This morning I received an email asking to partner on a project. Generally I can respond or ignore and move on, but the length and number of red flags in this particular email made it worth commenting on. Attached is the full text of the email, minus contact information. Note that it arrived in my inbox, and I’m still not entirely sure that it’s not spam.
Hi Potential Partner,
(1) I am responding to your advertisment on a website, as a web developer, meaning you have invited me to send you this email, however I have no intention of repeatedly sending emails to you, therefore there is no need to ask for unsubscribe. While these contents may not precisely meet your current desires, it is a genuine offer and should be considered carefully, although it is realised it will only attract a high achiever.
(2) A friend and I are building a website but need some help coz currently the learning process is very slow. Free help is not expected. It has been started by using PHP & MySQL. By attempting to enter into hourly rate negotiations with web developers in the past, it has been found to be no faster than learning the process from the Internet, and for that reason web developers on a partnership basis are now sought.
(3) We are seeking one leading developer and also developers who operate in a special industry. The leading developer needs big ambitions, but more importantly works speedily and be very reliable, and be able to help lead a huge project and have the determination to succeed with a burning desire to become very wealthy, both in asset and in knowledge, and be able to set aside personal emotions and conflicts that involve other people. Setting aside personal emotions and conflicts means to behave as if matters did not happen when people upset your feelings by disagreement or for you to behave towards people in a professional manner when you believe they are not nice. Initially part time input, probably 2-3 hours per day, would be acceptable and any full time work can continue as usual.
(4) The intricate details of the intended website cannot be provided coz if they were any person could beat us to the goal line. That is sensitive information which will not be released. Basically, it will be a very unique international trading website that will be able to offer all goods and services at substantially reduced prices, and will provide free advertising for the same, and provide employment opportunities for everyone around the world, and will provide very attractive environmental incentives. It will be 100% legal and will enforce natural justice. It will be a website that every law abiding citizen will want to be a member of. There is no similar website currently on the Internet, as if there was, we would all know about it in a very short time.
(5) There will be no request to any of the web developers to contribute any financial or monetary payments.
(6) Web developers on a partnership basis are required, meaning a “partnership” is that the partners are “self employed” and “share in the profits” and receiving regular weekly or monthly payments or receiving piecemeal payments or money paid up front do not apply. This is not a job that we are offering nor is it an offer to pay cash on completion of a few hours work, nor any other kind of invitation to extract money. It is being part of a very exciting and fruitful business. A business that will in the long term resolve all social and business problems.. The web developers will need to acknowledge that short term rewards have only little profit. The web developers will also need long term foresight, as the rewards from this project are expected to start in around 6-12 months and after 2-3 years they are expected to be in the millions of dollars but all of that will require the utmost dedication, work speedily, and be very reliable.
(7) Consideration is needed for the web developers to invest time of probably 2-3 hours per day, which is not a huge investment, and be paid for that time from the profits of the website which is expected to start in around 6-12 months and in 2-3 years payments should be in the millions of dollars. If a competent web developer is like many who spend 2-3 hours per day entertaining themselves by watching non constructive television, then a wise and constructive exercise would be to exchange that time towards this project.
(8) We only want to receive replies from web developers personally and not their managers, assistants or agents.
(9) We do not want to receive replies from people who cheat and or scam and or people who attempt to extract money without working for it.
(10) We get many people telling us that they are the best to hire, but we have no interest in that kind of propaganda, therefore to enable us to determine the web developer’s level of competency we will require from an interested person to modify some PHP coding. When that exercise is satisfactorily completed we can release further details about the intended website, our history and current circumstances. If you have any questions, doubts or skepticism then those matters will be addressed at that time.
(11) I am a New Zealand citizen and have operated businesses there for many years however I’m not in that country at this time.
(12) If you were born in a poor environment, like me, that was not your mistake. But if you die in a poor environment that is certainly your mistake. Like most people, I have made many mistakes in the past however I have learnt from them. But dying in a poor environment is not likely to be another mistake. A web developer who ignores this opportunity may later realise the mistake.
(13) It is an ENTREPRENEURIAL WEB DEVELOPING PARTNER we are searching for. Someone who is ready and willing to invest the small amount of time of only 2-3 hours per day. A real entrepreneur is a person who undertakes calculated risks together with business innovations in an effort to transform those innovations into economic goods or services and is willing to rely on the payments that satisfied customers are ready and willing to pay. And if an innovation fails to meet customer’s satisfaction, a real entrepreneur will search for a remedy so that customers are entirely satisfied, but a real entrepreneur will never quit, works speedily, and is always reliable.
(a) PLEASE DO NOT reply to this email if you do not fit the description of a real entrepreneur.
(b) PLEASE DO NOT contact me if you are desperate for money to satisfy reckless spending.
(c) PLEASE DO NOT attempt to convince us that you are the best by words alone or to try hourly, weekly or monthly payments or post or pre paid services.
(d) PLEASE DO NOT ask me to chat on Skype or other instant messenger. Communication by email, which keeps good record of what has been said, is preferred.
(e) PLEASE DO NOT expect a reply to any message when it is obvious this paragraph has not been understood.
My breakdown of this email will be very brief, because I could probably talk about it for a few hours, given the amount of content that I have to work with. What it boils down to for me is:
- The tone and grammar of the email does not match the clients that I choose to work with, let alone anyone that I would partner with. While this person couldn’t have known that in advance, they may have been better off playing it safe with a much shorter email to gauge general interest before scaring me off.
- The whole “we only want to work with awesome people” pitch doesn’t work as well in real life as it does in movies. It reeks more of arrogance than ambition.
- Cold-pitched partnership requests like this always say that they don’t expect free work, but want to pay on the promise of the product’s success later. While many new companies succeed, the odds are stacked against most ventures. On a purely practical standpoint, I’m making a risky gamble on any new project. I may as well make it one that I’m truly passionate about.
- I have intended on writing a post on why I am not a fan of NDA’s for a while, but basically, if the only thing that you have to succeed is secrecy, you’re probably not going to get very far. I don’t want to know that you have an idea that no one has thought of. I want to know that you have a skillset that no one else has to develop that idea.
- Telling me what to do with my time (set aside emotions, work non-stop instead of “non-constructive television”, don’t talk myself up as a hire with “propaganda”, let my circumstances be guided by “my mistakes” and so on) is arrogance at the highest level. Prove to me that you know better than me before expecting me to take your advice.
There is so much more that I want to say about this particular email, but my main point is that almost any offer to partner on a tech project is going to be a hard sell to me. I don’t particularly have the need or interest in stealing other peoples’ ideas, as I’ve got more than enough projects of my own that are languishing. Similarly, I find a hard enough time making time for my own projects, let alone something to directly benefit someone else with no promise of payment for myself.
My suggestion for people looking to find partners is not to blindly reach out, but instead put yourself into the community and make it known where your passions lie (you are passionate about your business idea, right?) so that like-minded individuals will be attracted to you. Be the flame to the moth, not the net. This will ensure that you’ve got someone who has just as much interest in the success of the business as you do, and not just a payout. They’ll keep momentum up at moments where you falter, and have a commitment that you won’t find from cold-emails, which will most likely result in play-for-pay individuals, if any response at all.
I’ve known most of the people that I work with for several years, and have worked with them on other projects before moving into anything more serious or full-time. There’s no question that they are committed to what they do, and I’ve got an easier time making a pitch if I want them to partner with me on a new venture. I cannot think of a better pool to pull from.