Some of the best startups create entirely new markets, instead of fitting their product into an existing market and competing. I think this is what Peter Thiel’s book is about “From Zero To One”.
It is so unintuitive and hard to grasp. I struggle with this. From my past projects, I’ve observed a mental pattern that is different to creating new markets. In the past, I have always found products, services, or ways of doing things offline and then attempted to convert them online. It made sense in a lot of cases – journaling, language learning, goal setting, etc.
I think the really exciting stuff is in the ability to see emerging needs, tiny glimpses of new markets and build something to help those people. This is a complete shift in thinking about what to build and who to build it for.
Practically, is there a way to think this way more often? I have a few projects in mind which I think would fall into the category of creating a new market, but I’m not sure. The tricky thing is that you’ll never know until you try and succeed. You could even try for many months, years, fail and still not know if it was your execution or the need is simply not there.
David Rusenko gave a great talk at YC called How To Find Product Market Fit (it’s on YouTube) where he talks about this. He also says that most people will be telling you that your idea is totally stupid. If it was obvious, everybody would be doing it. Market research won’t help you either, because that can only look at existing markets, not new ones.
Note to self, focus on recent issues caused by some slow (sometimes fast) fundamental changes in the way people are doing things. These small issues are early signs of old markets shrinking, new markets growing…that haven’t been address by current solutions or other companies / startups.