Should I build something people need or build something people don't realize they need yet?

the grumpy hypnotist ‏ @steveroh: Should I build something people need or build something people dont realize they need yet?


The way to make the most money is, of course to create an entire market and monopolize it. Google did it. Apple did it. Even Walt Disney did it.

But these are very very rare.

You shouldn’t do it if you want a more stable way to make money, even a lot of money.

If you build something that people need and you can build it for cheaper than they are willing to pay for it then you will make millions if not billions of dollars.

I will give you my example: In 1996 I started a company called Reset that build websites mostly for entertainment companies but also other fortune 100 companies.

A lot of companies didn’t realize they needed a website. A lot of companies saw no benefit in one.

A big part of my sales process was convincing them that they did need one. That was very hard. But I was lucky in that there was this brief three year period where at least they were STARTING to realize they needed one. If I had started in 1994 I would’ve had no customers and gone out of business. And if I had started in 2000 I would’ve been too late and even junior high school students would’ve known how to build a corporate website.

Perhaps its best to be in that middle area, where people are starting to realize they need something and you can bring them over the edge.

By the way, the irony is that many companies no longer need their website. Now on Super Bowl ads all you see are their facebook URLs. Turns out what people really needed was a direct way to connect with their customers, and Facebook (being a “cleaner, more organized, mini-Internet”) actually provides better pages for companies than standard company websites. This, of course, has created enormous opportunities for people in the business of providing Facebook services.