At WordCamp Mumbai this year, Nirav talked about “Build and They Won’t Come“, you can see the slides here. He suggested that you should not build a plugin/theme to solve your itch, and I agree with the sentiments behind the whole talk except for one point. He said “don’t build it, because we can”, and this is where I disagree with his views.
I am going to tell you that you should build to solve your itch or for fun, just because you can.
WordPress was forked from b2 to solve the itch that Matt had and look where it took him. Projects that you build to scratch your itch are also known by another interesting name, side projects.
If you’re doing a project to create value for your company, this is no different than working on any other value-creating project (like your blog). A side project such as a website or app might just be an advanced form of marketing.
by jory mackay
You see, side projects are new age marketing channel, more powerful and cheaper than any other form of marketing you will ever use for your business or yourself.
The team at Crew released Unsplash — a side project which not only saved their startup, but turned into a standalone product that generates a mind-blowing 11 million unique visitors/month. They build it to solve their itch.
At AmiWorks, we built ‘Move Your Photos’ a website to move photos from Facebook to Google+ in one click, and later released it as chrome extension. This simple tool got us covered in Economic Times, Techcrunch, Life hacker etc. We are still reaping it’s benefits in terms of service project that we continue to get, we had build it because we could. At WPoets, Awesome Studio was built to solve our services problems, and it is already creating buzz for us.
The most popular side project story that I have from a WordPress Company is from rtCamp. EasyEngine was build to automate their server deployments, today it is one of their most popular standalone product that is used by 11,931+ websites and generates about 100,000 unique visits/month. And if you are thinking that none of the side projects are plugins, then take a look at rtMedia, another side project, that has now become standalone offering with 20,000+ active installs.
Building tools that are useful to you or your friends, is good not only for business but also for career prospect of individuals, you must have heard of Shivam Jemini who got offered a job on twitter by Shahrukh Khan himself, for something he did for fun, because he could.
So, go ahead and build, because you can, just don’t hope that it will make you rich overnight.