Solutions Architect, team lead, mobile developer and entrepreneur. I design service oriented high volume systems for the enterprise by day and develop mobile and web applications for startups/myself at night.
Having been in a similar situation about 6 months ago I am sorry to tell you that; the magical idea will never show up one day.
Have you ever worked in the enterprise? If so, what would YOU love to see changed?
If you come up with any idea you can run it against this checklist:
1) Does it replace something that people use today? If Yes, you need to look at every integration point of this service and provide a seamless transition (Not easy)
2) Try to cater to fixing a single problem that is cross-cutting across departments (if only sales or HR can use it, you are in the vertical domain knowledge business. That is hard to establish yourself in. Instead stick with a wide problem -- Look at WuFoo for example)
3) Make sure whatever you provide has immediate, measurable value proposition. E.g; Create forms without relying on your IT team, track time 4x faster than using Excel etc.
If you want to bounce your ideas off of me, I would be happy to help.
This is really a dilemma for many people who have some time to code but not enough to do it full time themselves.
I think the answer that I'd give you is; depends on who you hire as a contractor.
Just think about the following; you have an idea for a feature.
You may code it in 30 hours and the contractor can do it in 10. Sounds like a no brainer right? You will happily go with the contractor. You may be surprised at the end to find out that:
- You spent 4 hours creating a document that explains your vision and how the feature should work
- 2 hours on Skype
- 3 iteration of checking if everything worked and creating detailed clarification at 3 hours each
- 3 hours of QA testing the code and reporting back bugs.
So at the end the entire process will take 28 hours for the coder + a reasonable rate of $900 and with the wait time (assuming you have a day job) in between interactions, a total of 3 weeks.
What I tried to illustrate here is that if you have the coding skills and an MVP, publish your app to see the traction. If you get traction, think if you can do this by yourself. If not, get a partner who can work on it full time and who shares your vision. Contracting it out should be your last resort.
Working in this space, I can elaborate on this a little bit.
If your business model is around competing on price and all your competitors are very close to you in price point, you need to differentiate yourself. Providing a high touch service could be one way of doing it.
In terms of deciding whether or not the sub contractors should provide the high touch service, I would ask you the following question: are the sub contractors given any incentive to go the extra mile to provide that high touch service? If the answer is no, you should see if you can incorporate a customer feedback component into their compensation in the form of a kicker.
When you answer the first question about differentiation and the second question about the sub contractor incentive structure, I think you will get the answer that's right for you.