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Cover image for How To Convince A Developer To Join Your Startup
Max Ong Zong Bao
Max Ong Zong Bao

Posted on • Originally published at maxongzb.com

How To Convince A Developer To Join Your Startup

Introduction

When it comes to convincing a developer to join your startup. It can be a tough sell. Due to the demands of many companies who are going through digital transformation.

Which is why there is a huge increase in having developers doing higher-value tasks like building new products or services for the company. While using RPA, Low Code or No Code solutions to automate certain processes to reduce the reliance on developers.

Startups are thinking that a senior developer allows faster development work to accomplish without much hand-holding. This further shrinks a limited pool of talent that is contested from Google to the latest hottest startup.

Vision

In terms of compensation, it is quite hard to beat those companies who has a deeper pocket and resources to hire the right developers for their company. Instead of searching for this limited pool of highly expensive senior developers is setting yourself up for failure.

I would suggest that you search for developers. Who are interested in your vision and mission of your startup to solve problems for your customers? You do this by focusing on building and training your own avengers. Using the vision that you intend to execute for your startup.

Creating a pipeline for your professional, your university & local network. To scout for diamonds in the rough. Before they become expensive to get value for yourself. With the added benefit of the ripple effect in the people, who recommends good developers to join your startup.

Values

One of the key things that i love about Lynn Tye's KeyValues is that she lists down all the companies or startups with specific values on what they stand for. So that these companies could share what it is like working for them instead of the usual information you get from job sites.

Think of it like a mini culture deck that were popularised by Netflix to filtering and allow any prospective candidates to know. What they are getting into before they apply for a position in your startup.

You can start off with just a 1 or 2-page culture deck. One of the 3 values that have to be considered. It is what in the book Debugging Teams called "HRT" that represents the company's focus on the values of a company:

  • Heart - Act like a human by showing kindness and empathy to towards everyone
  • Respect - Which focuses on respecting each other's views, identity, race, culture, religion and seek to not disrespect in them or to one-up each other during a discussion.
  • Trust - By both employer or employee to be an adult to act with integrity even when no one is there to watch you.

Work Arrangement

In recent months, I believe you had experienced the benefits of arrangement for remote work. Which due to the black swan event has resulted in tons of people finding ways to cater to their lifestyle for remote work.

I personally believe an increase of developers wanting to seek a better work-life balance. Which is why when covid19 is over, my suggestion is to include remote work.

As part of your established process to get work done for your developers. Since they can be a very attractive for anyone to get their feet wet for remote work. While it reduces on the crunch in local labour markets to help you to get a global talent force to work with you 24/7 in the weekdays.

Conclusion

I hope what is talked about could help you to attract and hire a developer that you need. So they could help you to build products or services with limited resources or capital. While they are growing to become better developers.

So it is time to shift your focus to find the diamond in the rough. To assemble your own team of Avengers tackle complex problems that you may solve in the startup.

Like what he did when he first founded Linkedin to help tackle and solve problems. Instead of competing with everyone with expensive senior developers with developers who is a diamond in the rough. While being willing to learn to make a difference for your startu

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The original post was on How To Convince a Developer to Join Your Startup - Reading Time: 3 Mins and cover image by Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

I personally believe an increase of developers wanting to seek a better work-life balance. Which is why when covid19 is over, my suggestion is to include remote work.

As part of your established process to get work done for your developers. Since they can be a very attractive for anyone to get their feet wet for remote work. While it reduces on the crunch in local labour markets to help you to get a global talent force to work with you 24/7 in the weekdays.

Conclusion

I hope what is talked about could help you to attract and hire a developer that you need. So they could help you to build products or services with limited resources or capital. While they are growing to become better developers.

So it is time to shift your focus to find the diamond in the rough. To assemble your own team of Avengers to tackle complex problems that you may solve in the startup.

Like what Reid Hoffman did when he first founded Linkedin to help tackle and solve problems. Instead of competing with everyone with expensive senior developers but with developers who is a diamond in the rough. While being willing to learn to make a difference for your startup journey.

Reference

Discussion (11)

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190245 profile image
Dave

I like your comments on company culture & remote work, but maybe the search that a startup is doing should be flexible, while focused on the culture.

For background, I'm a senior dev, and to use your words - expensive (paid above the market average rate for a senior in my area). That said, I could survive a 75% paycut with no real change in our lifestyle, if the rest of the deal is right.

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steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao Author • Edited on

That's really awesome Dave your one of the rare breed of people I know that is able to take a pay cut of 75% for the right culture for a startup. I would prefer to be realistic and help to address startup founders' perception in choosing a senior developer as a first option. Instead, focus on attracting the right developer who might be diamond in the rough to create their own team of avengers.

Never the less most of what I wrote does relate to the culture of the company and startup founders in cultivating the right culture. To attract the right developers to join them in what they are doing for their ethos, values, vision & traditions in the startup to solve problems for their customers.

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190245 profile image
Dave

Most Senior's that I talk to, and are in my age bracket (mid-career) are in a similar financial situation. One that I talked to recently was talking about quitting IT all-together & going to stack shelves, mostly to get away from the stress of the role he was in.

Startup's don't have deep pockets, but they can still attract developers away from high paying salaries, just by offering the right extras. Things like more time working from home don't cost the company anything, things like stock in the startup instead of bonus means that seniors will be more invested in the long term success of the company.

I've even seen some startups that offer stock as a signing bonus, let alone the annual one.

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steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao Author

Yeah... I do have some qualms with that part regarding stock options. Especially if there is the usual vesting applied to your stock options.

I do understand that senior developer in your age bracket and experience. Might be seeking for something else instead of just pay & benefits. I would love to talk to you through a 5 - 10 mins zoom call to listen on your point of view further.

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190245 profile image
Dave

I've just followed you back to enable the chat feature on here. Feel free to get in touch there to set something up if you want a quick chat.

For info, I'll be working approx 5am-4pm GMT during the week, that's probably the best time to find me at a laptop (to be able to use Zoom etc).

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steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao Author

Great, which GMT timezone so that I align with yours to setup up a chat.

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190245 profile image
Dave

I'm in UK, so currently BST (aka GMT+1)

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thisdotmedia_staff profile image
This Dot Media

Really great points Max! You nailed it 👏

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steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao Author

Thanks a lot :) I really appreciate your compliments.

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aminmansuri profile image
hidden_dude

Then there's this video about motivating people:

youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc

Based on an MIT study.

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steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao Author • Edited on

Yup, I read Daniel H Pink's book called "Drive", which he covers in detail about motivating someone that is working in the workplace. I totally agree with focusing on paying a market rate salary for the developer with the autonomy built-in as a bare minimum & as a form of respect of the person.