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August, 2011


16
Aug 11

The case against scratching your own itch when building a product

I recently spoke on Atlanta Business Radio and after the interview I spent some time talking about with the hosts about TimeProducer.com and Stronico.  One of the hosts had some interesting, and mildly troubling throughts.  He asked me outright if I was “scratching my own itch”.  He then presented a compelling case against doing that.  To wit

  • If you are solving your own problem, you have much less pressure to come up with a commercially viable solution because total failure is unlikely.  At least the product will work for you, and you get to use it.
  • You have no pressing need to get out of the building and talk to people.  You know the market right?  After all, you’ve been in it for XX years.  The reality is you know your segment of the market, and a lot of your assumptions are no longer current.  If you are building something for someone else, you can’t fool yourself as easily.
  • If the industry is foreign to you, you are less likely to have fewer emotional attachments to tools, methods, or industry players.  Product features will be worth a lot less too.

In short, if you build a product solely for other people, you avoid all of the psychological traps that people fall into with product development.

I’m not sure if the case against scratching your own itch outweighs the case for it, but the decision is not as clear cut as I once thought.

 

Editor’s Note

This blog post originally appeared on the Profit Awareness Blog - as that app is up for sale, it has been consolidated into the main Digital Tool Factory blog.


5
Aug 11

Free Derek Sivers video on App Sumo

I’ve been a huge fan of Derek Sivers for several years now, and I have seen, listened, or read over a dozen interviews and presentations with him, making me something of a groupie.  Today’s App Sumo deal is the longest presentation I’ve seen of his, and chock full of data and useful advice.

And it’s free!  Go get it now.

 

Editor’s Note

This blog post originally appeared on the Profit Awareness Blog - as that app is up for sale, it has been consolidated into the main Digital Tool Factory blog.


2
Aug 11

Why you should NOT burn your boats, bridges, or escape routes

I recently came across the blog post “Founders: Burn Your Boats” on Hacker News and found it to be the exact wrong advice.  The logic behind the argument is that by removing your escape routes (boats) you are committing totally, and focusing your attention on your startup company, and you will of course be happier. will be more successful.   A good example would be not doing consulting work while working on your startup.  “Burning boats” works for marriage, where “forsaking all others” is one of the main points of the whole endeavor.

However. if you have a startup company, you’re only trying to make a product.  Total commitment is, at best, a necessary evil, not a virtue.  Sure, you’re showing commitment to other people, but why not just show them an  awesome product?  By “burning boats” the only thing you’re doing is putting yourself in a weaker negotiating position with venture capitalists, and looking good instead of doing good.

 

Editor’s Note

This blog post originally appeared on the Profit Awareness Blog - as that app is up for sale, it has been consolidated into the main Digital Tool Factory blog.