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    You can reach me anytime @cmckella. I'd love to hear from you!


    I'm Campbell.  This is my blog. I founded Loosecubes, an office sharing community, and live in New York City.

    I believe everyone has the power inside them to do something great.  Although not everyone aspires to greatness, I think you should.  I hope my blog will encourage you to take a couple steps forward every day. Let's do it together.


    Frequently Asked Questions > Starting a Web Company > How do I hire engineers?

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    I'm not exactly Sergey Brin or anything but here's some ideas that may be useful to you:

    1. Do everything you can to understand the technology stack for your website. Get into it, learn as much as you can.  Our new site has a PostgreSQL database with a rails 3 backend and elements built using javascript, ajax, html5 and css3.  (If technology bores you to death, it may not be the best idea to start a web company). 
    2. Learn the lingo at the very least. Be able to follow when people are talking about their technical interests and accomplishments.  Understand the difference between a relational and document based database.   If you are female, head over to Girl Develop It and start with HTML.  Buy some mongoDB tee shirts.  
    3. Don’t act like you know more than you do.  Humility rules. If you don't know what mongoDB is, don't wear the tee shirts.  
    4. Go where engineers like to hang out and get to know them as people. Head over to New Work City or another coworking space and sign up for a membership.  Go to meetups (Nyc.rb / Gotham Ruby meetup / PHP meetup).  Don’t be a douchebag.  Make friends.  Go to lunch with people.  Ask them about their personal and open source projects (show genuine interest - see #1).  If you don’t like hanging out with engineers, you may not want to start a web company. Seriously. If you aren’t genuinely interested but absolutely must build a website, hire an agency.  
    5. Clearly articulate your business and revenue strategy.  Engineers are lots of times smarter than you are.  They are not code monkeys who just want to get paid.  They want to work on a project that is going to be successful. You need to sell your business to them just like you have to sell it to investors. I’ve found some engineers to be even more focused on revenue than investors.   
    6. Make it worth their while.  That means pay fair, be transparent about equity, create a work environment that is fun and comfortable.  Big monitors and beers in the fridge are a plus.  This rule applies to everyone.  Sorry if it's obvious.
    7. If you can only afford to pay with equity, you’re going to have to do a REALLY good job with #5
    8. Be willing to be flexible. In a lot of ways but especially with hiring terms.  Often that means settling for contractors instead of W2 employees. Advice from Colin Bartlett, one of our engineering leads (and 1099), who's run his own software consultancy for 10 years: "Certain technologies (especially Rails) breed developers with entrepreneurial, independent spirits and that means a lot of us like to not be tied down to one place forever. I've even had developers say they are okay committing to a place for 1, 2 years, etc. but just want to run things through their LLC so they can feel like they are their own boss." 

    If I learn any other tips, I’ll add more.  This was a huge issue for us and I am learning more everyday.  Shout out to the Loosecubes engineering team for being the best EVA!!

    Last updated on February 8, 2011 by CampbellM