Related: How to Hire the Best Android and iPhone App Programmers in NYC, LA, SF, and Seoul (English Speaking)
(Via Android Developer Forums and NYC Apple Store — iPhone Apps) Back in the exciting real estate boom days, lots and tons of my Bud Light drinking friends got stinking rich. They went out and got themselves a contractor’s license and built big houses. One of them quickly bought corvette ZR-1s (plurl), a yacht, played golf at Torrey Pines, and bought two weird looking cats.
Sam (real name) built houses faster than anyone else in the business. He was my gorgeous green-eyed red-head girlfriend’s dad. The faster he built a home, the faster the buyer could end paying rent on their interim housing (that they had to move into because they sold their family home), the more money he made. His buyers loved him. He loved the money.
Funny thing about it, just beneath the thickness of three coats of paint is where he hijacked his time. He took every shortcut in the proverbial book. Then, he wrote the sequel. Wiring wasn’t grounded, insulation wasn’t installed, beams weren’t locked in. None of this really made any huge practical impact on the active young couple who moved in and used their new Orange County, CA home sparingly.
The people Sam hurt were the elderly who moved into his Vegas and LA homes. Their heating and air-conditioning bills skyrocketed. Leaning on a wall made outlets catch fire.
It was also the elderly few who hurt Sam.
Journalists just couldn’t turn their back on their stories. Even if a couple dozen younger couples had complained, it was that one elderly woman who commanded attention and started off a landslide of destruction in Sam’s life.
Eventually, after lurid tell-all court dates, Sam’s divorce from Lana, and his bankruptcy, every single one of his properties were devalued. So in the end Sam’s shortcut mentality even hurt the younger active couples in La Jolla.
IPhone Apps and Ipad Apps are here to stay. Steve made sure of it.
I realize that there is a huge rush to stake out your marketshare in the virgin mobile world. And getting that market share now means money. But just like Sam, if you build your app in a way that saves $1 but creates $100 liability later, you’re shooting yourself in the foot and the other knee with one of those super slow-mo Matrix style bullets.
IPhone Apps and Android Apps are here to stay. If you’re in a major met like NYC or LA, the sheer density of potential users around you can multiply the adoption of an app. Get yours out there immediately to capture your early adopter market share. But do it in a way that creates minimal down-the-line liabilities. Here’s what to look out for under the third layer of paint:
1. Programmers Annotations
Every experienced programmer places tags in his code that explain what any given lines of code actually do. This way, he can always go back with a “CNTRL-F” keyboard command and rapidly find the sections to modify. This also makes it simple for any new programmer to take over if you part ways or if you want specialized modifications. It takes a little bit more time in the opening run to create annotations but if you come back with any changes (which we both KNOW you will) your changes will be fast.
Programmer Sam doesn’t do this. Sam thinks leaving annotations out or using his own short-hand code will give him job security. This is like your mate asking you to stay married because otherwise that one “video” will hit Youtube.
2. Experience Building Exactly the Same Components
The first thing you should do when interviewing a potential iPhone App developer is identify your key mission critical functionality. If you’re going to build an app with audio, a “play button that plays” is mission critical. Find someone who has already gotten his fingernails dirty with the code you’re going to need.
I’ll give you a personal example. I’m building an invoicing app for contractors. I’ve had contractors at my house. The part I hate is having to spell my street and city name for them – twice. So I’m building a bidding and invoicing app that automatically fills in their invoice with my address. All they have to do is click a button that says, “USE THIS GPS LOCATION.”
So my mission critical functionality is the ability to *extract and enter GPS address data (via Physician Sales Database) into a field.*
I asked 12 people I’m hiring for my inhouse iPhone App developer team if they could fulfill this requirement. All of them said yes. Only one showed me an app where he worked with GPS. I’m considering hiring him as a part of my internal team. Nobody else had ever worked with GPS. Nobody else quickly extracted GPS data (via Physician Sales Database) and filled in an address field with it. And if I had hired any of the others, each and every single one would have hit a brick wall that our experienced programmer already hit on his last project.
Work with people who already have experience building exactly what you need. Otherwise, you’re money will end up paying for your programmer to watch Youtube tutorial videos.
3. Make the NDA Unnecessary
No, don’t skip the NDA, just make it unnecessary. If you break down your iPhone app into abstract “mission critical functionalities” you can technically hire three different groups of programmers around the world to each build pieces of the app. Then hire one more person to put it all together. If you do this, your risk of intellectual property theft is zero. Again, it’s about keeping your liabilities minimal.
Or hire a publically known firm. If you chose to hire a team like Sparkah to develop your iPhone or Android App, we’ve worked so hard to build a strong reputation, that NDAs, while welcome, are really unnecessary. Our team reputation is too valuable to leave you anything less than 100% happy.
4. Ask for a Discount in Trade for Equity
Get a bid. Then ask for a discount based on a reasonable equity stake. This is important. If the programmer says no, this means that he has no faith in the long term success of your iPhone or Android App. With that kind of attitude, how could he possibly do a whole hearted job?
5. Don’t Work with Anyone Who Quotes You a Rate and Cost Without a “Requirements Map.”
If you don’t have a detailed (free) conversation about your iPhone app’s requirements, any cost of time estimate is a guess. People who play the lottery guess. A professional will not offer an estimate until he totally understands your vision. And your vision must include the “Click Map” for every user.
If You’re Building an iPhone App and you want an experienced developer, we’d love to hear your vision and see how we can help you build your app. Even if we don’t work together, a conversation with our experienced team may just help speed up your time to total world domination. Contact us at http://sparkah.com/apps.php then leave us a VM if you get antsie: 310 598 1606.
BUT we really do need http://sparkah.com/apps.php first to know what’s on your mind. Thanks!