Derek Sivers is the founder of CDBaby. He is a musician that learned to program and build websites in his quest to promote his music. He sold CDBaby (sort of) for $22 million in 2008 and has a blog that touches on music, programming, business and some broader aspects of life. These are some of my favorite topics and I like the fact that he is able to weave all of those topics together so skillfully. His blog is worth sticking in your RSS reader and I wanted to bring your attention to one post in particular: How to hire a programmer to make your ideas happen.
Derek’s post is spot on — something I wish I could’ve read before I started outsourcing programming, writing and design work a few years back. It would’ve saved me a lot of time, money and frustration.
Here is a quick rundown of his post:
- Reduce your big idea to “Version 1.0”.
- Write a simple overview of what it does.
- Write a detailed walk-through of every click.
- Break it up into milestones.
- Make your first milestone a stand-alone project.
- Post it at elance, guru, odesk, vworker.
- Continue with the one you like best.
This list hardly does the full post justice though.
The big problem with hiring from various outsource sites is filtering out the bad apples. You can expect a lot of SPAM responses to your project and flaky companies that start off strong and then flat-line. The process Derek describes will guide you through those challenges and help you get your project done.
Update: Also read through the comments. People have expanded on Derek’s ideas and contributed a few of their own.