Whats best MVP on Mobile app with a local developer or web app with outsourcing team?


I've been outsourcing for a while to create the MVP on a web app. I never get what I'm asking for from these outsourcing teams, they take longer than expected, or they just disappear. It's been a huge struggle for months to launch the MVP. Execution is so important early in the startup with an outsourcing team I won't execute in a timely manner.

I have a friend that i met in a business event. now for a while, he want to create a much more simpler version of my idea to get it going on a smartphone mobile app. He also want hustle it. He's in love with the idea. He's not asking for shares or anything. He wants to prove that he's serious with this project first.

The positives for the mobile app:

Since, I've been doing more research in the market and from other entrepreneur it's much better to start very small and worry more on solving the problem than adding to much features from the jump. Mobile app helps me keep it lean. Also have access to a developer at anytime without a fee. I get exactly what I want since he knows what I want.

The negatives with mobile app:

The features will be very simple compare to the web app. I haven't made enough research on how to market and how to get early adapters in mobile apps. I don't know the rules at the iTunes Store.

Getting Started Lean

asked Feb 19 '13 at 04:28
303 points
  • What's the question? – Joel Spolsky 11 years ago
  • @JoelSpolsky should create the MVP on the mobile app with my local developer that I know or continue to try to build MVP with outsourcing team? – Zapoo 11 years ago
  • @zapoo You totally changed the details on your question after I answered. Perhaps you should try to make a list of pros and cons and outlining your situation in more detail so as to receive an accurate answer. – Stephen P. 11 years ago
  • @stephenp yes, I did change it. Please change your answer. I would love your feedback. Thanks – Zapoo 11 years ago

3 Answers


In at least one very important way, web apps help you keep it lean by giving you one code base that can be made to work on iOS and android platforms, especially for an early stage, low feature MVP.

I haven't had great experience with outsource teams producing code that anyone else can scale or build on top of--I'd put anything your outsource team creates in the "prototype only" bucket.

I think what you want is a local webapp developer, but the local iOS guy is great if part of your core feature requires some special integration with the phone.

answered Feb 19 '13 at 06:34
Simple As Could Be
121 points
  • What if the core features can be added on the mobile app (local developer can do it)? The complex features can be added later on the web app after funding or revenue to maintain local teams. What you think? – Zapoo 11 years ago


Are you having trouble spec'ing software because you're not a developer yourself?

I remember my first job in apparel, designed a tech package, sent it to China, go the worst pair of pants I've ever seen. Even though I knew the theory, I didn't know how to ask for what I want. After doing it a few times I would spec a million worth of product in an hour. The lesson I learned was no matter how much you know about the product, there's still a curve to international outsourcing that you'll only learn with more experience. Be as detailed as possible, and provide standardized workflow and instructions as they expect to see them, not as you want to provide them. Direct them to similar products using similar frameworks.

Be objective, because something clear in your head isn't clear to anyone else. When explaining something pretend they're from Mars and don't know what the internet is.

That said, if someone told me they were willing to develop my idea I would 100% take them up on it and provide equal share of equity. Developing a mobile app vs web app isn't so different, it's just how the database is read that makes the difference. Quick and dirty but developed is always better then a long list of features that may never come to fruition.

Bonus, working with friends is fun. Even if you fail you can reminisce about the time you guys started a mobile app company and failed. Good luck!

answered Feb 19 '13 at 08:57
Stephen P.
269 points
  • He's not really a friend. I met him at a business networking event. From that day on we've been just talking about this idea. I have tech partner and we created a spec doc. They still don't understand. – Zapoo 11 years ago
  • @zapoo Yeah, like I said everyone has a different expectation for a spec doc. Find out how they want it and send it back. What are they messing up on? You might save $100k if you acquaintance can develop it domestically for cost of his time. I would extend equal equity if for nothing other then a leap of faith to show him you're not in it to screw him. Although I know cheaper developers that would build you out for less. Look me up on LinkedIn if you need more specific advice/references. My contact list is yours :-) – Stephen P. 11 years ago


This doesn't even seem like a question. Continue using a team that doesn't really get your vision, doesn't produce what you want, and doesn't deliver anything in a timely manner.

Or work with someone you can actually met with and share a joint vision with who is super stoked about your app and is willing to work directly with you on building it.

If it can all work fine on mobile just go that route and try it out, see how it goes. At this point in your venture you are just trying things, testing things out and pivoting when needed.

I would much rather work with someone who "gets it" and can think on his own versus some I always have to tell exactly what to do.

answered Feb 19 '13 at 15:45
Ryan Doom
5,472 points

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