TL;DR Agreed. I think there’s an interesting friction between ‘passion projects’ and the more scientific ‘find a market, find a pain point, meet the need’ view.
Hi Manuel. That’s a really interesting read. Just yesterday I posed a similar question to @mijustin on his AMA. I asked what his criteria were for taking on a project. In short, his answer was that his rule of thumb is that he’ll ~“build a product unless I had some signal that people wanted to pay for it”. If you want the full answer you can see it at the link above.
Following that I had a good chat with @mikeaag about our criteria and how we think it will develop moving forwards. For us we have three criteria, three motivations if you like:
- It’s something that will be used by one of us.
- It’s something that will be used by others.
- It’s something that has the potential to make a good amount of money.
For us to consider working on something it has to meet one of the above three criteria. From what I’ve been reading, it seems lots of people in the bootstrapping industry are very focussed on #3. I totally get that and think overall that’s good advice, find a market, find a pain point, build a product. That’s a good process.
Equally I’ve been pondering the value of #1’s & #2’s. Things that are pretty cool and serve some use (either practically or for pure enjoyment (I’m thinking like the ‘yo’ app)) but aren’t easy to monetise. I think there’s definitely some value in it, but it depends on your investment. I wouldn’t advise anyone investing over a year or over a couple thousand dollars into a project that’s just for fun. However if there’s a cool idea you’ve got that could be shipped in under 3 months and for a small amount of money then I think there’s certainly room for that.
I think there’s the potential for more raw creativity in the ‘passion projects’, I totally appreciate the more scientific view, that finding a pain point in a market and meeting that need makes good financial sense, but equally I think there’s scope for working on an idea purely for the enjoyment of creating and/or shipping it.
On another thread @Lewis pointed me in the direction of The Spiderweb Strategy which fits in well with this, side projects that aren’t really about the money, but have benefit in the overall strategy.