Fred Wilson reminds that side projects were a meaningful part of the innovation ecosystem in the early 2000s. Now people are moving away from them toward doing a startup, which is not always a good thing.

A reason may be that today the effort to build and launch something that can reach broad adoption is harder. You now have to develop your solution for many devices and OS while you could focus on desktop web back in 2003/2004. It is also much easier to quit your job and get some seed funding.

To USV's partner, there was something great about the ability to experiment with an idea before committing to it. When it didn’t work, it didn’t work. No need to pivot to save face or get investors whole. Just shut it down and start thinking about another idea.

Experimentation is critical and we should have lots of it. But a full-time commitment matched with a significant amount of money from day one is not ideal in many cases. Side projects have an important role to play in the innovation economy.

Source: http://avc.com/2016/03/side-projects/