[The following is a part of my Money Start-up series, where I go back to my software development roots and try to create an application/website to better help consumers manage their money. It's a little different than most of the personal finance articles that you'll read, but my hope is that we'll learn some universal lessons along the way. You can start with my introduction or catch up on the whole series.]
It's been a little more than a month since my last update, The Money Start-Up: Training and “What Is Your Time Worth?” (Part 3). That article explored a very common theme - is it worth paying for training/education when there are a multitude of free options available (some of them of high quality). With a month of more experience, I can say that the two options are mutually exclusive. I've learned a lot from the free options. (Not to get too techie, but here are the free ones: Try Ruby, Rails for Zombies, and Treehouse). I'd like to say that I learned a lot from the paid service (a subscription to Thoughtbot), but due to some unexpected life circumstances, I haven't given it a chance yet.
I recognize that one of the biggest hurdles I have to overcome is attempting to do it all myself. My hope is to get a good proof-of-concept out there and then explore getting funding to take it to the next level. However, in the meantime, it's worth asking the question, "What if I were to outsource the development of my idea completely?" There's something to be said with hiring a group of expert Ruby on Rails developers to attack it head on. There's also something to be said for not spending tens of thousands of dollars. If you are a regular reader, you know that I can be frugal and that's a lot of money.
I noticed that Heroku, the platform that I intend to use has some recommended developers and I immediately gravitated to the local one in Boston. That would be Terrible Labs. As someone who has spent the last 7 years with the name "Lazy" attached to his name, it was hard not to identify with a business embracing a negative adjective in their name. I appreciated their story behind it. As I looked that Terrible Team, I could myself working with them (and hoping that I could pay Maggie Steciuk in dog play hours).
As much as I like Terrible Labs, I'm going to make them my plan B. Plan A is still for me to learn Ruby on Rails and make a go at it myself. It may mean that the odds of my Money Start-up being successful will go down, but at least I won't incur a massive debt and I'll learn a valuable skill in the process.
The exploration of Terrible Labs didn't just result in a plan B... I learned that I was going about things the wrong way. However, that's a story for next time on The Money Start-Up.
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