A good friend of mine made a great analogy....You have vitamins or you have painkillers. Vitamins are a nice to have (but you really don't need them), but Painkillers you *must* have and can't live without. He was a strong advocate of building painkiller companies, which something I agree with and that I currently building (prospectmarkets).
What an intelligent post. You have very politely told a lot of people that they are pursuing a space with:
1. Too many competitors
2. Too little (if any) money / pain points
Entrepreneurs are rewarded for fixing problems.
Dharmesh - is it fair to say that the qualifying phrase is "looking to build a nice, profitable, sustainable business"? It seems like some of the more successful (in addition to merely nice and profitable) companies of the past year ot two seem to be very much in the "vitamin" category. Facebook, Flickr, Digg, Reddit, del.icio.us etc. - they don't exactly solve a pressing need the way Intuit/TurboTax does. Yet, they are poster children.
Otoh, many of the 37s apps certainly try to make something painful, less painful: like managing projects or customers etc.
You certainly make a good point though.
Good post. Reminds me of some good reads from Eric Sink. A concrete example would be nice though. It's easy to say that 'needs' are easier to market, but often times needs involve significant liability (i.e. would you recommend bootstrapping a tax-software company to someone?).
Wonderfully stated. I am founding what I think solves a real problem, but people think its not sexy since its too Web 1.0. Your post makes me feel better
Good point. This is exactly what we evaluated when moving from a purely service based to a saas based company - atleast you can sleep better at night knowing that you are solving a real problem for a lot of people...
Great post, I'm all for pragmatic. I haven't seen a "profitable, sustainable" internet consumer company in a long while.
So i read this article. of several hundred words that basically says, you can start a company thats not evil., then went on to explain extremely primitive principles about how not to be evil.
You don't get upmodded on reddit because you have no content/ substance and you regurgitate yourself a lot to make your blogs longer.
... but it is so much more fun to do something you love and are passionate about... but I do agree with your point! - CH
I am in complete agreement with you traveler. It is hard to be objectionable about stuff you love. For those projects I am passionate about and that do not meet the criteria, I set aside time and additional resources to work on them - weekends, evenings and friends and family members.