Build something you love, not what sells.

Every now and then I’ll run into a prospective client who wants to build the next newsvine, digg, flickr or Amazon. The thought being

“We’ll build it, throw it up there and see how it does.
If it doesn’t work we’ll move on.”

Whenever I hear talk like this, I flinch.

Why?

Because its not the way to build an enduring web application, start up or business.

You see, your ‘quit threshold’ in a situation like this is low. If something goes wrong or if the startup doesn’t meet your expectations early, you exit stage left.

That isn’t how the diggs, flickrs, and googles, pandoras were built. Those were labors of love, built by people who were very passionate about getting their idea to market. They pushed through many an obstacle¬† to their ideas before ‘making it’ (and some continue to do so).

It is with this in mind that I heartily recommend reading this Seth Godin post about passion in creation

One difference between creating something you believe in and creating something that’s popular is that popularity seekers follow established steps. Do this, do that, do the other thing… lots of traffic. Do this, do that, do the other thing, a quick boost in Google. DT, DT DTOT and get a standing ovation…

The problem with this, that and the other thing is that you end up with a career filled with it. Instead of creating long-lasting art, ideas that matter and things that spread organically, you end up with a bunch of calculated mini-hits.

So build something you really care about. That way you’ll end up with something more akin to this and this, than some flavor-of-the-month-web-app clone.

You’ll be original. People will care.
And that is what you’re after.