Today I’m going to answer a question from an MBA student from Montpellier Business School, an innovation and leadership school with a program dedicated to startup founders. His question is…

Can the Web agency use my source code for other projects?

Before answering this question, let’s add a bit of context.

Like many other startup founders, this student is about to invest in his first product. Hopefully, a Web agency is going to provide him a fair price and develop his application.

So what’s the best way to quickly develop a software?

Reuse what already exists

It’s to reuse what already exists.

And if you are looking for an agency with fair price, there is a good chance that they are going to reuse a small component of a software they’ve already developed for their own or their clients’ projects.

And it’s a good thing because they might not charge you as much as if they were to develop everything from scratch specially for you.

Now let’s assume that you don’t want the Web agency to reuse your own software in other projects.

But what happens if a competitor asks them to develop a similar app?

First and foremost, they will be able to do so anyway—and this new version might even be a lot better than yours!

You see, they already have the experience of creating the product, and avoiding the same mistakes and questions they’ve already encountered will enable them to build the same product faster and in a better way.

The know-how is more important than the source code

So in the end, the know-how is more important than the source code.

But what you can do is, in the contract that you will sign with your Web agency, freelancer or developer, you need to specify that you do not

allow the provider to work with a potential competitor.

This will avoid sharing your ideas with others as well as make it more difficult for any competitor to find a team that already has the experience building a similar app.

This rule will also allow your provider to sell some components of your app to clients in other industries, creating an opportunity for the developer to make more money out of it and consequently make you pay less for a quality product.

Conclusion

So to conclude, the right approach is not to ask your developer to not reuse the source code they did for you. Instead, have an agreement that they are not allowed to work with potential competitors. This way, the app development will cost you less and you can also get benefits from using other components of products they have already developed for others.

Own the source code

  • Create your own source code repository
  • Ask the developer to store their work in your own repository on a daily basis

One more thing, be sure to own the source code. Create your own source code repository, and ask the developer to store their work in your own repository on a daily basis. You can check out this MyCTOfriend video to learn how to do it. 

Now if you also have a specific question for your project, just go ahead and ask on myctofriend.co/ask.

I will do my best to answer your question by video or redirect you to any existing content that will answer it.

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Also be sure to go through our other content here at myctofriend.co to learn more from real startup growth experiences.

I will be waiting for your questions, and I look forward to seeing you in other videos. Cheers.