Joint Venture - Partner Can't continue and Website nearly complete

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Hi all,
Maybe someone can give a tip. I developed a website with an overseas partner. The site is in the advanced stage. Unfortunatley the developer had a bad family tragedy and can't continue for the forseeable future with further programming. I cannot start discussing with him about maybe getting another person on-board to continue with the development as I'd feel like an insensitive low-life, after what has happened to him. Also we agreed before not to let anyone else come in on design at this stage yet as he doesn't want anyone stealing his code, which I can understand.

I am in a stalemate situation now. I don't know if someone has ever been in a similar situation that perhaps could advise? I obviously want to bring this website forward and start to get customers but I am not a programmer nor webdesign expert so I can't start to fiddle around with it myself. Basically its lying in no-mans land and needs some final touches. I've put years of effort into this, with business plans, tranlsation into other languages etc.

Maybe there are companies out there who finish off websites to launch phase, who guarantee not to take coding?

Thanks guys,

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  • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
    Did you write up a contract with your partner at the outset, and if so, what provisions did you make for this kind of situation? The fact you're asking about it suggests you don't have an agreement in place that covers this.

    As tragic as the circumstances may be, your partner will eventually have to continue making a living. Can you hold on for a reasonable period? We don't know the extent of the relationship you have, so you'll have to be the judge of how long that period should be.

    If the project is time critical, you'll need to agree with your partner to either go ahead as planned or that you continue with another partner.

    It's unfortunate, but life goes on.
    TOP TIP: To browse the forum like a Pro, select "View Classic" from the drop-down menu under your user name.

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    • Profile picture of the author Socrates39
      Hi Frank,
      Thanks for your response. Unfortunately I didn't draft up a contract, which is something I am regretting. The two of us just worked on the project on an informal basis in between our own jobs but gradually started to make a lot of progress after much effort. I know the passage of time can bring about a new dimension on things but I think this guy will be out of action for the foreseeable future. Its a shame because he had put an awful lot of effort in from his side. I think I will just have to see if I can somehow get a trustworthy Webdesigner interested in a project completion undertaking and this time draft up some form of working contract, contact my partner and word a very sensitive email to him in order to let him know that this situation will also be to his benefit. If he cannot sanction this, then I think I will simply have to start from scratch once more with a keen designer. I appreciate your quick response though and your advice which is very helpful to my decision on this. Regards, Matthew
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  • Profile picture of the author Janice Sperry
    You are not an insensitive low-life to be concerned about your business and the almost completed website. It sounds like you are very compassionate and have had good communication up to this point. I would suggest just talking it out. He will appreciate your kindness and understanding about his tragedy. He should also understand that things happen in life and you have to move on with or without him. Maybe you could propose hiring someone else and he could still consult or guide the new programmer.

    Programmers concerns about someone stealing their code are almost always exaggerated. I can appreciate their fear but in reality it could happen no matter what they do. Other programmers do not have to steal code to figure out what you have done with your website. Unless it is some highly advanced project with a team of developers it can be copied or at least emulated. They may not use the same programming language or code it in exactly the same way but most experienced programmers can make an almost nearly identical website no matter how much work you have put into it.
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    • Profile picture of the author Socrates39
      Thanks for your response Janice. You are correct on many points there. I suppose you have to separate yourself emotionally from projects sometimes and still make the effort to continue despite adversity. As I mentioned to Frank in my response, I am considering the possibility of sourcing a Webdesigner who might be interested in taking over the completion of the project. If he/she is trustworthy and can give some guarantees for milestone completions then I would be able to go back to my partner and put forth a proposal where he can perhaps oversee the progress completion on a casual basis. I would relay to him that his this far hard work will not have been in vain. I agree with you on the code theft issue. This is something that can be done from anyone who is half-way savvy with or without consenting to access to your site. Where there's a will... Appreciate your response and indeed time-out to evaluate my post. Regards, Matthew
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  • Profile picture of the author clueless1985
    Originally Posted by Socrates39 View Post

    ...and can't continue for the forseeable future with further programming....

    Have you talked to him to define "forseeable" ? Talking nicely, recognizing his loss and then life should go on. I don't think a contract will have done you much good given that you live in different countries, unless we're talking tens of millions. Who has the passwords ?
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  • Profile picture of the author JaapSmits
    What I prefer is that you can talk with him about being a co-founder of the site and let him become a CTO or an advisor on the technical side of it that way you can find someone or he can find someone to work with but do this on paper. This way he feels appreciated and you understand him
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