Turn Your Pain Into Lemonade

Roman Filippov

Roman Filippov

October 4, 2018
Photo by rawpixel.
Photo by rawpixel.

Last Update: August 18, 2021

How often do you run into a problem and wish a solution existed? No, you are convinced the solution exists.

"It's just so obvious, someone must have solved this before!"

-- Frustrated Self

You google left and right. You turn over every web rock and look under. You ask in peer groups.

Zero. Nothing. Zilch.

The only option is to build it yourself. Become an inventor. Turn lemons into lemonade.

But you know what is even better? Help others solve this problem too. Productize your pain!

Many successful businesses that we know today started as a solution to their internal struggles. They saw the need and figured others might have the same problem too.

These are just a few intrapreneurship success stories to get you inspired.

Amazon Web Services

Amazonians were building out the technology on the inside for internal use. They were also helping some key partners, such as Target with technology solutions.

Developers realized that a lot of tasks were repetitive and time-consuming. After a long company retreat the C-level execs came out with a plan - let's develop internal solutions into a public-facing service and make money.

Amazon Web Services was born, which today powers a massive part of the internet, and almost every startup you know. It is also currently the most profitable branch of Amazon as a company.

Almost everything AWS releases is born out of an internal need. Take one of the most recent additions: Amazon Rekognition. The service makes it easy to add image and video analysis to an application. What else has Amazon's e-commerce arm released at the same time? Product image analysis and using that for product rankings.


Tiny Speck released a game named Glitch in 2009. The game completely flopped and closed down in 2012. Yeah, you probably have never heard of it. Neither did I. But the company behind the game, had this one internal tool, a chat application, that everyone loved using.

They decided to build it out and share it with other teams. That little chat application is now known as Slack. It is used by 50,000 organizations and has more than 6 million daily users. Today the company is valued at $5B.


Tobias Lütke and I met back in 2004 at a coffee shop on Elgin Street in Ottawa, Canada. He agreed to show me the ropes of using Ruby on Rails (a programming framework). Tobi was using the framework to build a shopping cart software for his snowboarding store. He was not satisfied with any solutions that were currently on the market.

Two years later the shopping cart software was launched as a stand-alone service. Now it is known as Shopify. Over 600,000 merchants are using it today. Shopify is valued at over $5B.

>>> Do you have any lemons you'd like to turn into a profit-making machine?

Turn Your Pain Into Lemonade
Short URL
Roman Filippov
Date Published
October 4, 2018
Date Updated
August 18, 2021