Keep it Simple Stupid....Or Don't
In the startup world, simplicity is the way to go. Do the minimally viable product! Unfortunately the minimally viable product that I'm chasing with Ctitch, seems to be, if I'm going to borrow a religious term, irriducibly complex.
Of course there are parts of Ctitch that can exist on their own. Some of those parts are live and fully functional now, but I think the real power of Ctitch will be when it fully ties together into one cohesive package, and that is still a little ways off. Besides, there are already well-established tools that do some of what Ctitch does. What differentiates Ctitch, or what will differentiate Ctitch, is the unifying nature of it with some tools that I haven't built out yet.
It seems that as the internet progresses and evolves, that minimally viable product seems less and less mimimal, just because you have to meet the functionality of potential competing websites.
I yell at myself from time to time to just stop. Do the simple thing. Twitter -- write messages that are 140 characters or less. Facebook -- post status updates so your friends can read them. Flickr -- allow people to upload their photos. Easy, simple! Do that!
There are lots of reasons to keep things simple. It's easier to maintain simple things, when you're starting out, you don't know exactly what features your users will find useful, and perhaps most importantly, you just don't have a lot of time to be chasing various features.
I have a problem though. Building something simple (at least the simple ideas for apps/websites that I have thought of so far) doesn't excite me as much as building something like Ctitch. Ctitch is what I want to build. It's something that I want to use, and I am hoping that somehow, I can find others who are looking for something like Ctitch.
Of course the goal is to create a product that will allow me to do my own thing, and I fully realize that building something big and complex may make it had to accomplish that goal. I don't know how to resolve that. I think at least for now, I'm taking the long term view, and I don't have a problem investing years into Ctitch -- other than I very much feel the need to be my own boss, and sooner rather than later.
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