I build Rails apps. A non-technical friend approached me with an app idea at a 50/50 equity split. The tech requirements were straightforward (just some basic database interaction); the hard part would have been getting the data itself.
Me: I can build it, but how are you going to get the data?
Client: There are many articles about the subject online.
Me: Right, but you can’t scrape that kind of content. You’d need to manually go through each article and extract the info you need, then put it all into a standardized format that I can use to seed the database.
Client: Oh, man! You tech guys are so boring. Why are you telling me all this?
Me: I’m just making sure you understand the technical limitations and how much work you would have to do in order for me to build it.
Client: Well before I compile the data I’d like to see what you could actually build with mock data.
Me: Um, I’d at least need you to give me a small sample of real world data.
Client: Why would you need that?
Me: Because (1) I need to know what real data looks like, and (2) more importantly, I need to know that it’s feasible for you to get the data in the first place. I don’t want to spend X hours building the app only for you to find that you can’t get what we need.
Client: OK, but if you can’t build something I like, how would I know it was worth my time?
Me: I’m not doing X thousand dollars’ worth of work for free just to sate your curiosity.
Client: You’re completely unreasonable. I hope you know that.
We aren’t friends anymore.