Started my first website @ 11 creating strategy guides for gamers. The site was acquired by IGN. I then got started in the virtual goods business, before any of us called it that. Basically I bought swords, shields, and gold in MMORPGs from gamers who had a lot of time and no money, then resold them on my website to gamers who had a lot of money but no time. That business grew and expanded into Gaming Synergies. I bootstrapped GSN to seven figures in revenue spanning our twenty-five networked sites. GSN helped put me through college @UW and my JD/MBA @ Pepperdine.
In 2012 I founded Duxter. A social network for gamers seeking to be the home for your gamer life. I am currently the CEO @ Duxter where I recruit talented folks, raise outside capital, and set the vision. I also advise a handful of startups. I love brainstorming problems, coming up with solutions, and helping others build amazing products.
Great question, I've dealt with this exact same issue. I've found the best way to look at this problem is by analyzing the problem you are solving for this "lighthouse." Is this something they would build anyway? If so, how much would it cost? Anything less than that is probably a win for them. Is this a nice to have, or a need to have for them? Are they price sensitive? How do they usually pay for this type of product/service?
If you are able to answer these questions it should help you figure out the best pricing model (up front cost + hosting, monthly service, per user/group etc..). It sounds like you have something pretty valuable that they want. I think pricing it based on "modification" is selling yourself short. If you solve a big business pain for them, they should be willing to pay you something non-trivial. My hunch modification pricing would be trivial for you.
Sounds like a great opportunity for you and your company, don't sell yourself short. You'll never get a price that you don't ask for.
I'd definitely go with something like LaunchRock. It will let you set up this page in minutes. You'll want to test your core hypothesis, namely that the value you think the app will provide is actually needed.
As far as how long you wait, I think the general purpose of a landing page like this is to gauge interest. You'll have to drive people to the page somehow. You can do this with ad words and social media relatively cheaply. You'll want to track how many people land on the page, how many people sign up for the waiting list, and how many people engage with you on social media about the app/idea.
You can usually tell pretty quickly if the idea has legs or not. If you are getting some interest and traction, then go ahead and invest in building the app.
I wouldn't worry AT ALL about how long people are on the waiting list. The focus should be determining whether or not there is a market. If you are solving a problem for them, you'll still be solving it in six months when the app launches.
A ton. The quantified self is just starting to creep into the enterprise world. Traditional project management tools are morphing into data machines that turn out our goals and accomplishments.
I agree completely with your assertion about being caught up in the tool not the result. I think it is early days for some of these products. They are still evolving and becoming simpler. For whatever reason enterprise products have evolved a bit more slowly than consumer counterparts. Products like FitBit are unbelievable consumer tools to help track goals/achievements around health. We will be seeing more and more of these tools for enterprise.
To answer your question personally: Our team uses GitHub, Teambox, and RelateIQ to collect data about our goals and achievements. We then feed those data pipes into a homebrew solution built around individual projects. We use the OKR system for goal management, which we power with the data mentioned above.
Can't help you with the "fit" question. That is really something you are going to have to decide. The best thing you can do is spend time with the founder and folks you would be working with. See if your visions align and if you actually want to work together.
From a logistics standpoint, deals that stage are usually pretty simple. If you are a solo and have no assets (other than the code/app) the deal could happen pretty quickly/easily. Likely you'll just be negotiating on salary + equity. You will do a simple asset purchase agreement to get all of your code/assets into the new company.
If you don't have any investors or employees this should be pretty simple.
The one thing I'd be careful of is this contingent investment. It sounds a little precarious to me. If the investor is concerned about a mobile strategy, and their solution is just to "hire" or "acquire" you, that will likely be a red flag. I'd make sure the deal makes sense for you with or without this investor. The last thing you'd want to do is make a deal and then have that new company go under because they can't raise cash.
One of my favorite issues! My company builds community tools for gamers & game developers. I end up thinking about and dealing with these issues a lot.
Mobile communities are a completely new frontier. Frankly most of the technology is poor. The vast majority of mobile communities have been ported over from long standing web technologies.
In terms of moderation there has really been a paradigm shift away from handling it through volunteers or employees toward hiring professionals. Many firms have sprouted up to fill this void. You'll see publishers, marketing firms, PR firms, and agencies offering community management/moderation as part of their suite. There are also firms that exclusively handle this.
I could dig into this issue more with some more details. Community management is a giant topic that has really exploded recently.
I'll recommend lighthouse.io which is a community about communities!
Not sure there is a definitive, one-size-fits-all answer, but I can give you my experience.
I've had much better success with multiple touch points than the single blast. I would specifically target folks who opened, but didn't click the first email, and send them a second email with a modified message.
If you have any more details, I can probably dive a bit deeper.
I am not sure if you are looking for a more abstract or philosophical answer, but I'd say benchmark it. I use AngelList's talent product when trying to figure out what the market rate (in my area) is for a giving skill set. It is a great tool for hiring, but similarly a great tool for talent looking to understand what their skills are worth.
SImple and easy. Cash + equity. Equity should be based on a vesting schedule, most common and probably most "fair"
-1 year cliff (no stock vests until he/she is with the company for a year. This prevents bad fits from walking away with a chunk of the company)
-4 year schedule
-Monthly vesting for the next 36 months
This is pretty much the gold standard for tech hires.
The % equity is going to be up to you and the new hire. Ballpark 2-3% depending on a multitude of factors. For a better benchmark, I'd recommend checking out AngelList's hiring product. You can certainly see what other companies are offering in your area in terms of cash/equity.