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Am I simply getting previous?
After I encounter a brand new product concept for the primary time, I discover myself asking: Is this concept dumb? Or am I simply getting previous?

Early on, there’s often not a lot to guage it on in addition to the thought. Generally the thought sounds both dumb or trivial. However through the years, I’ve began to not attempt to decide an excessive amount of, particularly when it’s early

Ideas appear fairly random as a result of prior to now few years, among the greatest wins have been: An app that permits you to get into strangers’ vehicles. An app that permits you to keep at random peoples’ homes. Disappearing pictures. A web site that doesn’t allow you to play video video games, however you’ll be able to watch different individuals play. Severely?

And should you return a number of years earlier, I keep in mind having complete convos about why anybody on the earth would need a profile or an internet site on the web. Or why telephones ought to be used for calling, and including e mail was dumb. It sounds foolish, however that was the angle then

The Dumb Idea Paradox – the official definition
The dumb concept paradox is what occurs when an concept sounds dumb, and but you could have a (often very small) group of individuals extremely engaged in doing it. And perhaps that group of individuals appear to getting greater and greater. Will it proceed? Will hundreds of thousands in the end do that factor?

When merchandise which have this property — it’s counterintuitive conduct PLUS it has traction — imho they’re essentially the most enticing startups in existence. In any case, that is an indicator it’s probably in a brand new market, and often occasions, the TAM of those markets finally ends up being big!

In different phrases, this helpful graphic:

(Word I made that as a screenshot in GSheets. You’re welcome)

Natives versus immigrants need totally different sorts of merchandise
Moreover, these ideas often shaped on the seam of the “natives” versus the “immigrants.” In case you are Instagram-native, what you take into account a great concept for a brand new retail house or ecomm model is probably going very totally different than somebody who isn’t uncovered to the identical hundreds of pics

The upcoming era are utilizing tech differently. They’re Fortnite-native. Minecraft-native. They’re streaming-native. They use “insta” otherwise. Meals supply might be thought-about a human proper. The expectations might be very totally different.

For community effects-driven merchandise, it issues that your folks are additionally into the identical factor. If my friends aren’t taking part in Fortnite each day, then I received’t see the identical worth and engagement. Distinction that to a completely activated community of children which are on it each day

Thus, I’m positive that the primary time I hear a few wild concept that appeals to this group, it is going to be straightforward to dismiss out of hand. And maybe I’d be extra attracted in one thing that takes on the identical traits, however is extra acquainted

Sturdy and weak applied sciences
My accomplice Chris Dixon has written in regards to the concept of strong and weak technologies, which often arrive in pairs on the start of a brand new technological age. The weak model often sounds extra sensible, however the robust ones often win. Listed below are some examples:

The weak model of a know-how is often the extra believable, “immigrant” model of an concept. The stronger model will sound higher to people who’re natives.

As an investor in client firms, I’m all the time startled after I see surprisingly robust development metrics on prime of an concept that I don’t get. It’s all the time a sign that I have to dig deeper, at the least till I really feel like I’m beginning to get it. Nevertheless it’s arduous.

So I repeat the query: The subsequent time you hear an concept that sounds dumb, ask your self — is it actually dumb? Or are you simply getting previous?

 

The publish The Dumb Idea Paradox: Why great ideas often start out by sounding dumb. can be revealed on andrewchen.

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