Being an app developer is like owning a truck

Everyone wants to use you for what you have. If you’ve ever owned a truck you know what its like to be asked for help moving some couch, motorcycle or other large item. People need what you have and they ask you for it. The same thing happens when people find out that you’re an app developer. They have some idea that they want to be made into an app and they ask you to do it and generously give you 50% of the profit after you do 99% of the work. The big difference is that when you help someone move with your truck they can give you some gas, lunch and buy you a drink down the line and its a pretty even trade but with app development they have no idea what they are asking. It’s not their fault because they observe some app that looks simple and is very popular. Their idea is also simple (to them) and they know it’ll make everyone involved rich. Because this situation has happened to me quite a bit in the last few years I’ve found its best to just be honest and say you don’t have the time and its probably not worth it to you. That doesn’t mean that all ideas by non technical people are worthless but you need to set expectations before any discussion even starts. I also explain I’m probably not gong to be able to work on the idea and most likely I’m not good enough to accomplish what they want. After this realization the person with the idea will usually lose interest and if you have them wait a few days before you let them explain it they usually don’t have the same enthusiasm or forget to bring it up ever again. Ideas are the start of any project and obviously important but in the end they don’t hold much value compared the implementation. This situation is slightly frustrating when coming from people you meet for the first time but when it comes from people you care about it can be hurtful knowing that they are thinking of you as a way to get themselves rich. It generally makes me avoid talking about what I do for work altogether. Q: “What do you do for work?” A: “Some stuff with computers.”