The case against scratching your own itch when building a product

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 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  The reality is you know your segment of the market, and a lot of your assumptions are no longer current.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.


Written By Steve French


7 responses to “The case against scratching your own itch when building a product”

  1. If you are building a product, then you are, by definition, not scratching your own itch. If, while actually scratching your own itch, you think, ‘hey this could be a product’, then you’ve begun scratching other people’s itch, which will reduce the effectiveness of your scratching on your own itch.

    Scratch you or scratch them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright 2011 Digital Tool Factory. All Rights Reserved. Powered by raw technical talent. And in this case, WordPress.