Tina Roth Eisenberg, founder of swiss miss, spoke recently at TYPO San Francisco 2012 about the power of side projects. Her recent venture, Tattly, started as a side project and hit it big. She also created TeuxDeux.
Another story that came across my feed today was about how Flowdock also started as a side project and has apparently turned a little software consultancy into a product company. From an interview with the founder, Otto Hilska, three take-ways:
- Start small: Flowdock started as a side project. Sometimes, if you have serious resources, you can afford to dive wholesale into an idea, but for most people it’s way smarter to experiment and build within your means.
- Fix your own problem: Flowdock was their own customer. They typified the type of client they were trying to attract. This vastly simplifies the feedback loop required to create a good product.
- Play Nice with Others: Flowdock’s biggest source of customers is their integration partners. If you build your product so it syncs/has an API/connects with other apps your customer uses, you are building marketing channels directly into your product.
Those points jive with some of the lessons that Tina mentions in her talk. Tattly started because she was disappointed by a temporary tattoo that her daughter brought home from a party. She also lauds the importance of collaboration.