Meet the Team, Follow Progress and Enjoy the Ride

This blog is about the lives of a few entrepreneurs who are aiming to establish the next trend in social networking and the concept that will make it happen. Since our venture is all about connecting people together, we want to be involved and connected to you and we want you to be involved and connected to us. We'll be sharing with you: who we are, how we got started, how we’re doing and where we’re going...we're taking you along for the ride!!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Ignorant, Stupid or Both...What Was He Thinking I Was ??

We are one less programmer. I have to say, I have not had any luck with programmers thus far.

Almost a year ago, when I started LGS Coaching Agency one of the major things I wanted to accomplish was add a whole level of web 2.0 services into coaching. This would have included exciting interactivity between clients and coaches, easy tracking systems for clients used by coaches, and a matching system for clients to select their coaches. (This is still not being done by the way and needed)

In order to do that, I needed someone who could develop the platform we would use. I met someone and after some discussions, he agreed to partner with me and do the development. Through the process he actually told me “Ann, technology isn’t everything…” I should have known then and there, this was not a truly dedicated programmer.

Anyway, shortly after that comment and conversation that ensued, he decided he was unhappy and wanted to dissolve the partnership…on top of that blow, he wanted me to pay him over $40,000 for the work he had already done. Work we had implemented and that coaches were already using.

Long story short, he hasn’t gotten a dime, but that was a big factor as to why I had to put the Coaching Agency on hold.

Fast forward to this Thursday. Remember my post on finding this amazing programmer and finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel…that tunnel, has now been thoroughly destroyed with vast amounts of C4. We will call the programmer in question, whose name and company I will not disclose at this time, LeftJab, since that’s what he delivered to us.

When I met, LeftJab, and after further investigating what he had to offer, I realized he did indeed have a 75% perfect solution for our needs, at a very affordable cost, since what he was offering was part of a package deal he had been developing for the past 5 years.

His package (the code) was great…however, I didn’t and nor did Martin really click with LeftJab or felt that he truly understood our vision for Why Go Solo. But, no matter, what I really wanted was the product.

I realized after our first meeting with LeftJab, that we would need a legal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between our companies as soon as possible. Since he did package his code and we would greatly improve and expand that code; we needed to make sure we protected ourselves and our ideas. I certainly wasn't against offering his other clients some of the features, additions and widgets we would develop and open through our partnerships, but each would be agreed upon on a case by case basis.

I should have done this right away, but a month had elapsed by the time I finally told LeftJab we needed to get the MOU. This is when he dropped the A-Bomb on us. He emailed and said to make sure we included in the MOU that he would LICENSE his package to us and would retain all rights to the code.

I worked real hard at keeping my cool and emailed him back letting him know that it would make absolutely no sense to build a potentially 100 plus million dollar company on borrowed code. Further more, although he had mentioned his code was a part of a package he had never, ever mentioned that it was a LICENSED Package. Had he properly disclose this information we never would have agreed to sign-on with him.

With all that being said, we only needed him to agree we had ownership of the code and he would retain his own rights to his initial code. We would further agree to not sale his code to anyone else or use it for any other projects other then Why Go Solo. All future expansion of the code we had developed to meet our needs and paid full development cost for, would solely be ours, unless, we deemed is safe to share.

He replied saying, he disagreed and he didn't see anything wrong with using licensed code and that he had mentioned his code was a package, which is why he can offer it at low cost. Thankfully, he also agreed to give us our money back.

A package is night and day from a licensed package. A part of me wanted to reply and ask him if he thought I was really that stupid or ignorant and what in God’s name gave him that impression. I didn’t. I asked for our refund and wished him luck. Although, I did clue him in that he needs to legally disclose his terms and conditions and that he is NOT the only show in town offering what he has to offer, he ought to check-out Ning.

He missed a golden opportunity. It’s a set-back for us…but then again, Thursday afternoon we were in someone else’s office discussing our needs.

Back to LeftJab for a second, I did have him sign a non-disclosure agreement and we did already provide him with a new feature he hadn’t thought of—I will keep an eye on what he does. If I see him implement our idea, I will legally jump that his throat at that point. If by chance, he’s arrogant enough to still think I’m ignorant, stupid or a push-over; he’ll get a rude awakening.

I do wonder how many of his other clients might someday be looking to sell the company they developed on his platform and he’ll then, at that time, tell them that his package has been a licensed deal and if they want to sell, they have to buy his code first…

I don’t understand dishonest people, business people who lack customer service skills and ability to build partnerships, or people who lack vision.

There is a huge difference between business owners and entrepreneurs. In my own words here is how I see things: Business owners have their businesses work them and most often, not for all that much money. They usually lack vision and ability to take real risks. Business owners will work for the rest of their lives and they might retire comfortably after selling their businesses, but they never really stepped out of their comfort zones.

Entrepreneurs on the other hand, create and work their businesses for the joy, challenges and excitement. They take big risks (if they fail, they do it again), they grow their businesses and eventually they hit big pay days. They never stay in a comfort zone and they are always exploring.

Well, heck, I believe everything happens for a reason…and this too shall pass. Success is the best form of pay back.

1 comment:

Petri I. Salonen said...

This posting is a very good example of how some individuals treat software IP and also a very good example that one has to be very careful with small programming shops. I have built more than 30 international software products during my career and have been part of selling a software company. When it comes to due diligence, the first question that the buyer is going to pose is who ownes the code. Good luck with you endevour!