I recently finished my last semester of college, and my Grant and Proposal Writing professor's two words stick in my mind the best – Focus and Research. The other phrase that sticks with me is "What makes a good model?" but thats a topic for another post. Focus and research is what successful companies do. Lack of focus is what doomed the foreign restaurateur on Seinfeld who had everything from spaghetti and meatballs to hamburgers. Lack of research is what dooms so many companies that think the market is ripe for their niche product with no customer base. A few examples from local businesses –
- Handmade pies for twenty something bucks. Whats wrong with the local bakery/farm stand etc? No market, way too much cost for the payoff.
- Dollhouses. Not only do girls spend less time playing dolls, but they can be had for cheaper over the internet. Small market, too much expense (space).
As far as focus, I was talking to a guy from craigslist who had what he thought would be the king of all music sites. The plan was to have buddy lists, dj'ing, collaborative editing, indie artists, and anything else that might come along. But each of those needs a team of developers and the money to pay them. So the project is stuck at square one with a cool prototype image. If you pick one of the great ideas that is involved, and make it happen, instead of a jpg on your computer, you have last.fm, mercora, or pandora. That is, money in the bank, and a name, and a way to get interested people involved.