Friday, September 7, 2012

Be warned of so-called "startup advisors"

I was approached by a self-claimed "startup advisor" (SA) and had this conversation.

Me: I'm working on an iPhone app

SA: You'll have problems marketing iPhone apps, and it's going to be impossible to be successful.

Me: Thanks for the feedback.  I know it's hard, but I've done this for a few years with about 10M registered users under my belt.

SA: I know how hard it is.  Just listen to me.

Me: Okay. Thanks for the feedback.  By the way, I'm curious to hear what you built, so I can learn from your experience.

SA: What did you use to code the server side? (yep, he didn't answer my question)

Me: I used PHP and memcached hosted on Amazon.  I'm planning on migrating over to Node.js and MongoDB

SA: Listen.  I asked what language you used for the server side.

Me: PHP and will use Node.... so javascript

SA: That's not my question. What PROGRAMING LANGUAGE you use on the server side?

Me: Ummmmm... PHP and javascript

SA: Never mind. How about database you used.

Me: Ummmm..... (at this point, I already gave up and wanted to see if he has any clue) MongoDB

SA: Forget it. What do you use to build an iPhone app?

Me: Xcode

SA: That doesn't make sense. You don't get it. Here's why your project is not going to work out.  I used Titanium (which I had no clue what it was, but I do now :) ) and XXX (something else I had and still have no clue what it is), and it didn't work out.  So, you need to think about the whole architecture and start from scratch.

Thought of the day: Thanks for the feedback, but if you claim to be an advisor and started asking questions about technology, please know what you're asking.  If technology is not your thing, that's okay.  Just admit it.  Let's talk business if that's not your thing.