Three Questions for Your Outsourcing Partner

We’re currently testing and selecting some outsourcing partners for startupSQUARE and outsourcing is an issue that seems inescapable these days. Invariably, there is going to be at least one part of your business that is a non-core competency and it’s tempting to send the task off to someone else who is asking less than half the cost of hiring a local. Having managed a small off-shoring division of an IT security company in Vietnam, I’ve come up with my favorite three questions for outsourcing partners.

What is your employee turnover rate?

This is a very important indicator of the quality of the workforce. If there’s a 25% turnover rate of employees, it means that the majority of the senior staff spends a large hunk of their time training staff and not actually doing work on your project. Continue reading

Merry Xmas!…now shut up and start coding.

Just about every entrepreneur I’ve met in Silicon Valley knows how to write more than a few lines of code. The ones that don’t are constantly looking for a partner to build their dream product. You know, the one that will make them a billion dollars. I’d guess you’d have to count me among them. But waiting around for a dream co-founder doesn’t cut it around here. That’s why this Christmas I’m writing code.

I haven’t written a line since high school when the two languages I knew were Pascal and MACOS. In case your wondering, MACOS wasn’t even a proper language, only worked on my Apple II series, and stood for More of A Crappy Operating System. I don’t even know what it was, but it sure wasn’t Mac OS X. I used it for my bulletin board system (BBS for those that remember pre-www). I never saw an instruction book, not sure there was one, but I was able to understand the basic syntax easily enough and hack code from different available sources into something vaguely resembling what I wanted. But that was over 16 years ago. I have no business writing code professionally, but sometimes business requires you to do something unprofessional. Continue reading