(Photo by Brady Dale)
You don’t need to be technical to found a startup, but it can put you at a disadvantage when working with hired developers. That’s what Nicole Raymondi found when she started Quotiful. Raymondi provides some of the lessons she learned from working with hired developers below.
Quotiful is an iOS based social network and image sharing site oriented around both words and pictures. It has hundreds of images and quotes loaded into the app and it gives you a handful of ways to customize how the words look. You can either make images from what’s pre-loaded or upload your own quotes and your own images. One way that Quotiful is innovative, is that it also lets users republish a quote without using the same image. So you can lift the words off and use an image you like better for your own feed.
To build Quotiful, at first, Raymondi hired a team of developers here in New York City. She had saved up money and planned to bootstrap the app to launch, but the local team burned through most of her money without really delivering much in the way of code. She switched to a team based out of Manila called SourcePad. She called that one of the best moves she made. About five months later she had a workable product.
She launched Quotiful on her birthday, September 2013, and went part time at her work to devote most of her time to making the company take off.
Here are some of the danger signs that Raymondi told us about from her experience with the first shop she went to:
- Communication was very bad. It would take four to five days for any of her questions to get a response.
- Developers all had lots of other assignments. She was a small piece of several people’s work.
- They asked for lots of meetings and brainstorming sessions, all billable, without producing actual product.
- The code was hidden from her on the way. Now she knows that you want to work with developers by way of GitHub or something like it, so you can get access to your code, see what they are working on and what kind of changes have been made.
Even though they had an agreement at the start that everything they built belonged to her, she still had to fight the first shop to get her code back at the end.
Raymondi had a friend who was a developer who could have a look at what she had and talk about her experience. This adviser helped convince her to get out of a partnership that wasn’t working. Looking back, she sees that to have been a key resource. Another important resource for her was TestFlight, an app that lets you run a beta of your app. She had over 400 beta users through that before launching.
Raymondi had early access to Pinterest and started making images overlaid with quotes using InDesign and Photoshop. They would get a huge response on the site, but take her lots of time to make. Quotiful makes it quick. It has 12,000 users now, most of whom are under 24. Users are 90 percent female. Raymondi will be showing her product to investors shortly.
Here are a few images that she provided us to demonstrate.