Latin American Star Developers

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’m developing an interesting project to provide programming talent to web startups in the states and perhaps other regions such as Europe. The concept continues to evolve with the focus now being on finding superstar programmers instead of the typical software factory with a variety of skill levels.

I really think that companies such as Globant have proven that, if done correctly, one can build a successful business by offering top-notch programming talent to interesting web companies.  Realizing the potential of such an endeavor has as much to do with creating a vibrant company culture in tune with the needs of the programmers and the company’s potential customers.  Here, in Colombia, I think a company such as Koombea, which has won international coding competitions, is further proof that the potential certainly exists.

Eventhough I’ve been looking forward to building my own web app (and a company around it), there are so many things pulling me in this direction, that I just can’t ignore it any longer.  I’ve had qualms about going full force into a services business (like outsourced development), but, after further reflection, it’s finally clear to me that this path has a lot of positives.

Like I said, building a vibrant company culture is a big part of doing this successfully, but I’ve had great experiences doing this for others.  Fifteen years ago, when I moved to Colombia from the states, I got the chance to build a services organization from 2 engineers to more than 20 at Compaq Computer and we achieved such a level of excellence that our country (Colombia) had the best customer satisfaction levels (our measure of success) in the whole world.

The incredible thing is that when I established that BHG (Big Hairy Goal) three years prior, I got a ton of snickers from the team and I’m sure they were convinced that they were dealing with one “gringo loco” (that part was true).  Nevertheless, after five years in the valley (Silicon Valley) and a little flexibility in my adjustment to the Latin American culture, I saw that amazing things were possible.

I’m continuing to develop this project and will, firstly, make sure that I start locating top-notch talent before offering anything to potential customers (startups and other SaaS and web companies).  I’d really like to get some young raw talent that can absorb a ton of high performance culture and values from Silicon Valley type companies instead of going whole hog for senior developers who might have acquired a few too many stodgy bad habits along the way.

What are your thoughts on what I’m embarking upon?

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  1. Alan, we would love to be part of any final model you choice, as off shoring devs, providing resources, ideas, code or good karma. The key point is recruiting, is hard to know if somebody have the skills and many, many times is a “blend” process: put those guys to work, fire them, keep the good ones, start over again. anyway when you finally find those gems get that team involved is another subject Joe Spotsky ( had made some good points about. And finally a very strong and clear technical leadership is a must.

  2. Great points, Juan Carlos. I agree, the key issue here is recruiting incredibly talented people who are also motivated. We'll definitely be working together on this and I know that we'll come up with an incredible offering for startups and growing tech companies interested in sourcing the best talent from where ever that may be. :)