Construction Mentality

I joined a commercial software company for one gig. At first I tried to get my manger Hakeem Moustaf to pay me as an hourly contractor. But we could not agree on a rate. So I signed up as an employee with full benefits.

We had a successful old product. And the team was tasked with implementing a newer version from scratch. This was a massive undertaking. Hakeem's title was VP of Software Development. His background was managing construction projects. And so he was used to hiring contractors to do the work.

Only two of us on the development team were direct employees. Everybody else was an hourly contractor. These contractors were sharp. I am not sure how much they cost the company. But we ran out of money quickly. Part of the problem was slow sales. But I cannot help but think the hourly rates of all these contractors milked the company dry.

There was one benefit to having contractors. When we were low on cash, the contractors did not get paid. But after a while the contractors bolted. I followed them shortly when the company started having trouble meeting payroll.

Use of contractors is not inherently evil. But the costs must be managed carefully. When you rely on too many high paid contractors, doom may be near if your budget is limited. Lesson learned.