The difficulty in recruiting hackers or seasoned technologists is often lamented in the tech startup community (e.g. Philly Startup Leaders), despite having both large and diverse developer communities. I am constantly asked by entrepreneurs who/what/where/how to find hackers or tech co-founders. They are a scarce resource, so here is a description of an idea for a developer community that functions as a company:
Hacker Community == Hacker Company
- A hacker community forms a company, HackCo. HackCo has a fairly open membership policy in the [local and remote] hacker communities. All members are *part-time* at HackCo, like many developer communities (e.g. Philly On Rails) and open source projects (e.g. Ruby On Rails). The governance structure is similarly organic. This lends itself to leveraging people that have normal jobs in a coordinated fashion (there is no shortage of startup-curious developers … they just cannot risk everything).
- An event is held where other companies compete to be selected by HackCo as the current project (or perhaps only project).
- The NeedHack company wins the competition. NeedHack issues stock options to HackCo.
- HackCo members begin hacking on NeedHack’s business.
- All HackCo members work on the same project, and each member’s contributions are given a score based on some metric of performance. A member’s score is their equity in HackCo. The metric used may change based on governance within HackCo (much like sales commission structures are modified).
There is a lot to be fleshed out, and since I don’t have this problem I’m hoping somebody else might run with it. If it doesn’t exist already, I’d be willing to bet there is a Champion out there who could make it work. -Chris