This is by far the most important thing that dictates whether your project fails. And with software there are literally three places to get it.

Money saved from process improvements.


Paying users.


An investor.

Now eventually, a business should always be looking to get to paying users or a real ROI of money/time saved on process improvement, because that's the only way to create a profitable business, and not a ponzi scheme, but an investor is a useful milestone because it:

a) Forces you to create a happy path demo to demonstrate core, distinct value
b) Forces you to think through a business model that is realistic

The "happy path" is a major hurdle for most entrepreneurs/intrapreneurs. All that the happy path is, is demonstrating a working scenario to demonstrate the core value of the application. Your app WILL break in a variety of places during the initial build steps. But, every second you waste on worrying about non-critical components, that do zero to demo your main application value, and how they don't work, is a second that your critical components lose out on being able to be refined to a level that really makes your app look useful.

If you are an entrepreneur or intrapreneur on a budget, every misallocated second or newton of energy is life or death. If I have to explain that you need to set priorities to be successful, unless you have a few years of monetary runway to build some basic skills, you are already fucked.

Re-roll and try again.

In the early stages of bringing a software idea to life, you want to be excising bad opportunities as quickly as possible, and honing on real value creation and capture. If you stay too pie in the sky and don't think about things in terms of the money math, you might go and build something that no one cares about, or if they do, they don't care enough to float a business that can make ends meet. This is very, very bad, and how you waste years. Doing due diligence through the filter of investor expectations can really solve a lot of issues quite early by aborting dumb projects ahead of time.

Now the only challenge is that, even if an investor likes your idea, and even if you are demoing something that works, it doesn't mean jack shit if when it hits the market you don't have the skills or the value required for getting and retaining users.

Which is why my general recommendation is to focus first on happy path build to show core value, user acquisition and eliciting feedback from at least 3-5 end users of your product (and ideally, PAYING users).

This is my PRIMARY recommendation. Even if you get an investor, this is a step that has to occur anyways, and if you do this first, this will make your product look more attractive to investors, anyways.

It's extremely rare to see on an early project. It's the biggest emotional blockade - and by far the most important to jump.

You are not your user, you don't know what your user wants, and what they care about is not what you care about. Stop pretending that you can read minds, and you will be delightfully surprised by how forgiving your users are, and how much smarter they are at telling you what they want than you are.

Expose what you are working on, they will be excited seeing things that they ask for are being completed. Very excited, and that is simply because NO ONE LISTENS TO THEIR USERS/CUSTOMERS IN ALMOST EVERY TYPE OF BUSINESS. It is recited almost like gospel in startup land for a reason - because it's so fucking rare, even when telling people to do it all the time, that when it happens, even for mundane things, your users LOVE you, and they want to invest more in what you are building for them.

And once you have this, as I have seen again and again with projects - a fire will get lit under your own ass. A feedback cycle that allows iterative development will be established and will start to have its own energy and momentum beyond you as a single founder. The project will be real. No longer will you be wondering if what you are doing makes any sense, because real money, will be flowing into your bank account, and you will be getting requests from people on what they would like to see next.

Things that you might not know how to do - it will be easier to find people with expertise to solve. The next step here would be to find those people, and get the larger support system necessary to go beyond here.

But what happens if you need a support system before that? It’s not easy, even if you kind of know what to do, to build something out yourself, or even if you can, to find quality development services willing to push projects into a place where the vision is actually achieved and over what can seem the ever moving line into green (read: positive) ROI territory. So let us, as an expert, handle these types of applications for you. We at Gadget have seen it many times - clients running in a circle on their project, solving easy, surface level problems, and in their lack of expertise getting eaten by the monsters in the depths.

With the advent of LLM tech allowing code generation with ease, more and more no-code, low-code solutions, and niche SaaS services, and coupled with the high cost of development, more and more people are turning to these solutions to try to "skip the middleman", and bring their vision to life themselves.

While often most people can get some traction with these tools, and there is an initial high of seeing the beginnings of the vision come to life, there's often a point, usually pretty fast after some initial success, where you get stuck.

And even though it's clear that you might be SPINNING YOUR WHEELS, that initial success sticks in your mind, and you feel like if you just got past the next obstacle, you would probably get through the rest. DO NOT BE FOOLED BY THIS LINE OF THINKING.

In fact, many of these existing solutions are designed, perhaps intentionally in some case, to take you past the initial hurdles, because that's how they make a sale, even if they know in the long term, their solution will not hit the mark for a high aspiring entrepreneur, or even intrapreneur with his own distinct vision that does not yet exist.

Worse yet, even if you do get to that first complete milestone, there's no telling what kind of issues will pop up, or when you will reach that limit, or if what you are hitting is a real limitation or not. You can end up wasting your most valuable asset, your time, for actually something that is not even flat ROI, but negative ROI, because if you are making decisions based on limited understand, you could be making the wrong decision. In the worst case, you might not even recognize that until it's too late, where you have a data, or security leak, payment issues, or even just a chink in core functionality that creates more headaches for your users than positives.

Some of that stuff can be business ending. There is always a tradeoff here. AND IT IS THE TRADE BETWEEN THE SHORT AND THE LONG TERM. There is a distinction between short term wins at the expense of the long win, vs slower early wins at the gain of the long win. And it's constantly being played out with tools that tell you you don't need a technical person to handle your build out. But here's the thing.

A great engineer, while it requires more labor and cost, can often do what you are looking to do in the same time period, and balance your short term needs with those long term desires. It saves you the things that matter most. Your peace of mind, your time, your focus, your energy.

You gain real LEVERAGE. Not some paltry deal with the devil that takes on the front end and removes from the backend. So while an existing digital system might not be able to do some basic things for you. A person, there to listen to exactly what you want, what your goals are, and can interpret that into not only the final product, but also what the milestones will need to be, is INVALUABLE, and simply, capable of doing what you are not.

IN FACT, IT'S NOT EVEN A COMPETITION. Imagine avoid the burning wreckage of $10,000s wasted, headaches of not understanding what to do, how to do it, where to go, and all that time, never to be found again, by working with an expert, who can save you from the common pitfalls of lone travel get what you need: the result.

It just so happens that we at Gadget, can not only help with these kinds of completely custom projects, but also those that require more nuanced expertise, LLM stuff, technical team build out, you name it. Decades of experience, of building dozens of projects from scratch, integrating with existing teams and projects, and making process improvements in those teams have put us into a position where we understand the narrow road to success in software, with enough exposure to disasters that we know to stick to the tried and true.

So instead, maybe you don’t just get to your personal finish line completely ripped to shreds, clothes singed, a psychological shell of your former self from the amount of friction you’ve had to overcome, but rather coasting through, unscathed, happy, even excited for what’s next, with an even better time than you could have ever imagined.

The place where you have functional, safe, software application, that does what it needs to in order to accrue value for you, your stakeholders, and most importantly, your users.

And if it wasn’t obvious from the race allegory, a process where we can take you by the hand, and make it super silky smooth to get to that ROI and end result. No banging your head against the wall. No sleepless nights wondering what's going to happen. No irritating mornings feeling like you need to take control. Just a peaceful flow.

Here's the kinds of thing that you can expect from working with us:

Fixed pricing!

How many times have you shouldered the risk of hourly contractors, quoting you one price, and then chronically adding unexpected things to the final price, even in some cases not even delivering anything? What was the value add to you? NOTHING. Just wasted time, money, and the feeling of being betrayed. At Gadget, we charge one fixed, total price, and we don't stop until we reach the agreed upon endpoint - which is always to get you to the next value capturing milestone of your project.

Regular checkins

Let's avoid all the nonsense of over-planning - most roadmaps are at best a guess, and at worst wrong. Project specifications change as you get feedback from the users of your system (even if YOU are a user). Our team keeps in touch with you at regular intervals to make sure we are aligned with your needs, even as they are changing.

Modern, Common Use Tooling and Infrastructure

Instead of constantly hopping to the new latest thing, we use a toolset that is both currently strongly supported, that you will not only have complete ownership of from the beginning, but also has been proven to work over a long period of time. Handoff and long term support has never been easier.

(You can see some of them in the nifty images on the right.)

Decades of experience

Experience tested, solid advice and project leadership from a small team that has nearly 20 years of combined experience. We know where projects snag, where momentum is lost, and all the potential points of failure that can happen. Running into new territory? Stuck and not sure where to go? Instead of losing life and morale by watching your project go up in flames before it's even had a chance, let our experience and guidance do the work, and we'll make the process from confusion to victory so easy that project success will seem like it "just happened".

Total control

Total, full control over all assets and items created by our company. We don't own any of the intellectual property after we are done - and have no interest in it, so you can sell it and make a quick ROI on your investment, build it without fear of creating competitors by outsourcing, and feel good that you have full flexibility to hire in-house or otherwise after your project is complete (you won't want to, but we thought we'd mention it).

LLM (Chatbot) AI experts

Experience with cutting edge LLM (Chatbot) AI technology and more. We've been working with LLMs since public developer API access has been available for OpenAIs ChatGPT. Take advantage of this before the cats out of the bag and everyone and their mother realize the revenue exploding capabilities of the technology!

ZERO privacy or legal concerns with the AIs that we work with

We can use micro-LLMs thar are self-hosted, so you are full control of the data of your customers. As a result the model will not produce content that counts as plagiarism, and you can rest in peace knowing that you will not have privacy leaks, or heart attack inducing legal notices like copyright infringment lawsuits randomly showing up at your door. Without any reduction in quality of the output from the LLM thanks to advanced RAG integration which has been proven to be the key factor in LLM performance, NOT model size.

Ruthless Value Driven Approach

Most custom software companies bloat your projects with unnecessary time-consuming processes, or nonsense features (" architecture" anyone?) to fill billable hours and keep their personal quotas full.

We get bored easily - so in order to have fun, get value to you fast, we've stripped down everything to the bare essentials. The benefit? Your time and money get stretched out to their limits, simply by us having learned to say NO to anything that doesn't get you to your first customers quickly.

For certain customers this can be annoying, but for the ones that really want to have their project succeed, this is a crucial piece that distinguishes Gadget from the average, soulless, software factory - and not only makes things more fun for Gadget, but it also takes a process has a lot of stressful, potential gut-wrenching uncertainty into a more easeful, zippy, interesting, fun, and simple way of working that nets RESULTS for you, the customer.

"Off to the Races" System To Make Your Project Real, Quick

Every project fails because of lack of continuous directional momentum. There are two things that fuel that in a software project - users, or money. We won't even start building for you until we have either an investor demo milestone, which is one source of initial money, or for user acquisition and acquiring feedback in place, which is really just another proxy for cash coming in.

Why? Because otherwise the business envisioned is a complete fantasy. If those things aren't in place at the very beginning of the project, it doesn't matter how awesome a product we make, there will be no ROI. We love to build things because it's fun, impactful, and potentially life changing, but if the math doesn't make sense, there's sadly not much that can happen from there.

If this is enough to scare you off, good. We've seen enough failures to know what's pivotal for software projects to be successful, and if someone isn't willing to do either one of those two basic things, well, to say we have no faith in that project would be a nice way of putting it.

With almost two decades of experience, dozens of software projects, failures, successes, and everything in-between - including experience at working in Software at companies of several sizes (from just 5 people, to 1000, to 30,000), and multiple successful LLM/AI projects under our belt at Gadget (just check out [our testimonials page](/testimonials)), let us take you by the hand and help you run, not walk past the burning wreckage of failures of peers that didn't get expert help, and that are carefully hidden from public eye.

Free Bonus #1: "Will this Work?" Project Consultation ($447 value)

Have an idea that seems a bit crazy, but you know will work?

Take advantage of our absolutely FREE consultation and specification session - where we will either poke all the necessary holes in your plan, and leave you feeling clear of mind that the project doesn't make sense, OR we will refine your plan to make it robust and crystal clear as to how to go from just a rough idea to an executable list of items. A done with you service, no strings attached. It's like you're' stealing, legally!

Free Bonus #2: No Fumble Software Handoff ($5244 value)

Evil vendors will hold critical pieces of your code or infrastructure in order as leverage in order to try to force their clients to behave in certain ways.

We believe in the opposite - the very first thing we do in your project is make sure you own all of the assets, code and infrastructure, so that you are free to do what’s best for you at any time.

Then, because we hate waste and failure, when you hire an internal team, or pass off the project to another team that might specialize in another project phase, we will provide time, for free at the end of the project to make sure all the materials are handed off so the new team can take a running start IMMEDIATELY.

Seeing your project flourish is really important to us, and seeing it in another pair of capable hands before we leave is how we ensure it gets nurtured. Don't have a technical team yet? No problem - we will put together some documentation so that way it's easy for whoever is next to pick up the slack, even if there is a delay.

Free Bonus #3: Office Hours ($4844 value)

We know that there's lots of adhoc things that come up during the course of a project. Balancing changing course and sticking the route is always a challenge - the best in between is making ourselves fully available for office hours - twice a week, for any additional quick back and forth and meetings that need to occur. Peace of mind, focus, and availability. You get the best of all three.

Yes, all that for free. How? Well, we do so, not only because it’s fun to win, but also we feel confident we can provide these to clients that make it through our screening process. Here’s a short list of what we look for:

Gadget Software's Custom Buildout Service is NOT for you if...

Gadget Software's Custom Buildout Service is FOR you if...


We never take 100% of the project fees up front. We will always leave some percentage at the end to incentivize that we get you the ROI we promised you.

If we fail to do so, you get to keep the remaining money, and all the assets and code. No fuss.

There is a slight downside though…


With almost two decades of experience, dozens of software projects, failures, successes, and everything in-between - including experience at working in Software at companies of several sizes (from just 5 people, to 1000, to 30,000), and multiple successful LLM/AI projects under our belt at Gadget (just check out our testimonials page), let us take you by the hand and help you run, not walk past the burning wreckage of failures of peers that didn't get expert help, and that are carefully hidden from public eye.

Hourly Consulting

Let us give you all the expertise you need to skill up and make the attempts at integrating LLMs in house

Fixed - Done With You

We'll embed a programmer on your team at FIXED COST and handle LLM integrations alongside YOUR process. We don't stop working until the agreement is complete

Fixed - Done For You

Let us handle your project from start to finish. You pay a fixed price, and we take you from 0 - 1 and get you capturing value from what we've done

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