So What’s The Deal With App Developers?

I have a few ideas for some “killer apps”.

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The issue I am facing is that even though I have a background in Tech, I do not have any iOS/Android development experience. I feel confident I could learn the app dev but It might take me 6 months or a year to gain enough exp. to create a quality app. Also, It is a must that they are available for iOS and Android so that is another factor.

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As I see it it I have these options:

* Hire 2 devs (1 iOS 1 Android)
* Hire 1 dev (that does both, not sure how common this is)
* Hire an app dev firm
* Bite the bullet and do it myself no matter how long it takes

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For the first 3 options, how is the agreement usually structured so that I retain ownership of the code and I have protections if one of the devs decides to knock off my app?

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Also which one of the options would you recommend?



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  1. Do you need in-app purchases? If not, something like Expo is a really nice javascript solution. If you do, then you will definitely need native (i.e. not html/javascript), otherwise a lot of the functionality will be janky.

    App team hiring advice is bogstandard; you get what you pay for and almost no one thinks about instrumentation and data-driven scaling, so watch for that.

  2. Good questions that I can’t really answer. But I will say if you are afraid of exposing the idea then it will never see the light of day. The number of devs you use seems to me to be down to how much cash you can burn, an agency with a proven track record would probably be best. Write up a solid contract protecting the IP, consult an IP/contract lawyer if possible. And then just hope they’re not an arseholes? That’s my two cents.

  3. Have a look at Flutter. It’s easy to work with and lets you minimize the amount of platform specific code, sharing almost everything between iOS and Android. Consider having a company build the framework and platform specific pieces, then you do the rest yourself by modifying and extending instead of building from scratch – should take you a lot less time to learn enough.

    Also, if you’re actually looking for an app dev company, feel free to PM – we can do dev or help you find and vet other devs. Our contracts are structured with client as sole owner of code, and if we’re using our own libs to speed up the dev you get a perpetual license to use those libs for any purpose. You shouldn’t accept any contract that doesn’t leave you with ownership of code developed on your coin. Don’t worry so much about ideas being nabbed – my business is to make software, yours is to sell and operate, none of us want to switch careers.

  4. 99% of people who think they have a killer app end up surprised others dont think its killer.

    Ive been there myself.

    Man before you spend that money if yours STOP… and get your head back in reality.

    First question fir you to ask yourself: how are you going to sell this app? I mean if it were in an article what would the title be?

    Second question: why would a friend tell a friend? You cannot cpc your way to success.

  5. I highly recommend going the MVP route and verifying the market as much as possible before investing too much. Find a partner or firm that specializes in that and can help you.

  6. Learn it yourself. My first app was a flop and lots of my apps were flops. It takes time to learn the ins and outs of app development and what it takes to succeed on the platform. If you do it yourself and it takes a while but you’re starting to build something really cool, at least you have something to show investors if you want to try to get funding for it. Hiring a professional team can be extremely expensive. I’d suggest starting to build at least something yourself first as it’s low risk and maybe bringing on some freelancers to help you if you get stuck or to speed up development.

  7. Man, it’s gonna be years until you make anything decent if you’re not a programmer at all. If you go this route, try something really simple like Flutter.

    Reality is the ideas will probably not be sustainable. Apps are damned hard right now.

  8. I grew up with a developer that consulted for Fortune 500 companies, and I know for a fact he’d tell me you’d need one for each, because most of the time the people that don’t specialize suck.

  9. React Native, Flutter, PWA…there are lots of options that don’t require hiring two devs…but you have to be clear about the business reasons for making these decisions. Not only is it usually not necessary for most companies to have **both** iOS/Android, it is usually not necessary to have **either**.

    If your app is performance-intensive or needs to interop with something in native code or has some very specific dependency on something that only can be accessed in native…then maybe…but there is almost no clear thinking about this topic.

    Also, if your thinking is: I need to be first to do this or I will fail…then don’t do it. Because eventually you will have competition and you will then fail.

  10. > For the first 3 options, how is the agreement usually structured so that I retain ownership of the code and I have protections if one of the devs decides to knock off my app?

    Technically, you could write contracts. Non disclosure agreements and non competes are two relatively common vehicles that could help you out.

    Speaking more practically, it’s better to assume that you won’t be able to enforce the contract. This isn’t a bad assumption – it costs a lot of money to enforce a contract through the courts. But, it’s helpful because it makes you think about your competitive advantage.

    If your ideas are any good, you will have competition. How will you beat them? What is your competitive advantage?

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