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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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Looking For A Design HackStar for Startup Revolution

Comments (8)

I’m starting to integrate a bunch of new stuff into the Startup Revolution site now that I’ve finished book #2: Startup Life: Surviving and Thriving in a Relationship with an Entrepreneur.

I’m looking for someone with web design chops who has experience with WordPress to work with me on some stuff. I’m using the TechStars HackStar model - I’ll pay a modest amount of money for a full-time or part-time and will plug you in aggressively to the TechStars and Foundry Group portfolio after three months if your work is awesome.

If you are interested, send me an email along with links to examples of what you’ve done. You don’t have to be in Boulder, but it’s an advantage if you are in or near one of Boulder, Boston, New York, Seattle, or San Antonio as it makes it easy to plug you into the network.

  • http://www.badjer.com/ Brandon Burns

    I’m not sure the HackStars model, which exchanges a $6k stipend for 3-month experience working closely with startups with which you could very possibly join the founding team and get funded, is the same as what’s essentially a freelance gig.

    Albert’s model at USV is not only more fair to designers, its more likely to get you the results you want from quality professional designer. Many points on why in the comments of Fred’s post, including my calculation of why $12,500 is probably fair for that job at the top of the comments: http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2012/10/usv-identity-talent-audition.html

    Like any market, there are going rates for freelance design talent. Get someone who knows what it takes to design what you want (as USV did with Behance), estimate a scope of work, and multiply the number of hours times a decent rate for talent in your area and go with that. You’ll attract professionals who know what they’re doing and get a better product.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Brandon – fair comment. We’ll see what happens. I haven’t specified the amount I’m willing to pay yet and I’d rather see what people are interested in doing rather than trying to use the amount I’m willing to pay as a filter. I have plenty of folks who I can pay for this – I’m looking to surface new, aggressive talented people who want to get involved.

      • http://www.badjer.com/ Brandon Burns

        I can dig that. :o)

        I’ve spent my career working at agencies that were tapped by the likes of Google, Amazon, etc. for their design talent to craft their core products because their in-house talent was severely lacking — mainly because the agencies know what’s up while the techies have their because, while they know what make techies tick, they don’t have design in their DNA and, thus, can’t find, attract or keep good designers happy.

        I say that to illustrate this: the talent crisis we have is due to a lack of understanding of how to find, motivate, manage and compensate talent — not due to a lack of talented people.

        There will always be a gap when you’re looking for talents you don’t have yourself, because you don’t know what it takes to do their jobs. But showing respect for the time and talent of professionals, via fair market rate pay, is a good first step.

        • http://httpcolonslashslashwww.www.startupjerkfest.com StartUpJerkFest

          great points. do you also think talent crisis comes from amateurs willing to do work through sites like 99 designs or eLance, which teaches the buyers that they can get away with paying low prices for design? add to that: buyers don’t know the difference between good design and bad design and how it directly and indirectly affects customers’ desire to spend with their company? is there any hope of educating buyers about this, or are they just two different classes of people, those who know and care, vs those won’t dont care and only want cheap?

          • http://www.badjer.com/ Brandon Burns

            time will reveal how amateurs and cheap talent fit into the story. but european medical history has clues…

            if a pharmacist, “cheap” talent when compared to a full fledged doctor, set up shop and went beyond just prescribing drugs, and started doing a doctors jobs and actually treated people, shit would hit the fan if the results were bad, and the market would keep their compensation next to nothing, and everything would pretty much stay the same.

            but when this happened in countries like france decades ago, the pharmacists stuck to common illnesses and actually did a good job. they are now licensed to diagnose and provide care for a myriad of maladies. this increased demand for pharmacy visits raised the status and salaries of pharmacists, decreased demand for ER doctors, lowered hospital costs and de-stressed the job of being a doctor. meanwhile, US doctors still get paid a more, but are inundated with silly ER requests that the pharmacist down the street should be able to take care of, but can’t because it’s illegal and it just doesn’t work that way here. our medical market never underwent the change the french one did. however, theirs is more efficient and considered, by many, to be of better quality.

            translate this to design, or even software development. we’ve got untrained people trying to do the job of professionals, doing a bad job, and not much is really changing. the market won’t change unless the designers and developers doing stuff on the side and on the cheap start to produce work on a level as high as, and become as numerous as, the quality french pharmacist on every street corner.

            will it happen? maybe, maybe not. depends on how high the level or talent gets and how numerous it becomes.

            i hope it does happen. it will be a good thing. and the market will work itself out, with everyone getting paid more fairly, just as it did in the french medical system. we need to stop concerning ourselves with the “need” to have high paid ER doctor-level talent, and start training and employing more pharmacist-level talent to do less nuanced tasks, which is the bulk of the work.

            i won’t get into crowdsourced contest platforms like 99 designs, but eLance is already helping to make this happen in a positive way. you don’t need a ER-level rock star to code basic stuff, you need a pharmacist-level doer. eLance is full of doers. and the talent there gets paid fair market rates. further more, the chinese talent that used to charge $20 / hour is bumping up to $30 or more… closer to the rates of the hackers in kansas who are at $40 because that’s all they need to support themselves there. its all evening out.

            this is the french pharmacy theory in action. 90% of what you want that ER doctor to do, isn’t worth his time, and the less skilled masses can make good livings by picking up the slack. if you’re not creating complex algorithms or trying to solve iOS maps or Siri level problems, you don’t need a six-figure salaried developer. you need someone eLance caliber, or a $45k salaried full timer. and guess what? you’re more likely to find them, and save some cash for a rainy day.

            the tech industry wants to chase unicorns. we should be thinking like the french medical market. or like henry ford and the auto industry, or any hierarchy structure: staff a plethora of nicely paid doers tackling the less nuanced tasks, i.e. the bulk of the work, with only the necessary few geniuses at the top managing and/or doing only the really important stuff.

            talent crisis: solved.

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