I am reading a book called ReWork at the moment. It is written by the guys who began and run 37signals. They are a small company that makes software - such as Basecamp and Backback - to help other small companies. More than 3 million people around the world use their products and they make millions of dollars in profit each year with a staff of less than 20.
"Scratch your own itch"
There is a section in the book called 'Scratch your own itch' which says 'The easiest way to create a great product or service is to make something you want to use'. The section goes on to say that 'If you're solving someone else's problem, you're constantly stabbing the dark. When you solve your own problem, the light comes on. You know exactly what the right answer is'.
There are many examples of how great products or services have been developed by people solving their own problems:
- Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith wanted a better way to communicate while they working on a project. To solve their problem, they developed a web based email system called Hotmail. In 1997, Microsoft acquired Hotmail for $400 million dollars.
At the end of 1994, a couple of guys called Jerry Yang and David Filo developed an index for themselves to track the technical papers they would have to reference for their PhD theses. Word got around about this index and their class mates began sending them emails saying 'Can you add this?'. The site grew rapidly and was eventually called Yahoo. These days Yahoo has a market capitalization of around 19 billion dollars.
- 37signals themselves build products they need to run their own business. They also sell these products.
The intranet home page design competition
So why not 'scratch your own itch', design an intranet home page that YOU would find useful and enter the Intranet Homepage Design competition. There are just a few days left to submit your entry.
And for all those intranet professionals, now is your chance to demonstrate your passion, 'stop talking and start walking', 'put your money where you mouth is' and design what YOU think is the perfect intranet home page.
You could win a newly released Amazon Kindle Fire. Plus you might find your intranet street cred goes through the roof!