The danger of scratching that itch

I’m generally a big proponent of “scratch your own itch” as a business starting point. But it’s a double-edged sword.

On one hand, it can help keep your initial product really focused. But I think it can also be blinding to bigger opportunities.

When I started Baremetrics, it was purely because I needed it for other things. I needed revenue analytics, Stripe had all the data. Boom. Done.

It was amazing for keeping me really focused, but hurt my perception of what it could become. I think for a long time I was almost in denial about it actually becoming a big thing.

“The likely outcome here seems to just be that Stripe would acquire us in a year or two.”

I specifically remember having a conversation with my wife in the first 2–3 months about how it seemed like a temporary side project: “The likely outcome here seems to just be that Stripe would acquire it in a year or two.” Which was very green and naive of me.

We’re way past that point and the problems we’re solving are much bigger than I originally envisioned. That’s amazing, but where I failed was taking a step back sooner and actually seeing how big it could become.

As a team we’ve been working hard for the past 6+ months to course-correct this. The coming 6+ months will be some of the biggest growth we’ve seen as we move well past the small “analytics for Stripe” tool we started as.

Takeaway: Scratching your own itch is valid way to start, but regularly take stock of the opportunity at hand and look at the bigger picture.

This article’s original format was a tweetstorm. If you like tweetstorms about startups and business and other boring things, you can follow @Shpigford on Twitter.