We get it. There are thousands of development shops out there and hundreds of thousands of freelance programmers who can write code for you. Where do you begin?
The art of development
No two developers are the same
Developers are like artists. They each have their own style, their own strengths, and their own challenges. No one is great at everything, and anyone who tells you differently isn’t being transparent. It’s as much a process of a development team finding the right clients as it is a client finding the right developer. As with most things, it works well when it is a good fit both ways. If you’re asking a potential development partner to sell you on why they’re better than the next guy, you probably don’t know what you’re looking for. You wouldn’t commission a portrait without knowing what style you wanted. Don’t choose a developer without knowing what you want that relationship to look like and how you are defining success for the project.
We believe the key in finding the developer that fits best with the client is based on mutual trust, collaboration, and good communication. You’ll spend a lot of time talking with your developer in preparation for your project during development and testing, and in maintenance afterward. You need to like each other. Life is too short to work with people you don’t like. As a result, we only take on projects that we believe are a good fit for us and clients that we enjoy collaborating with.
The importance of consulting
Business decisions drive technical solutions
Consulting is elementary to how we approach problem solving through technology. We leverage our experience developing software from startups to manufacturing giants, and offer industry expertise that provides an advantage over traditional consulting firms. Whether you’re preparing for an exit, are looking to join forces with another company, or have recently added a new company to your portfolio, we can help optimize your technology to deliver a positive ROI. From an assessment of existing software to development of new solutions, your technology should be working for you, not the other way around.
We believe your technology should be an investment, not an expense. All of our technical recommendations are based on the unit economics of the business and implementing solutions that directly impact end-of-year revenue. Business decisions drive technical decisions, and they play a role in everything we do.
Budget is only a piece of the equation
It’s not the conclusion
Our hourly rate ultimately doesn’t matter if we don’t yet know what you need.1 The point is to find the right fit for whatever problem your app is solving. A $50,000 solution to a $2,000 problem is irresponsible. Likewise, a $50,000 solution for a $250,000 problem isn’t going to solve anything worthwhile. The solution is only as useful as the results.
We want all of our suggestions to fit clearly within your path to successful results. We can come up with solutions for a wide range of budgets, as long as you’re willing to make compromises along the way. Our average project cost is $150,000, but we’ve recently built projects for $20,000 and for $500,000. If you have a hard budget, let us know. We will always be honest about how much you can afford within that budget. If it’s too small to build what you want, we’ll help you find another solution, if possible, that can still help move the needle. We’ll even tell you if you’ve over budgeted. We’d rather you begin with a smaller project and add on to it over time than building a castle out of the gate.
The old adage of “Good, fast, or cheap – Pick two” is a great qualifier for choosing a developer. You can shop around for the lowest price, the fastest timeline, or the biggest promises. We get 10 emails a day from companies overseas offering development services for $10-15 per hour. If you’re looking for cheap development that can start tomorrow, we’d be happy to forward those emails to you.
But if you’re looking for more than that and you’re serious about how this project is going to impact your business, we could be your perfect partner.
What we do really, really well
Figuring out the MVP for your new app
Building something from the ground up requires getting the foundation right. Our work begins in the revenue channels and unit economics of the client. Based on how your business generates revenue, we’re able to prioritize functionality to support your top goals. Automating aspects of any business requires money, and we carefully assess the cost of development against the projected value for your business. This leads us to the minimum viable product (MVP) in a carefully calculated manner to make you, your boss, and your investors feel confident in your investment.
Picking the right technology for the job
We don’t choose languages and frameworks until we fully understand your business goals and the intent of the features of your app. There’s no technology stack that is inherently “better” than another. It’s all based on the unique needs of your business. Talking about languages and frameworks before we understand your business is putting the cart in front of the horse, and it is a common problem in our industry.
Planning strategically for your goals
We ask a lot of questions. We actually prefer for our clients to come to us without detailed plans, and we’ll help color in the details. To successfully launch a new app, you need to be an expert in the industry you’re targeting. You bring the expertise about your industry, and we bring the technical expertise. Together we can make a plan that aligns your technology with your goals, because neither element can function in a vacuum.
Understanding your existing technology and business
A new solution may not be what’s required for your business, so we’ll check what’s working well and see where your technology is working toward your business goals. We actually prefer for our clients to come to us without detailed plans, and we’ll help color in the details. We’ll make suggestions on how you can remove inefficiencies and take advantage of what you have to drive increases to your EBITDA. Should you decide you need a new approach to your problem, we can work together to build a product that will work to your advantage.
What we don’t do well
Submitting a quote for your RFP
No project is as simple as it seems on the first pass, and it is an important investment. Any estimate put on a project after a quick read of tech specs is no more accurate than a shot in the dark. We’re big believers in setting good expectations. If we don’t understand what you’re trying to accomplish and why it is important to your business, we can’t make recommendations we’re confident in.
Accepting a spec document at face value
There are plenty of developers who will build what you’ve spec’d. We are not at our best when we’re coloring inside someone else’s lines. We’d rather ask questions and search for ways to do it better or even just confirm that it is the right approach. If you don’t want any recommendations, we won’t be a good fit. Software is a big investment, and we want to lay the groundwork for a solid foundation.
Maintaining the status quo instead of growing
We have intentionally put together a team of experts to make strategic decisions about the initial positioning and the ongoing growth of your software. If you’re looking for someone to maintain an old web or mobile app as-is, we’re likely not the best fit. But if you’re looking for a technical partner to help your app reach new goals, it could be a good fit both ways.
Working with jerks
We will always create a professional environment of mutual respect and collaboration with a clear path to success for all of our clients. We don’t mind making your problems our problems because we want to see you succeed, but we won’t tolerate blatant disrespect of our team. Every team member and every client is equally deserving of respect. We will not compromise our proven standards or processes just to be agreeable. If you believe you are doing us a grand favor by granting us the privilege of working with you, we’re probably not a good fit.
How we work
We are unapologetically curious and creative. We ask questions about how your business works and why. We poke around in plans for potential holes and figure out how to patch them before they happen. We strive to ask our clients questions that no one has asked them before. We’re not trying to be rude; we’re trying to ensure you have the best possible plan to achieve your goals.
As a result, we get to know our clients really well. No matter the size of the project, all of our clients go through a dedicated discovery process to explore the needs of the client’s business and the best ways that software will address those needs. All stakeholders agree to the strategy before a single line of code is written so that we can remain as efficient as possible.
Our consulting team works together to assess the current risks and shortcomings of your technology and create a comprehensive pathway to solutions. For some clients, this looks like a robust integration. For others, it’s implementing a new monetization strategy. After our assessment, we’re available to discuss the results and can guide you to the future of your technology.
Our designers and developers work together to complete milestones in short sprints, ensuring our clients are continuously receiving deliverables. After ongoing testing and development, we launch the application on the App Store, Google Play, through an enterprise delivery system, or directly on the internet. Post-launch, we’re available to support the application or can easily transition maintenance over to an in-house team.
Do we sound like the developer you’re looking for?
1 Dying to know our hourly rate anyway? It’s $200 per hour.