I took a non-traditional outsourcing route to build the majority of my product. I say “non-traditional” because instead of hiring labor overseas, I moved my entire family to India, and then to the Middle East, to do the development myself. My 4 kids, my wife (she’s a stay at home mom), and I left our suburban Atlanta home and headed east — way east. I’ve been bootstrapping (cut all of my expenses except my Vonage phone line) to get the product done. I have a part-time designer, a technical architect, an accountant, biz-dev guy, and a subject matter expert–all back in the states. *What can I do next from overseas?* We will start evangelizing about the product but what else can I do immediately? None of my guys have the financial wherewithal to just break away and move like I did. I was a director at the now defunct “Kozoru”:http://battellemedia.com/archives/002627.php and worked with a couple of interactive ad agencies (“Barkely”:http://www.barkleyus.com, and “VML”:http://www.vml.com). so I have some contacts but do you have any tips for me on managing my product rollout from so far away?
5 thoughts on “Question of the Day: Managing a Rollout from Overseas”
First, I applaud you amazing dedication to realizing your vision. You are the first person I’ve ever heard of outsourcing themselves to make a project successful.
The good news for your roll out is that almost all channels are location-agnostic these days. Targeted advertising campaigns through Google Adwords (web) or Admob (mobile) are bought online. You can create a Salesforce AppExchange service to reach businesses or a Facebook application to reach young consumers from where you are.
The biggest channel, PR, remains somewhat local but is easily addressed with a good PR agency. Many PR agencies routinely represent foreign interests since they need the local influence of good PR. Depending on your target market you can find a PR firm with experience and have them hone in on the appropriate publications.
Finally, use word of mouth! You have a great start here, just give bloggers an incentive to cover your launch. That includes anything from early access beta accounts to interviews and videos.
I would also consider making a YouTube video of your “outsourcing” strategy – I think many people would find it entertaining and get some free publicity.
Hope that helps. If you have more details on your target market I’m happy to provide more specific advice.
Thanks for the kind words and advice. I outsourced myself because it’s cheaper for me to live overseas than to live in the states at my family’s current burn rate. Also, I have seen so many horror stories about outsourcing and I needed good developers and wanted to be able to keep tabs on the stuff I wasn’t personally doing. I didn’t have any major outsourcing contacts other than the super expensive guys like IBM, Accenture, Virtusa and that wasn’t going to work for me.
As for PR, having worked in management for two top notch ad agencies I’ve got fairly good ideas and contacts for this and other things. Also, I think the youtube video is a fairly entertaining idea and it’s something we did at Barkley when I was working on an online community there. You’ll see my name first at the end of the video here, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-K9UxK9DWI.
The motivation for my question was the fear of what I don’t know, which could possibly be a lot :). Also, as those that have preceded me truly understand, being a new founder is a lot different than being in leadership, however big the organization. Typically, when it’s your idea, it’s a lot like your own baby that you are trying to nurture into childhood, adolescence, and eventually into adulthood.
Our target market is fairly wide open. I know that’s not a target but I’ll give an easier scenario to digest. Think of what we are building as an internal publicsquarehq (the engine/platform that runs foundread). Think of us set up a bit like an software company with product teams or an ad agency with client teams. We service a brand (like foundread or newteevee that has ad revenue and revenue other than ad/jobs, etc) that runs on that platform. These brands are generally not technology focused like gigaom or techcrunch, at least the first 3 that we immediately see definitely aren’t. We will have an initial launch of 1 brand and see what we learn but our platform allows us to quickly launch another that’s totally unrelated. Each brand has it’s own team that develops the direction of the product and obviously there will be some overlap.
I think you get the point and thanks again for the useful tips and inquiry.
I don’t know how relevant this would be for you, but as a Computer Science Professor, as well as a technology entrepreneur, and functioning in 3-4 world locations, I’d suggest that you consider utilizing the low cost student work force. You can get terrific people (grad/undergrad students) doing a lot of great work for you at a very low cost. They are very enthusiastic, plus, you build a cadre of future employees etc. Feel free to contact me … all the best. L’Haim}