App development · Coding

Need to build an app. Should I learn the code? Find investors? or partner with some developers and design specialists?

Leo Junior Owner of Altruethics - Ethical Software Company specializing in Mobile apps

July 21st, 2019

So... I worked on apps back in 2014 but never finished due to budget. I have some big app ideas to change the experience of mobile gaming but don't have a team or investments to at least try to outsource work. Is there another way I can go about approaching this? Just million dollar ideas sitting in my mind driving me insane at this point. Or should I just learn so more code and do it myself?

Anonymous Founder

July 21st, 2019

Hi Leo,

A few questions you want to answer before building your app:

1. Who is the customer who is going to use your app ?

hint: everyone is not the answer

2. What problems are you solving for these customers ?

how you know they have this problem. You talk to any of them ?

3. How big is your market size ?

some rough estimates. Is it still worth a million dollar ?

4. Who are your competitors ?

If you have no competitors, either you will strike it very big or most likely there is no market.

5. How do you know they will use your app after you build it ?

If you have all these answers and still thinks it is worth building:

a. raise an angel round

b. form a team

If you don't have these answers:

Consider learning 'Design Thinking' or join 'Lean Startup Machine'.

If you think you can learn and code:

Without coding experience, it will probably cost you more than having someone build for you. Calculating the value of your time if you are currently working.

Alex Sokolov Senior Software Engineer

July 23rd, 2019

Hi Leo!

I hope you're doing great.

There is actually a little controversy in your words. When you're speaking about really scalable and transforming ideas, I'm sure you'll find someone engaged in your ideas who'd invest in it. So, don't give up and keep on searching.

However, at this very point you might want to turn to young developers who are only starting building their career. You can ask for references from college professors and teachers and contact to the most prosperous student.

Don't be afraid to cooperate with junior developers. Quite often, they're more attentive and diligent than senior ones, as they're building their name. Moreover, they can develop a product for you for free in exchange of permission to present your product in their portfolios.

Hope it helps.

Good luck,


Senior Software Engineering Manager at iTechArt Group.

Eric Gaze

July 22nd, 2019

I say, "Learn to code." Here's why:

  • If you learn to code, you're in control of everything. Want to change the color of the score board? You can. Want to add a new level? You can. Want to work all weekend and have this done first thing Monday morning? You can.

  • Also, you'll be more marketable. You'll be investing in yourself, so even if things don't go as planned, you'll come out way better for it in the end.

  • You don't have to deal with motivating other people. If having a single developer do work for you is the only thing holding up your future empire, imagine how crucial that person is to you. And how easily they could leverage that against you.

  • Plus, coding is getting easier. There's tons of resources out there and with libraries and frameworks, you won't be coding every pixel and interaction from scratch unless you want to.

  • Finally, if you do know some code, when it does come time to hire a developer, you'll know what to look for.

LeVar Berry Inventor of the eDriven brand name

July 23rd, 2019

Learn to Design! Learn to pitch others. Coding is not something everyone can do. It could take you 5-8 years to be good enough to release your app. However, you can learn to just prototype your app in a few weeks with tools like Adode xD, Sketch,

From there learn to pitch developers who can help you build it. Learn to pitch potential investors.

Use your designs to get quotes on a MVP. Get 10-15 quotes... try to understand the different technologies from each quote just enough to know what will save your money.

As a developer and marketer myself.... I know it is a lot easier to take a person with an "idea" seriously if they have a design.

Don't listen to people who say you can't do it or your idea is not worth what you say it is. Never ever quit. BUT! be flexible.

Ajané Hinton Co-founder Now Open App, Inc.

Last updated on July 23rd, 2019

I would say start with the basics. Create a prototype for each of your ideas to see which idea you should focus on based on user demand and engagement. Then learn to code if it will be the most efficient way to get your app to market. If not, seek the minimum invest required to get your MVP out. The good thing is that with your testing at the prototype level can show investors traction.

Saquib Khan Building BIG IDEAS -Hire 31+ resources on Equity - I want to put a dent in the Universe!

July 23rd, 2019

@Leo every founder thinks it`s a million dollar idea until they meet with the reality. I am not trying to pour cold water on your hopes.

Anyway - I was in the same shoes but I crack the code (I think) :-) I have hired 8 PART-TIME resources on equity in last one month.

Possibly, we can connect and see how can I help you.


Saquib Khan

Nipunika Kabadi Check us out

Last updated on July 23rd, 2019

As a software startup, yes, you should learn and know something about technology and coding, and yes, you may want to do it to demonstrate commitment and effort.

Paul Garcia marketing exec & business advisor

July 21st, 2019

My guess is that if you had ideas in 2014 that are still just in the idea phase, they're not million dollar ideas. Someone else would have developed them by now.

As the other answer suggests, you really need to spend the time validating your idea. This is something you could have easily done in a couple months out of the last five years, but haven't done. It costs you next to nothing, other than some of your time, to do validation steps. And it will keep you from going insane, which is what happens when you make assumptions you haven't proven.

Here's why. When you prove your assumptions are correct and that your idea/concept is valid, that you have found product/market fit, and you have a plan to deliver, you should be able to find many people willing to join your effort to execute your plan. When you do none of those steps and proclaim the ideas are worth millions, you sound like every other dreamer who hasn't done the work, and no one wants to join your team.

In five years you could have easily become a superior coder. Saying you've been sitting on the idea that long shows you are not really personally invested enough to take the steps to do this yourself. Either you don't believe that your effort to learn will actually result in a million dollars, or you don't really believe in your idea. Which is it?

I'm sorry that seems a little harsh, and it's not meant to shut down your passion. It's meant to point out that your credibility is shot. Your choices are, put more personal effort into the project, or sit back and wait for it to spontaneously start raining money from the sky so you can collect some.

Advice: In the future when you tell your stories to other people, pretend you have just started. Don't reveal that you've done very little for five years. Take real steps to do list your assumptions on paper, then test each assumption, then validate your expectations for the idea, then revise your idea, then write your marketing plan and validate your marketing plan understands the product/market fit. Then define what will be necessary to execute your idea.

When you do all that pre-work, you will get a lot more support from others you might invite to join your effort, either financially or in labor.