I'm the founder and sole developer of my own open source software called open3A. It's a web-based invoicing application that I started in 2007 and have developed ever since.
You can read more about my journey in my last post: https://www.indiehackers.com/post/how-i-earn-a-living-selling-my-open-source-software-476f6bb07e I'm so grateful for all your nice comments and questions to this post. The internet is a harsh place, but I feel welcome here.
People make it sound like I have a say in the development of my product, what it does and does not do. The hard lesson I learned over the years, again and again:
I can either work my ass off and try to sell something that I think someone wants or I can let go of what I want and build what my customers want.
A decade ago (feels more like a lifetime), I had a master-plan. A really grand vision of all the things I wanted to do with open3A. I even made a diagram. It was called "Masterplan" (sorry, I can't find it 😕).
Literally nothing of it ever happened. 🤣
I worked on open3A, following the incoming requests of my customers, always too busy to put my grand plan into action. I worked and worked and in the end, their requests led me in a totally different direction ↕️. The solutions I had envisioned just weren't a problem. open3A today is at another place than I ever imagined. I let my customers lead (more or less voluntarily) my product development and I think it's better than what I could have come up.
Don't get me wrong, I get to decide how I do things in open3A. I never ask my client how I should solve their problem (haha, that would be something 💥). I ask them, what their problem is and I solve it my way. This is what I bring to open3A: My crazy out-of-the-box thinking, my weird right-left layout, my talent as translator between worlds and probably a few other things that don't come to mind right now 😉 But it's my customers who fill open3A with life 🌱 By them using my software it gets purpose and meaning. I just build the garden and make sure there is enough water, light and care.
I started open3A because I needed it myself. I started a lot of other things, that I needed myself. It now feels more like an accident that open3A caught on and the other things didn't. Like open3A is my way. Part of my life's work. Every time I went astray, the universe didn't let it work out. That is sometimes sad, but I made my peace with it 😌
Thank you, life, for continuing to teach me the lessons I need to learn.