Build vs. Buy (Developer Edition)

As developers, we tend to like to build stuff. And we *really* don’t like spending money. We look at something like this and think hey, that doesn’t look all that complicated. I mean look, you could get most of the way there using nHodor to deal with the connections and a couple Grumkin tasks to keep everything in sync. I bet we could cobble something together over a weekend that would get us 90% of the way there, and not have to bother with these Fracas guys at all.

And yes, you could do that. Probably in a weekend, like you say.

But here’s the thing. You cost your boss (who you’ll need to convince before setting off on all this) something like $150/hour, right? (If you don’t, you should probably shelve this syncing idea and instead spend this weekend brushing up on your negotiating skills and fixing that. We live in the best developer market in the history of *ever*, so if you’re capable of building mobile apps for a living, you’re capable of doing so for a comfortable six figure bill rate.)

Anyway, your boss sees you as a $150/hour cost. In two days time, you may in fact produce a working cross-platform sync library that you can drop in to your project. But you will have burned through the equivalent of four years worth of our most expensive subscription plan. (Or four million years worth, at the sort of user numbers you’re likely to have starting out.) And you’ll still need to find a place to host the thing. And maintain it. And keep the box alive. It’s just not the sort of decision that takes even a second of boss-time to calculate.

As such, you might do well to save yourself a bit of time and simply point your boss at the Build vs. Buy (Boss Edition) whitepaper (because bosses like whitepapers like developers like man pages) and let him do the math for you.

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