We enjoyed a wonderful meal this evening with friends. The hosts supplied the main course and we brought drinks and deserts. In essence we built a wonderful meal based on the core product of the hosts. We had a wonderful time, enjoyed everyone’s company and no-one including the hosts spent a mint. Businesses are and should be looking for similar opportunities.

When looking for a solution to a business problem one option is to customize an existing product to your needs. Today I was working an e-commerce solution using Wordpress and WP-commerce. It enabled me to get the basics of an e-commerce solution together quickly without having to code a shopping cart, payment systems, etc. from scratch. There was still work to be done for the branding, particular features, and integration with newsletter software, but it gave me a great starting point.

By building applications off of other applications and sharing technology and solutions we can end up with a stronger richer solution. Starting with some of the prior learning and mistakes already tackled and in the past. It is like the delicious meal we shared with friends this evening where our shared experience and knowledge in food, wine, and music was enjoyed together. Sure people brought up topics that were uncomfortable at times or might have made some mistakes, but is all part of the process and should be expected.

Another important point in tonight’s conversation was that when working on a solution with partner organizations it is important to find things that are a solution to the problem not a mask to a problem. We cannot achieve perfect or normal business operations and change is a constant either in our world or someone else’s. So it is important that what we are doing is a solution to today’s problems, but has tomorrows growth and change in mind. Existing applications that are serving as the a platform should be “stable” at a maturity level, but have the flexibility to change with your business. This way you can get something up quickly and save money today, but have a platform that continues to serve you in the future.