This article, by Paul Graham, perfectly describes our state of mind when building Splinder into the largest blogging platform in Italy.
We focused on users, that was our compass, and we focused on usage growth, not on generating revenues, because that would have killed the project. We kept costs down and survived all the business and life odds.
Then in 2005, after 4 years of bootstrapping, it became obvious that Splinder was valuable and investors and potential buyers started to flock in. But it was a bumpy ride, with people abandoning the project (only to regret it afterwards) and others sticking to it, ripping the benefits of the success.
The notion of doing good, the idea that we were actually giving users the means to express themselves, the feedback we were receiving from our users, that's what kept us awake late at night, and that's what Paul explains so clearly in his article.
A must read if you are thinking about starting up a company.