Payment with Equity

I get contacted a lot with job offers. Most of them want me to work “for no money” and accept payment with equity.

Apparently this happens a lot. The idea people don’t have the money and need help to make their idea real. Most of the time these people also have no idea what their application will even look like. They don’t know what’s necessary and what’s not. They haven’t even thought it through.

If you’re reading this, and you want to find a developer willing to work for equity, there’s a few things you should do before contacting someone.

Go buy some graph paper

Draw it out. You may not be an User Interface or User Experience designer, but you’ve used applications before. Draw out some main flows. If you’re wanting to make a new Facebook, go to Facebook. Learn their onboarding flow. What steps are required to register as a new user? Do they make you verify your email address before using the app for the first time? Do they do something different depending on whether you sign up via desktop computer or mobile device? Why do you think they do those things and how can you apply those lessons to your own app you want me to build?

What does the main menu look like? Is it a dashboard, a feed, or the user’s profile page? What will the interactions feel like?

Know your goals

At first you will have 0 users. So your goal should be having a pleasant onboarding experience and a pleasantly simple application. It should do exactly what it advertises and it should do it well. By the way, if you’re going to pay me with equity, you’re paying the advertising budget… I’m already giving up all my free time to help you.

Make your goal realistic, like doubling your user base every 6 weeks. Once you hit critical mass, then you can focus on keeping them and charging them money.

Expect bugs

Just like building a house, it’s hard to imagine what it will look like in the beginning. There’s wood everywhere and a ladder instead of stairs. Your baby app will be just like that. It will look like turds. Over time, it will start to look like the app you dreamed of. Over time it will have bugs that will slow down adding new features. It’s the cost of doing business, don’t complain about it.

Don’t worry about my schedule

Remember how you’re not paying me? That means I’m still working a 9-5 job. I’m doing this because I love you and your idea. Don’t try to manage the little free time I have. I will get bitter and resent you and your idea will never become a reality by my hands.

That being said, given a deadline; I will deliver. If I can’t deliver, I’ll let you know with plenty of time to spare.

Follow through

The day we stop answering each other’s phone calls or emails is the day my passion expires. I don’t have time to play tag. You shouldn’t have time to play tag either. We’re partners right? Just like family, you have to make the time for each other. If you’re in a meeting, walk out, and I will for you.

I’m currently not looking for side-work, please don’t even think about approaching me.