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After a brief email exchange today from an extremely smart and capable friend suggesting a potential feature for my blog, his response was “As usual, I’m nobody’s market.” He provided a humorous followup to the comment “that’s a great blog title” from one of the people on the email thread with “Ah, if only I didn’t have to suck up to the world, that would be a great title for my contrarian-curmudgeon blog.”
Since I don’t feel the need to suck up to the world, I’ve stolen my friend’s blog post title. It’s a great one that every investor and entrepreneur should keep in the front of his mind. In one of my meetings today, someone asked me “Brad – I get what you are saying – but don’t you worry that you are too close to the technology and – as a result – too far ahead of the market?”
I responded that I’m quite clear that I’m not the broad target market. I’m always trying to invest in (and help create) markets well before they are defined – and often build off a techy protocol that hasn’t yet emerged in the mainstream. For example, when I started playing around with RSS in 2004, there were plenty of technical folks that understood it well, but most of my conversations went “RS-what?” whenever I brought it up. Today, the majority of people I talk to have heard of RSS and a surprising number of them think they understand what it is, why it’s relevant, and what it enables.
Part of the fun (at least for me) of the way I approach things is that I love to get close to and roll around in the technology. I’m nerdy enough to be able to be a very early adopter, fierce beta tester, scary difficult user, and occasional implementer. But – I never forget that I’m not the ultimate market as – thankfully – the world isn’t made up of people like me.