What technology or product will succeed, next ?

Every entrepreneur should read this. You should test your business model on these fundamental criteria, before taking the plunge.

  1. It has to service all humans ::: What do I mean by that ? Let’s take the example of facebook. The platform they provide, connect all humans on the planet and allows them to create their own ecosystem. Male, female, kids, dogs, cat can all, create a facebook id. Smart phones like apple and Samsung are made for humanity. Their customers are potentially every individual from teenager to an old person, who can afford them. Men/women/boys/girls everybody uses smart phone these days. Thus the first principle is that of ubiquity. Choose your product wisely. Mostly people start with a niche which cannot be extended beyond the segment. Eg if you start a dog food retail shop, you can only service dog owners.
  2. Habit don’t change unless humans are pushed to the edge::: Exercising till recently was gross underrated element of humans. It wasn’t until it became clear that without health care you will die, did human started adopting it in their lives. Religion is another old product created by humans to manage their minds. Religion took several years to grow and build itself into a large, cohort. Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism all took several generations to gestate and gain popularity. If you were to disrupt religion today, and create a new one, it would take several decades to build into a new group and several years beyond the current generation to be accepted. Thus people need huge upside to see value in your product before switching. Smoking continued to be major form of stress buster until recently even though the effect of smoking where quite clear from 80s’. Thats’ why battery driven car will take a long time to gain traction even though they are environmentally friendly. In a democratic system, most new political parties take several years to gain majority.
  3. Your product should create a new market instead of acquiring a piece of the existing market ::: Peter Thiel the great investor always talks about creating x value and capturing y market share. He says that instead of entering a large market, your product/service should create a new segment and be a leader in that segment. Facebook entered the social connectivity market and captured the segment in all colleges first. When Iphone entered the mobile phone market, it created a new segment of smart phones. The future iphone disruptor will do the same. The company should grow along with the market. Amazon started selling selling online books, when online market did not exist. Most people were grappling with the word “internet” when Amazon was incorporated. Over the years it grew as the market, expanded.
  4. Countries are in different stages of development ::: Often companies start with a business which has succeeded in another country. However the target country would be in a different stage of development. India for example couldn’t adopt the pc revolution because its power infrastructure was not ready. However mobile revolution was a roaring success in India because it was easily about to create the infrastructure via private companies. Don’t assume that your business would succeed in other nations because it has done well locally unless of course you provide a software service like google search.

Disruption will continue to occur much faster in the “virtual” world compared to the “real” world. why ? Well if google stops working, nothing happens to the world. However, if a plane crashes then people die, if a new drug fails public outcry is tremendous, if a new Road needs to be build it requires community approval, say to chop down trees along the path. Thus any development in the world of atoms is much harder. This is why nuclear Technology has moved much slower compared to the world of the internet.

Its easier to build a new system of transportation than to disrupt the existing one. Thus Uber, didn’t cause the roads to be designed differently and it simply circumvented the “real” world problems.

When you design a product, think about its impact at the most fundamental level. Human beings need air, water to be alive. They need food to sustain life. They need homes to live, cars to drive, mobile devices to connect to others and social media to get a sense of belonging. Is your product covering any of these areas ? It doesn’t matter if your product is AI driven, what matters is the impact it would have on the society. Facebook’s technology is far inferior to the Rocket building technology, yet facebook is bigger than all rocket companies put together.

Gaming industry is a very complex industry, however not all humans play games, thus their market share is limited by the number of user. A gaming company can never achieve the status of a mobile phone company. A company making woman’s sanitary diaper, by its very definition will cover only 50% of the humans on this planet. However google is a product which a male and female or a child will use. That’s why google is ubiquitous. Uber can never become google because its limited by the number of people who can or want to use a car. Mostly, city dweller who need to avoid traffic. Its a big market but not ubiquitous.

Money is another product which every individual needs, however it is limited by its sovereign(state). An Indian rupee is useless outside of India. But some of these markets are big in themselves. For example, China, US and India are so large a markets that companies which deal with disruption of money can be large enough if they play in that zone. However, Canada is not a big enough market to disrupt their financial sector.

Your product should cover all age, from a child over the age of 10 (if possible) to and old person of the age of (80). Always think about market from the perspective of all humans.However your product should be unique for eg Food is required by all humans but a restaurant won’t make you a billionaire. Human eat food but they don’t eat the same kind of food. However air and water are needed in the same form by every human. iPhone facebook google amazon all are example of ubiquitous products.

Facebook is free because its a low technology product. It doesn’t require any great algorithm to connect two individual using the same platform. So they gave it for free. However iphone is a different kettle of fish. It’s phone are complex high end products which cannot be replicated by all and sundry. Thus they are able to charge a price on the product upfront. Amazon is a value added product, because they don’t manufacture the product but they provide the distribution network to deliver it home thus they operate on a low margin but unlike facebook they need an infrastructure to operate. Based on your product category your monetisation strategy would need to be tweaked.

So which technology fits the bills. Its hard to say but blockchain seems to fit into a lot of the above criteria. Its ubiquitous. Its agnostic of age, gender, country. It has the potential for 10X improvement in quality and cost of transactions because it doesn’t need to be converted back and forth. However, its biggest threat is the sovereign itself, since it can undermine the power of govts to print money and deflate their currency.

Entrepreneur, Adventurer, maverick