Should you use a dev shop?
There are many founders who have a strong idea of their customer, and the problem that they are solving, but they don't have the technical ability to create the solution.
But instead of recruiting a CTO - they hire a dev shop to create the first version and get traction.
There are some companies that have been successful in doing this, and depending on your goals, it can work out.
But many times, this path has failed.
When you're working with a dev shop, it often takes longer than you think to get the first version out.
Partly because you don't have a lot of experience, and also because the dev shop has other projects and priorities. They are not as motivated as a founder with equity in the business.
This results in you spending more money than you expect to create the first version.
Another problem is that a lot of the work that you create with a dev shop will end up being thrown away when you hire an in-house developer. Often times, if the person you hired doesn't agree with how the dev shop built the software, the solution they come up with is to rebuild.
At first, you feel like you are making lots progress because the dev shop is creating something, and things are moving.
But then, you release the first version, and you realize the solution you built doesn't solve the problem, because it is rare that the MVP does.
Now you need to start iterating, and spending more money with the dev shop, and your funds start to run low, and your startup is on the road to dying.
You need to be able to iterate through multiple versions of your products until you find a version that solves the problem. Doing that with a dev shop is more expensive then doing that with a technical co-founder. You need to be able to build and evolve quickly.
If you can get a technical co-founder, you spend far less compared to a dev-shop, you have product that is released quicker, and you can evolve much faster as you get feedback from your customers.
This doesn't apply in 100% of situations, but usually it is worth the time and energy to find a technical co-founder, and not fall into the trap of spending tons of money with a dev-shop.
Robert Boulos
Should you use a dev shop?
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