. It requires thinking about a number of intangible aspects, as well as the very important aspect of how are we going to make money off of the idea. I would make the person come up with business plan if they are really serious. It will help them see what holes are in their bright idea. If the ...



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