I am doing a POC for someone I've only met once... The POC wasn't a ton of work and the expectations were realistic. We are going to meet again soon and discuss more things, and eventually decide if we want to do business together.

I have absolutely no idea how to tell if this person is legit and able to do the things they say they can. They claim to be able to sell the product they want to make and allegedly have contacts in the industry. They are not a programmer, and want to vet my friend and I. If things go well, it could mean a lot of money. If they don't, it's a lot of wasted time. I suppose that's true for any start up.

This is when i hate being an awkward engineer. I don't have the knowledge or, quite frankly, the people skills to make this kind of judgement.

Have you ever been part of a start up where you were 50% of the engineering team? If so, did you know the partners ahead of time? How the hell do you vet someone with a skill set that is the exact opposite of yours?

  • 1
    This happened to me. I chose the safest option. I said no.

    Yet... You might have a good opportunity and should consider it wisely. You (and I) can't judge people with opposite skillset so we have to analyze what we can.

    - Do you need this opportunity?

    - What is your situation? Do you work and absolutely can't or don't want to take risks? Spouse, children, if you're young, etc etc ...

    - What happens if it fails? Or succeed?

    - What is Plan B? If it fails, better be prepared than in shock. So, is there any opportunity for a Plan B?

    - Gather as much intel as you can on your wannabe-partners and ask the "wrong" questions... Observe their reactions and judge it. (eg. if they sold you they did a lot of awesome/great/amazing/... products, search for it and if you can't find valuable data, ask why)

    The last point is the most important one. You need to verify the shit out of them. Everything they say, it should be verified. If they don't say anything, ask questions... A lot. Then verify.
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