Hey Smart Guy - Stop Trying To Do It Yourself

(This is a repost from the HipChat Blog)

When we’re at conferences and meetups there are always a few people who come up to us (probably because of our awesome shirts), hear what HipChat is, and say “Couldn’t I just setup my own Jabber or IRC server for free?”

“Yeah, but you wouldn’t get the slick UI, drag-and-drop file sharing, searchable history, and all that. Plus, you’d have to manage the system and teach people how to use it.”

For some reason these points never resonate with this type of person. Solving 10% of a problem by themselves is good enough. What they don’t realize is that people are very willing to pay for the convenience of a hosted service and the things that come with it: a cleaner and more consistent interface, support, frequent updates, and peace of mind. I imagine many startups run into this type of response at some point. Here’s how a DIY mind may have responded to some services which are now very successful:

I’d like to challenge all you do-it-yourselfers to think about the problems you’re capable of solving and how many people could benefit from the solution. If it’s a fair number of them you probably have a great idea for a startup. There are a ton of people and companies out there. Sure it’s fun to solve problems yourself, and it’s a great way to learn, but keep your mind open. There’s always room for improvement and that’s a great way to make money.