Advice on getting an app developed?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Mouth, Jun 30, 2020 at 11:48 PM.

  1. Mouth

    Mouth Tele-Holic

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    I have an idea for an app to use at the company where i work.

    I've mentioned it to the company's owner and he gets excited, but I never see any action.

    It would save probably $50k/yr in one area plus a lot better efficiency in several other areas which are harder to put a dollar amount of without a lot of research.

    I'd like to not just give it away or see it poorly done.

    I see a couple options. 1) at my company, try to position myself as a consultant on it as i have about 200 notes on functionality i want included and i am the best candidate to consult and get a version that works. I've been in the trenches an know what it needs to do.

    2) pay to get it developed myself and then try to sell it to other companies.

    There are several other companies that would benefit from this also(about a thousand and growing that do what we do).

    Anyone done anything like this?

    Any advice on how should i proceed?
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2020 at 12:16 AM
  2. Nightclub Dwight

    Nightclub Dwight Tele-Afflicted

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    No advice, just a warning. You might want to consult a lawyer. Sometimes, commercial ideas that people get as part of their job can be legally credited to the employer instead of the individual. I have one friend who has four or five patents, but his employer owns them all. Just make sure that you do it in a way where you get the credit you deserve.
     
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  3. Mouth

    Mouth Tele-Holic

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    I was thinking about that. I know a couple places I've worked I've signed an agreement like that.

    Definitely would consult a lawyer before going the second option.
     
  4. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

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    I’ve lots of years in R&D. As mentioned, stuff made at, or for, work will usually end up owned by them. I have patents that earn me a bit each year as ‘inventor’ but that are previous company owned, so that does not have to be bad as patents are not cheap or easy to secure... if its patentable.

    Does the company have a board or investors? Ask your boss to let you present to them. They might see the opportunity or one might help set you up to make it. One might want to mentor you into setting up a business or biz unit.

    i was in a similar position with one idea the company was blind too, i took it to the chairman who ‘got it’, and he invested for me and a colleague to progress it ‘skunk works’ style and we presented it back to the company. It was the top product in its market 18 months later.

    Alternatively, keep the ideas to yourself, carefully review existing contracts (lawyer advice good) and leave on the most friendly and transparent terms possible and find help to bring it market yourself with a possible offer to your previous employer as an initial investment partner / pilot. If you are 100% into an idea, make it the job.

    That said, the investment climate out there is really strange and broken but there will be lots of economy rebuilding efforts and good rates to be had.

    Both Microsoft and Amazon Web Services also have ‘business accelerators’, that might help you get a new app and statup off the ground and give you access to development support and advice, free services credit, etc.. We have been in receipt of both and it can help build your contacts. Good place to start research.

    https://aws.amazon.com/activate/&tag=tdpri-20

    https://startups.microsoft.com/en-us/
     
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  5. kennl

    kennl Tele-Afflicted

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  6. koen

    koen Friend of Leo's

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    Also realize that making a good app costs time and money.
     
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  7. teletail

    teletail Tele-Holic

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    Former software developer, current project manager managing software development. My advice - forget about it. Unless you have experience managing software development projects, there are about 100 ways to get screwed, as often by incompetence as by malice.

    Depending on how complex the application is, you are likely looking at hundreds of hours of development and testing time. A good company is going to charge in the $100 per hour range and a bad company isn't worth hiring at any price.

    Once you have it developed and ready to roll, then you have to sell it. You admit that your own company isn't interested in doing this to save $50,000 a year. Why do you think other companies will put out money for your app.

    Good luck and if you go through with it I hope you prove me wrong.
     
  8. Mouth

    Mouth Tele-Holic

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    He's interested. Just super busy and I haven't pushed him to move forward.

    He's an interesting guy and makes several million/yr. The arm of the company I work for made him $1M profit last year.

    He's not afraid to spend money and try innovative things.

    And many things we've done, other companies have followed/copied.

    I think he'll support it, but i haven't given a rundown of everything it would do.

    He's having another different type of app made for another area of the company, so I'm interested to see how they do with that.
     
  9. Engine Swap

    Engine Swap Tele-Meister

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    Would make more sense to farm out the work.

    If it's a good app, expect all the majors to copy it and put you out of business. Look at what has happened to Slack.
     
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  10. glenlivet

    glenlivet Tele-Meister

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    roll your own......depending on the app...it could take anywhere from a few months to a few years.

    If you have any coding experience, Apple XCODE is a quick study with quite a few examples....or really forge your own path and go LUA....

    ... if you can "reverse engineer" someone else's app....even if you have to pay significantly for it (source)...it can save you a s***-ton of time.


    Apple XCODE IDE --- https://developer.apple.com/xcode/ide/

    Android -- https://developer.android.com/studio

    Lua --- http://www.lua.org/about.html
     
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  11. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    Are you a software developer? Or do you just have an idea for app? As they say in the gamedev world, anyone can have an idea.

    As far as developing an app for your company, everything already said about legal stuff and NDAs, etc., comes into play. Research, get legal advice, and tread lightly before committing.

    OTOH, anyone is free to make an app. Many frameworks and tools are free, as in beer. Github is free. Java is... free... to use and share for Android development, for example. Just need a computer for development and a device for testing.

    Regardless, if you make it for the company, the company will own it. If you make it on your own, you will own it. Whether or not you or your company ends up using something you make for company business is an entirely separate matter. I suggest repeating this to yourself over and over again until it's burned in to your frontal lobe, and available for immediate recall at any time.

    You're welcome.
     
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  12. glenlivet

    glenlivet Tele-Meister

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    --- and along those lines.....be careful of not only managing company/your time, but resources as well....don't use a company computer, (not even for a google search related to the project) use your own. Don't print stuff at work on your lunch hr.... if "you" are doing it...it has to be absolutely, unquestionably, yours and yours alone.
     
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  13. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    Right. In other words: at home, on your own computer and internet, off work hours.
     
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  14. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Holic

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    On the average, the 'success' rate of a given software development project is less than a flip of a coin (some source claim as low as 20%). Have to agree with teletail on this. The risks are great, the potential for success is not all that great.
     
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  15. Mouth

    Mouth Tele-Holic

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    Thanks y'all.

    Good info to think on.
     
  16. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    I think you need to stop asking your boss and just start speaking in terms of, "this is happening."

    Busy people do not like being presented with "possibilities" that require a lot of extra thought and consideration. They want to hear that you are going to earn them more money and you know exactly how to do it, (without going into long-winded explanations.) Exude the confidence necessary to just make him trust you and green light the project. Get bold and include a bonus consideration for yourself upon completion of the project.

    Get your facts and figures together, call a formal meeting between the two of you and present the facts, briefly.

    When you address him on it next time, speak of this as though it is "in progress" and propose a budget to get it done. You will by that time have already shown him the financial upside so none of this will appear abstract or complicated. Make it easy for him to say "go ahead, do it."
     
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  17. Uncle Bob

    Uncle Bob Tele-Holic

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    You might have signed something saying any off hours work you do will need to be approved by the company. I know I did, because they remind me of it every year as part of standard compliance training. In my case it doesn't matter if it has anything to do with their line of business or not.
     
  18. Cheap Trills

    Cheap Trills Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I'm happy to chat with you about it for a few minutes. I can give you a rough est on time and cost, or let you know what further info is needed to determine that.
     
  19. ScribbleSomething

    ScribbleSomething Tele-Holic

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    Hi @Mouth
    Hate to be the wet another blanket on your deluxe reverb, unless the company you work for has a software development department, it'd be better to concitrate your energies elsewhere.

    If in-house dev you can position yourself as a "stake-holder" to keeps tabs on the project.

    I've been involved in the marketing and frontend design of a few projects where formerly wealthy individuals had an idea for something but no experience with software development. They spent millions of theirs and other people's money to get their ideas to market. But when it came down to it, there wasn't the depth experience needed to make the right decisions. Or they'd be too invested in the original idea to let it evolve into something better.

    I'm sure you're smart and know your job and industry well. I'm very sorry I don't know how to say this nicer. The 200 notes on functionality loose their credibility if you don't already know how the initial steps to get an app made.

    Of course there will be a lot of people that will take your (or your company's) money. If you called us, and we took the job, we'd do our best to guide you and help until it hurts. But when it comes down to final decisions the would be all yours. Honestly, do you really know enough to understand the implications of every decision you'd need to make?

    Take some courses, do some learning. Then if a couple/few years look back at your notes and see how much sense they make.
     
  20. Pualee

    Pualee Tele-Holic

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    This post changes perspective from the original post.

    1. You are trying to save 5 digits per year, while he measures profit in 7 digits per year.
    2. He is developing apps already.
    3. He is interested in yours but taken no action.

    I'd say from your perspective this is an important app to you because you see the value. From his perspective, this is an interesting app that will be useful AFTER his higher priorities are addressed.

    Business needs are always changing, you propose saving 50K per year, while he may be focused on something bigger right now. Once that bigger project is realized, the 50K/yr job may or may not be the next biggest thing to do.

    What you offer in this app is 5% better profit AFTER investing 10% of a years profit (guessing 100K for the development - probably low). It will take 2 years for the ROI plus development time (guessing 6 months)?

    So investing 10% of a years profit will give him 5% better return AFTER 2.5 years. (These are gross estimates and could be very wrong). There are also issues of risk and cost of maintenance.

    What else can he do with that money to get a faster/bigger ROI? What can he do that has less risk and similar value?

    That is what you need to consider in your proposal
     
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