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Max Ong Zong Bao
Max Ong Zong Bao

Posted on • Updated on • Originally published at

Should I Accept This Idea or Project?

The original post was on Should I Accept This Idea or Project? - Reading Time: 3 Mins and cover image by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash


As a developer working in the industry, I am pretty sure there will be tons of times when someone comes to you with an idea for a product or service and wants you to develop it for a fee. Do accept it first, then start your own due diligence to gauge the viability of the idea & the person. Which is on the basis. They are willing to pay for your effort to do it. My instant rejection is always, when they want you to do it for free or delay gratification, without any skin in the game.

Which you might choose to outright reject them in some form of "I might be busy" or "I don't think it might make sense for me to do it for free as your not respecting my time & effort to build it".

Now let's imagine your planning to do it for a fee. Then it will be time for you to practice your due diligence. Which might take a few rounds of breaking a few eggs to become smarter. When you get yourself into these arrangements out of obligation or guilt-tripping by the person to sell you in doing it for them.

What Do They Bring to The Table?

Always look at the person who approaches you. In what are they bringing in to the table besides just money. If it's just money, the person is just an investor. Which you must treat it as marriage before committing to them on this venture.

If they bring something else besides just money. Then now we are talking about something tangible. Which can be like experience, knowledge, network in the industry for the problem they are solving. They might have a deep connection to the problem. Which prompt them to come up with the idea for a product or service for the business. If there is none do not indulge in it but reject it.

The reason for this is because of most VCs or angel investors. Will look at the founding team's experience or backgrounds on the problem. Which is part of their criteria to evaluate a probability for a startup to be successful.

At the end of the day, to have a startup the minimum is just two people. By Guy Kawasaki in the book called the The Art of Start 2.0. The first is a salesman/marketer, who gets resources from selling the idea/product/service. The second person is the creator/inventor role. Who creates the product/service.

What is the Team Dynamics?

When it comes to evaluating team dynamics look at The 5 traits of the dysfunctional team as a reference in the founding team.

As the saying goes "many cooks spoilt a broth". Therefore, you and the person with another team member. Should have a working history to solve a problem or do something together. So you understand how you and the person's style of communication are used to tackling a problem and how they operate under stress/pressure.


This is the due diligence process I will take. When considering to work with the person. Remember, you always have the choice to say no to the person, after you had conducted your due diligence process. As it's business. By considering your boundaries with your time & effort needed to build the product or service.

Before you take on any project from a friend or person. Who comes to you with an idea. I would not want you to be shortchanged, taken advantaged of being guilt-tripped into taking on this project. If you are one of those who is guilt-tripped to do it. I'm sorry for your situation but you got yourself to blame for it. You have to learn to become smarter, next time and do your own due diligence before helping out anyone.

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Top comments (4)

giangvincent profile image
giang vincent • Edited

Well , I currently have the project of 2 people. The first Idea is to bring education to the user, but after weeks the other one, who is the designer, just become more and more obsess about "being big" already. So he kind of created more ideas for me, as front-end and back-end dev, to do. I am now become less interest on this project anymore. Should I end this project with him or keep going?

steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao

1) Is this a paid project?
2) What's your arrangement in the scope of work?

giangvincent profile image
giang vincent
  1. It's not a paid project. It's like a personal project. And yeah I do for free and for myself of course.
  2. The other one do not have any knowledge about coding so I do all the code, he only know how to design and work with photoshop. This is his idea and he kind of have a plan.
Thread Thread
steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao

Then you have answered your question as that is a passion/side project/volunteer. Which is subjected to your interest in continuing but at a reduced scope or just drop it.

For me personally, I would ask if there is anyway to monetize it now. So to get paid for both you and your friend's effort's. If not I won't do it, as I'm not coming in as a volunteer work.

Which I do volunteer in a lot of things. but I do it to build relationships and help a cause without getting paid most of the time.