Should I delegate tasks to be done that require knowledge I don't have, or learn it myself?


First off, I'll start by saying I read a few somewhat related posts, but I will still ask my question as my situation is slightly different and may call for different solutions. Anyway, here are the links:
I have the idea but no resources. What should I do? Should I outsource the development of my idea or develop it myself? And now my situation. I am making an online platform intended for a large audience on the scale of YouTube and Facebook communities. As you all may know, implementing such a platform is not trivial. While I am technologically skilled with a few years of Java programming I had to learn in college, and many years of working with computers in general, I am nowhere near the skill level needed to implement all the systems required for such a website. Working knowledge of HTML, CSS, AJAX, scripting languages such as PHP or Python, database management systems like MySQL, server configurations, Apache, and Linux is just something I don't have even though about 10 hours of my day ever since we got out for the summer has been devoted to learning these areas.

The surface level 'expertise' I have gained is far from the level needed to implement my idea into reality. I'm dropping out of school to pursue my idea full-time, but even with that commitment, it seems like a daunting task to become an expert in so many fields within a very short time. My goal is to have a working prototype by the end of the year in order to showcase the platform to investors. This goal either needs to be reconsidered to fit my learning needs, or i need to outsource the programming and server configuration to those already with the necessary skills.

Recently, I have been considering the latter, but am not sure if this is the right path for my situation. If you do feel this is a good choice, how would I go about outsourcing something like this which needs many different parts implemented that may require more than one person to complete? I know of the freelance websites where you give hackers a project and they bid on the price they will do it for, but would that really be a good choice for a large one like this? I also want to have full control over the design and functionality of the site, meaning that I would like to work with the person implementing the systems. What are your thoughts? Thanks in advance.

Ideas Development Outsourcing Project Management Website

asked Jul 15 '11 at 03:14
1 point
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll
  • You really should think about cutting out 80% of the text and limiting the question to the question(s) you ask at the end. The other bits are not useful and most people will not read them. – Tim J 13 years ago
  • i did stop after the second paragraph – Vp. 13 years ago
  • thanks for the help – Drew 13 years ago

4 Answers


Don't drop out of college. Stay there, take some entrepreneurship classes and keep working on your idea.

I would suggest you find a technical co-founder who is interested in working on your idea. They will know how to put the technical side together more easily and efficiently than you would trying to learn it all yourself. You need someone who knows the technical road map.

The reason I say don't drop out of college is that I listen to hundreds of student ideas every year (including, inevitably ones for new social networks). The first idea (or even the next 100) than any entrepreneur has is rarely the one worth chucking everything in for. I am not suggesting that your idea is not a good one - just that the odds of it being a runaway success is not high. However, it is important to give it a go, as it may be great and at the same time you will be gaining valuable experience - which is what makes a successful entrepreneur.

So keep working on this idea, keep learning, keep doing entrepreneurial stuff and keep up with your studies as well. That way, you give yourself a lot of options, especially if for some reason, this idea doesn't work out the way you plan.

answered Sep 13 '11 at 13:02
Susan Jones
4,128 points


If you have interest in learning how to do it then I would say learn how to do it. Most successful start ups are created by the hands of the person with the idea. Shaping and forming it to exactly how they see fit.

Also regarding platform stacks. I have programmed significant projects in Perl, PHP, Microsoft .Net, PHP, and recently Ruby on Rails. Have launched hundreds of sites...

Learn Ruby on Rails. If you can find a local company that does Ruby on Rails and do some pair programming with one of them that would be awesome. Or post on Craigslist, or Zaarly for someone to teach you some Ruby on Rails. Maybe for ~$50/hr, after a week you'll be ready to start cooking on your own. RoR is so much more efficient from a developers stand point and it's pretty easy to learn if you have the TIME, which you do.

Good luck!

answered Aug 14 '11 at 07:19
Ryan Doom
5,472 points


You will have to do it yourself.

  1. You may dream of "Facebook-sized" crowds, but reality is that you will start off with a much more manageable number of people. Nobody goes from 0-to-Facebook in months.
  2. Most capable outsourcees, the kind you can trust without having to do as much work monitoring them and their deliverables as if you coded it yourself, will not work with a startup.
  3. Depending on how-big-how-fast you position this, using outsourced freelancers will turn a big-fast project into a management nightmare. You will have to create a way to share code, manage tasks and .
  4. The difficulty with scaling comes at scale. You still have to prove your concept. Once you have scale, you should have the revenue necessary to build in necessary scaling. Don't optimize prematurely.

BTW, have you considered using an existing social networking service (instead of reinventing the wheel)? What are you doing that is different from,,,,, etc, etc, etc? Or, maybe an existing social stack, such as SocialEngine or like?

answered Jul 15 '11 at 05:06
1,383 points
  • i honestly didn't even know those existed... would these allow you to fully customize the social network that you create? and after you create it, are you dependent on the website that enabled you to engineer it? My platform doesn't necessarily need a social network, but it would benefit from utilizing one to enhance the community of the site by bringing diverse networks together. If I did use one of these services you mentioned, would that turn off investors? Having something like this would definitely decrease my workload if it would be easy to integrate it with the rest of my site. – Drew 13 years ago
  • Hard to answer. Depends on what you are trying to achieve. Another road you could take would be to use, modify or find/create a plugin for a framework like Joomla, Drupal, Elgg, DotNetNuke, Umbraco, etc. This would be between a turnkey like and a complete DIY approach. Of course, the more code you borrow, the more you are at the mercy of the code producer. But, it may be the way to get traction, then with cashlow, roll your own. – Alphadogg 13 years ago


You should do it yourself. You are finishing your college, full of energy and have the most important component: TIME.

Those freelance website, normally the "cheap" workers are not good enough to deliver something with quality, a code that can be easily extended and probably you will have to rewrite from scratch to make it right. For sure there is a lot of amazing developers there but they wont cost you less than $20/h.

answered Jul 15 '11 at 05:43
151 points

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