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  1. #1
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    June 6th, 2006
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    Does Team Work?
    Here are some more of my thoughts for the abest members to rip to shreds.

    Enjoy.

    Once upon a time there was a popular forum that had thousands of members. A small group of those members were the main posters to the forum, and in many peoples opinion were the main reason the forum became so popular.

    One day the forum owner became a little too big for his boots and started to throw his weight around. The small group (Approx 6 people) were not happy with this and were eventually driven out of the forum.

    With revenge in mind they decided to start their own forum and directly compete against the forum they had just been kicked out of.

    The forum in question is now around 13 months old and is now getting more visitors per day than the forum they left. The new forum has also attracted major sponsors, has a fantastic community and is set to dominate for some major keywords.

    So what is the point of this story? this sort of thing happens all of the time

    What makes this story extra special is the fact that the 6 members had next to no experience at making or running web sites. The day they started the forum they didn’t know what SEO was, how to get links, how to use html, how to form partnerships etc……. They knew absolutely nothing, but they worked hard and did a LOT of reading and it has really paid off for them.

    I suppose there are many morales to this story… Work hard, do a lot of research, learn from your mistakes, you don’t have to be an expert to make a popular site blah blah.

    But what fascinates me the most is the strength that a team can provide for a web project.

    I know that major companies have a lot of staff and I understand that partnerships and working as a team are nothing new. But if the major companies and major web sites are doing it then is is possible for the smaller sites to do it as well?

    I don’t want to stereotype, but what % of all the web sites on the internet do you think are run by just one person? I would say over 99.99% (Just a guess).

    So why are we not getting together and doing projects together on the net?

    Off the top of my head I would imagine that trust is a major factor for most people.

    Some of the obvious problems are:

    *Who does what?
    *Who gets what %?
    *Who has the final say?
    *How much per day/week does each person do, and can this be accurately monitored?
    *How can you trust the other members of the team?

    I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Have you ever tried a partnership on a web project? Was it a success? What were the problems you had to face? Do you think that in general it is best to work alone on a project? is there a model available to ensure that you can trust your partners without having to get contracts etc

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    November 25th, 2005
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    639
    Hey Dean,

    This is a thread that is close to my heart. I have been down the partnership road a few times and it was a mixed result. In one case, the project never got finished (in my partners mind it is still in developement after 3 years). Unless you can keep everyone motivated equally, you are going to have problems.

    I now take the approach of "it's a business so run it like a business". I play the role of project manager. If I need graphic design work done - I pay someone a flat rate to do it and if they don't do it or do a poor job, they don't get paid (or called again). Not everyone works at the same (time) rate so I find flat fees are a great motivator to get done fast.

    Don't get me wrong, I would love to be part of a killer team where everyone is pulling at the same time in the same direction but honestly, how many people are up for that?

    Until I meet this magical team, I will stick to working alone and using hired guns when really necessary.

  3. #3
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    June 6th, 2006
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    Dave.

    Thanks for the great reply.

    I am in a similar boat to you. I generally work on my own, but I see working in a killer team as something that still has many problems. If anyone can create a new model to make this process easier then he/she will make a lot of money.

    Motivation and trust are the two main areas we seem to be mentioning. What if everyone in the team had monthly targets and depending on how well each person did for that particular month would effect what % of the revenue he/she received for that month.

    The above would only really work once the site has started to do well though. What we need is a model that keeps everyone motivated from day 1.

    Any other suggestions would be great.

  4. #4
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    I now take the approach of "it's a business so run it like a business". I play the role of project manager. If I need graphic design work done - I pay someone a flat rate to do it and if they don't do it or do a poor job, they don't get paid (or called again). Not everyone works at the same (time) rate so I find flat fees are a great motivator to get done fast.
    I agree with the above. But a large % of web sites are created with no budget and are generally done for entertainment purposes (Fan sites, blogs etc..) So in these circumstances simply paying someone to do it wouldn't be an option.

    Other questions that need to be answered are:

    On whose server will the site be located?
    Who will the domain be registered with?
    Whose name will be on the cheques?

    There are clearly problems to this model, but we put man on the moon, so I am sure there is an answer out there somewhere.

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador
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    January 18th, 2005
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    Mr. Hunt:

    You have the right idea. Face to face networking is the key.

    What started in London in 2001 has led to many partnerships that have been successful.
    It takes years of networking on both sides of the pond to establish the trust needed to make it work.

    When you have established yourself as having the ability to add value and keep your mouth shut, then and only then might you be considered.

    Mr. Mackin

  6. #6
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    November 25th, 2005
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    I guess I didn't understand the scope of your thread - I assumed that you were talking about building monitized affiliate oriented sites with the main purpose of making the creators buckets full of money...

    Agreed, not many people are going to pay to have someone work on their blog or Fan site. But, in some cases you do have to spend money to make money.

    To bring this back on thread, if I had a large project that warranted or required a team approach, I would definitely hire the talent needed. This is a result of spending far too many nights and weekends learning how to code and market. There are guys out there who can code circles around me. It is worth the money to keep everyone professional and productive. I guess bottom line is my answer to most of your original questions is money... Sad but true.

    One thing that has worked in past is incorporating as a business - it protects everyone involved. The company can own the domain name, the webhosting account and collect the profits. The corporation then determines how profits (and losses) are distributed.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the reply.

    I understand how this would work for large companies. But surely there is a model that can be used for the smaller fish?

    Lets say you have 5 people:

    MR A = SEO expert
    MR B = Online marketing pro
    MR C = Salesman
    MR D = Content writer
    MR E = Devloper/programmer

    On their own they are useful, but combine all 5 and you have a killer team.

  8. #8
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    Dave - I am keen to discuss ALL aspects of this. So your points were much appreciated.

    One thing that has worked in past is incorporating as a business - it protects everyone involved. The company can own the domain name, the webhosting account and collect the profits. The corporation then determines how profits (and losses) are distributed.
    This would be the best way to ensure that you are safe from a legal perspective.

    This just leaves the "Motivation" factor without a solid solution.

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador
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    November 25th, 2005
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    Good point about the motivation.

    One thing that we use in my day job is a quality bond. If you want the contract, you pony up a chunk of cash up-front and you don't get it back (or get paid) until we say you are done (we provide very detailed scope).

    If you had each prospect team member "buy in" - literally, this would show that they were serious and they would immediately have something to lose should they bolt from the project. This would also cover up-front expenses and could even be considered as stock in the company. You could even offer more stock as milestone bonuses.

    As for the trust thing - incorporation would enforce most trust related issues (unless you get a pen thief in your midst).

  10. #10
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    One thing that we use in my day job is a quality bond. If you want the contract, you pony up a chunk of cash up-front and you don't get it back (or get paid) until we say you are done (we provide very detailed scope).
    A fantastic suggestion.

    Thanks for your input Dave.

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