“Founders at Work”, a collection of interviews with founders of many successful startups, turned out to be something very fun to read. Both of WordPress competitors – Blogger and Six Apart, are described in the book, and that makes the reading even more fun.
Some interesting points:
Most startups are started by geeks like you and me, who initially just want to do something fun, or to solve an immediate problem he faces daily. For 37Signals, it was the need for a simple tool for internal project collaboration; for del.iciou.us, it was organizing 20,000 bookmarks efficiently. The problem that one man tries to solve turns out to be a common problem and the solution is welcomed by thousands users instantly.
Keep it simple. Simplicity is beauty. Most of the Web 2.0 startups have small teams, so keeping it simple is about survival or death. Users like simple, elegant technologies, and best things are indeed very simple.
Ability to solve a core problem that differentiates the startup from many peers. Paypal solved the fraud problem that sucked millions of dollars monthly. Its competitors couldn’t and died.