“Scratching your own itch” as 37Signals founders and other entrepreneurs are calling it is a widespread way of thinking for building your startup nowadays. And rightly so.
The need for continually building something that eventually will make your own life easier is a powerful motivator. More importantly still. It can become the main contributor for your day to day happiness.
The benefits for loving to use your own product on a day to day basis are multiple, some might even seem super obvious.
The first and foremost is that you will get a real user’s view on your product. You can explore different angles, test it in various situations and explain it faster and most importantly sincerely to others.
Instead of selling it, you can vividly tell about your own use cases. This makes for a way more inviting manner to get others to try it too I found.
You could even go a step further here. In my case it allowed me to write and rewrite pitches and blogarticles for other sites on dozens of occasions.
Writing about my own product seemed silly at first. Yet, after I realized I am to the largest extent also the first user of it, it made a lot of sense. And I could write them in an honest way giving hints to both benefits and pitfalls.
You are able to cut out the marketing language and review it sincerely from a users perspective.
The not so obvious
On a completely different note there are also some other benefits coming to light, when you start using your own product excessively. Something I didn’t dare to think of beforehand.
I realized it in the past few days, after we released a new feature for our Twitter App Buffer. To briefly describe, it means you can Buffer tweets from inside twitter.com now right next to Twitter’s “retweet” and “reply” option.
Whilst Joel and me were testing we realized how much we loved it for ourselves. Instantly, right there we felt we succeeded.
If you start to become your own best user it can mean a huge motivational boost for you, simply because you can rightfully assume that from a mere user perspective you have built something useful.
Whilst you are looking for signs of success in a startup, this can be a huge contributor to that.
And telling others about something you love to use instead of what you love to build makes a huge difference in the way you come across.