Kathy and I were talking about this, the difference between an existing product versus something totally new.
So many entrepreneurs are looking for something unique, something so
new that nobody`s doing it. In some cases, people have tried but the
idea just isn`t interesting and that`s why we don`t see it all around.
But in many cases, they come up with really and truly something
What happens then? I just read the Henry Ford quote, I can`t remember
which thread. He asked people what they`d like for better
transportation, and they said a cheaper horse that eats
less....something to that effect.
The point being that people most often can only imagine an extension of
what they already know. They don`t break out of their belief and
experience system, they only try to modify it. When something totally
new comes along, it either has to be immediately self-evident, or
there`s the problem we`re facing here.
If you open a business selling a different format of what everyone
understands, you have problems of pricing, competition, doing it
better, cheaper, so forth. You have problems of differentiation, and
even being seen or noticed in a busy marketplace.
If your business fills a long-standing need where nobody`s been able to
figure out how to do it before, that`s the best! People instantly see
the point, immediately want the product, and you become an instant
But in between is where you and a few others might see a serious
problem, where nobody else in the world sees that problem......yet. And
that means education. You not only have to sell the product, you have
to educate and prepare the market. That`s a big problem, and usually
ends up with an advertising and marketing campaign. The Catch-22 is
that most startups don`t have the kind of money.
I think it`s why we often see dramatically new products coming out of
existing corporations. IBM invented the PC and had the budget to
"explain" it to people. Apple, on the other hand, had to interest the
outer-space technology geeks. So they did the user-group and convention
shows, hoping they could build enough machines to match the customer
orders they piled up from those trade shows.