For the past 8 years we’ve struggled with what to do when we had a product idea that wasn’t related to a client.
In the beginning, we’d simply let these ideas go and forge ahead with our client service work. Later, we’d try to work these ideas between paying projects. The problem with this approach, at least for us, was that in order to dedicate people to the project it meant we needed to turn away paying clients. In the early days of our business we couldn’t make that choice. We were too comfortable with client service work and too fearful of doing something different.
A few years ago we tried again, this time formalizing the process by moving a few people off client work so they could focus on building out one of these ideas. We time boxed these these initiatives and referred to them as labs projects. The process worked. We were able to focus on getting something done without going bankrupt. The labs project I’m referring to is Image Spark. Image Spark has steadily grown in popularity but it doesn’t make any money – it was never designed to. It was done simply to build something of our own from beginning to end and to take a break from client work.
Well, we’re trying something different again. This time we’re building out a small product group to conceive, design, implement and support profitable product ideas. There’s really only one constraint: Build a product people will want to buy in 60 days.
So what’s the first product?
The first product we’re launching creates digital magazines from twitter lists, tags and users. We call it TweetMag. We’re sure people will find some really unique ways to use this, but to us there will be no better way to remove the noise that often overwhelms twitter at times. Over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing details and screenshots of TweetMag during its development.