Hey dynZack, thanks for asking the question.
You're wanting to outsource development for a product that will not have any competitive advantage until it has got tons of features? That sounds pretty dangerous.
This means you're going to be paying out the nose to get your product built, and every hour of development that it takes is big bucks down the drain. And if you're trying to outfeature your competition, this is going to take a long time and a lot of money. So unless you or an investor is willing to just throw tons of money at product development, I don't think this is a good idea.
But, you're reading good authors, and asking questions, so I think you're on the right track.
Personally, I think a far better route would be to find developer(s) who are willing to work for equity. Now, you're exactly right - this is much harder to find than someone who just wants a salary. But I would encourage you to wait it out, keep searching, pray :-), and see if you can find a guy who'll work for equity.
In my case, I spent over a year developing my idea, writing the business plan, doing market research, developing really crappy alpha versions, reading every book I could get my hands on, and talking with potential investors in hopes that I would get money so I could pay some developers a salary. Finally, after a year, I found the perfect fit - a older guy was looking for something to do and was willing to work completely for equity until we got our product developed. It was totally worth waiting for.
Who says that someone working for equity has to live in your country? Your developers can live anywhere in the world and still work for equity. Just use some of the awesome, free collaboration tools available. Here are a few that our company is using to work remotely on development:
Basecamp by 37signals
Campfire by 37signals
As you search for developers and perhaps investors, these two sites might be helpful:
Okay, here are some big reasons why you should get someone who's willing to work for equity:
- You will not have to pay more money if the project takes longer than expected.
- Your developer(s) is going to work harder and longer hours because he has the potential for a big payoff and the risk of no payoff.
- You will not risk other people's money if the product becomes too expensive and the company dies.
- You may be able to completely bootstrap it, thereby maintaining more ownership and control, as well as having no investment timelines and pressure to reach break even and grow really fast.
Also, I think you may want to figure out a way to add some value to customers with a smaller, more lightweight product before building your massive, beautiful, industry-revolutionizing product. If you can build something small that satisfies a niche and allows you to hit break even really fast, and then use this stream of income to support a lean operation that is building "the big one", I think this is a much better model. In our case, our beta-test product is more labor intensive than our final version will be, but we are still able to charge customers, because it still adds value. The only difference is that we're doing labor intensive work, with a few customers, while we test it, rather than our final, highly automated software, with a bunch of customers. But its allowing us to make money and pay the bills, even during our beta stage.
Lastly, since you're into books, you ought to check out Steven Blank's "The 4 Steps to the Epiphany." There's a free pdf of the first half of the book available here. It might be helpful for you in the early days. It focuses on Customer Development as an addition to Product Development, and it has some good things to consider before and while you build your product.
Hope this helps, and best wishes!