Monday, December 14, 2009

Startup Software Developers

Just saw a great post by Mark Geller - Developers wanted… in Los Angeles, U.S.A.  (you can get to know Mark a bit more in my post Product Manager Entrepreneur Mark Geller).  Mark tells us:

there is a lot of demand for developers right here in L.A. If you have solid web skills and a few years experience, either with a commercial company or running your own legit projects, there are dozens of companies in L.A. who would love to talk with you.

There’s quite a bit of truth to what Mark is saying about startup software developers, but my guess is that there’s another reason that it seems harder to find developers in this context.

First, early in the post, Mark mentions:

The idea behind the meetup is to connect technology startups with prospective hires who may be interested to work for “alternative compensation”–e.g., reduced salary, partial equity, good experience, etc.

So, likely quite a few of the people who were seeking startup developers were looking to find people for very low dollars.  “I’ll give you equity in the company.”

Second, there’s this funny perception that the cost of software development have been dramatically changed in the past few years.  They haven’t.  While the cost of hardware, hosting and networks rapidly falls, software gets easier to build at a much slower rate.  If you have some complexity and uniqueness to your startup (and you should – see Matching Algorithm), then it’s going to still take time and effort to do the software development.  Likely a lot of time and effort.

Again, though the perception is that it won’t take that much work – oh and I’m going to pay you little or nothing to do all that work. 

My guess is that this compounds the effect.

That said, it definitely is difficult to find really good startup software developers.

1 comment:

Mark Geller said...

Tony, Thanks for the shout out to the post.

Re: your point about companies paying in "alternative compensation," while that is the stated goal of Jobnob, in reality most of the companies there were VC-backed startups, e.g. Docstoc, or significant sized companies looking for full-time help with full salaries and benefits.

There were a few companies like mine, KlickFu, which are still in bootstrap mode, paying in stock, food, and other goodies.