Month: September 2011

Choose a Future Path: “The harder, the better”

I’m currently in a state of choosing which path I would like to go in the future. I’ve started one company and shut it down. One reason that I decided to close it down was that I realized that there was nothing really new about it. Wooden toys exist, maybe not made in Canada and with that kind of respect for the environment, but in essence there was nothing really earth shaking about it. This does not mean that it is not a viable business. New plumbing business’ get started every day, new brands are created that are just a tiny variation of something that already exists. It also does not mean that these less earth shaking products/companies can not be very successful (ie: Innocent drinks in England)

I often talk to people that have “spontaneous” ideas of what kind of business I could start next or get into, but 99.9% of them are nothing that I’d like to get started. I hear the sentence “such and such makes very good money.” Often I have to dismiss the ideas. The reason? Too easy, not outrageous enough!

Here is one of the biggest indicators of what company, project or job I find to be worth giving a shot: how disruptive is the technology, system or company to current markets. The more disruptive, the better. The current status quo of whichever industry you are “attacking” will always try to downplay your idea, say that it is not possible to do what you want to do. I say, unless you get a lot of flack from the guys you are trying to play ball with, the better. This is probably also an indicator that you are probably on the right path.

Here are some examples of products that have disrupted previous systems:

  • the car to the “horse and buggy industry”
  • vonage to the traditional phone industry (or even one step further: skype)
  • emails to snail mail
  • online movies to DVD rental stores
  • (upcoming) electric cars to gas powered cars
  • (upcoming) alternative decentralized power generation to current power generation

I think you get my point. Getting into a disruptive industry will yield the best returns, but it is a hard path of rolling that big massive stone up the hill. Eventually it will get easier as it gets more mainstream, but for the beginning: the harder, the better.

What do you think about that? Please leave a comment.

PS: Also keep in mind, that eventually the technology that was so disruptive in the first place, will also be disrupted by new technology of the future, so be outrageous and think even further down the road.