Baking startups — two aspects.

Beyond brainstorming and having a electrifying buzz, it is good to consider two important aspects.

Let’s talk about Opportunity time window and Timing.

First of all, how do they differ?

An opportunity is something you grab. But before grabbing, it’s gotta be grasped. Opportunity Time Window is what I call the period of time, during which it makes sense (or is possible at all) to sell your services.

Want to sell sails before sail boats? Good luck.

Want to sell really advanced environmentally friendly batteries — but no one has any use for any batteries at all? You get the idea. Sell something that make sense.

Opportunity Time Window in years

  • tip: it’s often around 5-10 years
  • opportunity time window is the ripe time for selling the solution to customers
  • try to estimate the timing of your product, at least a bit against the Diffusion theory of innovations
  • consumer products may have much longer Opportunity Time Windows
  • technology often relies on other offerings to co-exist, thus this limits somewhat the Time
  • if you’re doing improvements to existing product or ecosystem, they will at some point
    possibly do the same “organically”

Timing: when?

  • if “you” are well ahead of time, you might be 20 years early
  • being too early is really a bad thing
  • some turn of the millennium companies (2000s) were simply too early in the markets – smart phones were just about incubating. They had tiny amount of RAM memory, couldn’t run heavy code, were quite slow, sometimes lacked proper data network connections
  • being too early means you will face technological and possibly social resistance
  • ultimately people judge the worth of the product
  • the judgment by the people is honest – and it’s done often repeatedly
  • repeat judgment means two things: 1) if your product is off the prime goal for some reason, don’t worry – you can improve and adjust (Ries: Lean startup) to match the judgment and sell better 2) first comer advantage is diluted slightly, due to the fact that people do want to periodically check the competition and make better buying decisions. Again: rinse and repeat. Adjust. Ask. React. Be nimble. Enjoy!

Markets: where are they in time?

Let me give you a bit of story. I was working as software engineer, my first real stint, during 2000-2001. We developed intensely a solution that would make a really cool ecosystem for businesses. The thing was basically a secure intranet with fully supported mobile clients. You would have an IT admin, who could use easy-to-deploy public key technology (PKI) and crack-resistant cryptography to bring control and ease of auditing into a corporate environment.

The thing is, people didn’t quite have the needs or understanding of the benefits yet. Companies were starting to use communicator-like devices for SMS (texting) and reading mail and web browsing, but the depicted large scale flexible use of mobile computing in all its incarnations simply wasn’t there yet. I don’t think the product would have been too hard to use. But the timing was early by some years. We were internally also doing a demo reel of apps to be shipped along with the system. One app was called ‘whiteboard’: it was a digital sketchbook where people could share drawing and illustrations, whether on laptop or mobile.

That could be have accelerated the adoption of apps for mobile phones. Companies basically could buy 3rd party consultants to make apps, put them available for their own employees in the system, and drive further operational advantage with this.

All this stuff however was really coming to mainstream business somewhere around 2005-2010.

The story continues.. Have a good trip!

P.S. unsolved problems in the world: Present History of Man (2018)

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