Yesterday, I met with someone at the early stage of a startup. He has a great concept with some complexity to it. He was struggling to find high quality developers in Los Angeles. Just the kind of person I like to meet. :)
But I was a bit surprised when he emphasized how hard it had been for them to find a web developer in Los Angeles. My flippant comment was, “If you do a Google search for Los Angeles web developer, you’ll find a LOT of people and firms.”
His response was that he had done exactly that, but that the long list is not all that useful. Here were some of his particular issues:
Most of the firms that come up are actually website design firms not website development firms. And he’s right there’s a big difference. Web design typically refers to the process of interface design and graphic design. The result of web design are static pages as graphics or HTML. Web development refers to the design and creation of the database, code, and dynamic elements of the site. A development firm may be able to do good design, but it’s pretty rare that someone who is a design firm can do good development. Or at least not development to any depth. Also, you often find that good website designers may not be good at interface design for web applications.
In fact, my belief is that most startups should either be looking for a marketer or a web developer as they likely need to be differentiated in terms of marketing or should have complexity in their development. If it’s something simple to build and you are using pretty vanilla marketing, then it’s likely not all that differentiated in the market. But I digress…
So the first challenge was weeding out the designers from the long list of Los Angeles Web Developers. In fact, after a bit he gave up. So my flip suggestion was actually not all that helpful.
Some other things he tried:
- LinkedIn – searched for people, but gave up pretty quickly as it felt like a needle in a haystack.
- Freelance Sites - he considered using one of the freelance sites, but was concerned about the quality he would get.
- Craigslist - He also considered advertising on Craigslist, but again was concerned about quality.
- Local networking – he had better luck by attending a few local meetings and networking. That’s actually how he met the person who introduced us. But he felt that it was rather random whether he was meeting the right folks. There certainly are a lot of Networking Events in Los Angeles and Southern California that you can use.
In the case of the Los Angeles marketplace, there’s somewhat a secret weapon especially if you are looking for more senior talent or web development firms. The LA CTO Forum, which I help organize, has more than 100 Software/Web CTOs from all sorts of companies. It’s a pretty active, but very private network. However, members of the group often post needs out to the rest of the group.
In this case, I was introduced by a fellow member to this individual who happened to be at a networking event. For anyone who reads this blog, if you are looking for particular kind of web developers in Los Angeles, feel free to contact me.
I’m curious how anyone else would recommend that someone goes about finding a Los Angeles web developer? Especially for an early-stage startup? Of course, this is a bit more complicated given the issues raised in Startup CTO or Developer, but maybe leave that aside for now.