Custom Software Development

There is a legend that there are developers who are 10x as productive as others. Even if this number is off, you’ve probably experienced this with developers you’ve worked with…

(You might have even seen this happen with your other employees)

Some are amazingly productive and flat-out get shit done…

while others suck at their job.

They don’t know how to do the job they are paid to do.

They slack off.

They coast.

They’re a cost.

And a significant cost at that.

This is true in every field and industry. Software developers are not an exception.

Who is building your software?

Is your software project taking too long? Causing a lot of stress? Costing too much?

The first place to look is who is building it.

Maybe they need better training. Maybe they are missing a key experience. Maybe they aren’t the right people.

What if there was a “sure bet”

What if instead of staffing your project with people who have an unknown performance record and spending months to see “how they do”…

(Burning piles of cash, because let’s be honest here, developers are expensive)

Instead you could work with someone who had a proven track record AND…

there was a limit upfront so you can know if they’ll will work out in the first week?

Doesn’t that sound attractive?

What you could get

I’m Eric Davis. I help entrepreneurs build a successful software business.

Sometimes by building their product. Other times through automation to make their organization grow smoothly.

How do I make all of that happen?

When you hire me to work with you, you’ll get:

  • A hard budget so you’ll know how much you’ll invest. No more cash burning.
  • Dedicated time with me where I’ll focus 100% on your organization, instead of having someone partially focus.
  • A simple priority system so you can decide what are the most important things to finish, not endless planning meetings.
  • Actionable advice from my experiences, not guesses or “in a perfect world” solutions that never work.

I hired Eric to write a plug-in for the open source ticket tracking platform, Redmine. He was a great help from the start by helping us define what we needed and how we wanted the plugin to behave. He delivered the project right on time and at a great price. It worked like it should and continues to be an often downloaded plug-in for Redmine users (leaving the plug in open source was our choice). I highly recommend Eric for any Redmine development (or any Ruby work for that matter).

Burt Culver,
CTO, Fishpond Ltd

Environment matters

You remember that story about the 10x developers and dead-weight employees? The unsaid factor is that the organization and environment they work in plays a major role.

  • John may be dead-weight in a large organization but a 10x-er in a startup.
  • Mary may be dead-weight in a startup but a 10x-er in a non-profit.

John and Mary’s first environments didn’t allow them to perform at their 10x. But when put someplace else, they excelled.

The environment is the missing piece. And it’s more than just “where they work”, it’s

  • who they work with
  • what resources they have
  • and most of all…

How that environment works with or against their pre-existing skills, experience, and talent.

Throw someone who is excelling into a new environment and they might drown.

What needs to happen is to find who has the potential to best help you and to grow that into a beneficial relationship. A 10x relationship.

After many years of working together, I can say with authority, that it’s a privilege and a delight to work with Eric Davis. For many years he has been the sole developer behind our most critical business software which manages our teams, projects and finances. Recently he helped us transition to our in-house team by spending a week training us. I along with my dev team had a wonderful time collaborating with him and now find the process of updating and deploying our own code to be easy and inspiring.

Eric is extremely well organized, unusually adept at setting expectations, and has an uncanny ability to identify and adopt cutting edge technologies just as they become stable but before they become popular. He is a rare gem. I can’t recommend him enough.

Peter Chester
Partner, CTO at Modern Tribe, Inc.

Think of a “10x relationship” instead of a “10x developer”

When you’re working with someone in a 10x relationship, you’re getting more out of it than you’re putting in.

Synergy. 1+1=3.

Whatever you want to call it.

These relationships can take time to nurture and grow but they’re worth it.

It will feel like you could do anything and shit gets done. Not just done, done right.

Before you can start a 10x relationship, you need to start a basic relationship.

This is where I start with my new clients. Compatibility.

But first, compatibility…

Before we work together we need to make sure that we’re compatible.

My services are not for you if…

  • You’re not ready to collaborate with me on a frequent basis.
  • You’re not fully committed to your business and its growth.
  • You’re looking for a warm body to write code for you.

On the other hand, we might be a good fit if…

  • You’re willing to talk to me about your business and your business model.
  • You’re willing and open to changing any and all aspects of your business.
  • You care about the results more than the process used.

Example projects

I understand it might sound risky to build custom software. It’s difficult to be sure what you’re going to get. Most clients generally spend between $5,000 and $20,000 over the course of a year.

To help, there are three common project types below. These are examples based on dozens of different projects I’ve worked on over the years.

These are examples though. Your specific project will be different, you won’t need some parts and you’ll want other parts not listed. Use these as ideas.

Prototype SaaS project

Summary: A new business needs a prototype for their SaaS business they’re building. This business will allow customers to create mailing list opt-in forms which they can embed on their website. They intend to iterate on it over the next few months but need something to show their investors and early adopters.

  • Decide on the problems the SaaS application solves
  • Break the plan into separate features
  • Setup a Ruby on Rails application on a cloud service
  • Create an account and user system that customers signup with
  • Hook up Stripe’s subscription billing
  • Develop an administration panel for customers to manage their opt-in forms
  • Develop a drag-and-drop builder for the opt-in forms
  • Connect to Mailchimp and Aweber to allow customers to integrate with those services
  • Develop a piece of JavaScript a customer can use to embed the form on their site

Estimated development time: 6 1/2 weeks

Application Rescue

Summary: A new public web application was under development to replace an aging one. Unfortunately the project plan was too aggressive and the team quickly feel behind. 6 months later, they already missed one launch deadline and are about to miss the next.

  • Review of the project plan and biggest risks
  • Individual coaching sessions with each member of the project team to discover what the pain points are
  • Collaborate on a stop-gap plan to prevent further schedule slips and project failures
  • Training and setup of a test infrastructure to speed up QA time and reduce the defect count
  • Pair-programming with each team member to help them learn the best practices and develop a quality personal development process
  • Replace buggy and incomplete subsystem with 3rd party vendor
  • Setup an automated deployment process to remove the risk of releasing new code

Estimated development time: 4 weeks with an additional 1 week every month for mentoring, training, and review

Application Maintenance

Summary: Another consultancy built and launched a B2B SaaS product for the business, but then ended the contract. Now bugs have occurred and the business is afraid of potential security holes.

  • Perform a security audit using automated and manual code review to discover potential security defects.
  • Complete code audit and recommendations for fixing defects
  • Fixing top five bugs reported by users and releasing an update
  • Setting up bug trackers and feedback loops for business to monitor the state of the software
  • Upgrading Rails and other libraries to fix potential bugs and security problems
  • Creating an automating testing and manual QA process to verify each release is functional

Estimated development time: 3 weeks with an additional 1 week every month for review and refinement

Reserve your confidential consultation

If you’re ready to talk about how I can help or even rescue your Rails app, you can apply below:

Apply Now

There’s no obligation or commitment by getting in touch. All that I ask is that you are as honest and open with me as possible so we can discuss and decide together what’s the best option for you.

I’ll be honest, I turn down more clients than I accept. I say this not to brag. It’s more important to save my time and energy to work with the clients I can help the most and to let incompatible clients find someone else who fits them.

Eric Davis

Work with me

Are you considering hiring me to help with your Shopify store or custom Shopify app?

Apply to become a client here