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Hmm this recipe calls for a whole chicken, and 3 eggs

June 27, 2010

Being involved in the Seattle entrepreneur scene, I hear no shortage of dot-com startup ideas.  Some better than others.  However, I’ve noticed a recurring trend in a lot of these ideas.  They depend on their own success before they can be successful.

Many of these ideas are basically social networks, which help a community of users achieve some sort of goal.  For example, maybe a location driven service that pops up advertisements or coupons when you walk by a store.  Or an online storefront engine to allows people to sell their products online.  These ideas are all incredibly difficult to get off the ground for one simple reason.  They have to be successful first before anyone will start using them.  You probably wouldn’t use Facebook unless all your friends were on there.  You probably wouldn’t advertise on Craig’s List unless thousands of people were reading your post.  Sure, these sites became successful but they probably did something right and also got extremely lucky.  You pretty much need something to take off virally in order to get any traction with this approach.

For those coming up with business ideas, I think it’s important to imagine a scenario where there’s only one user, or only 10 users.  Is it still a good idea?  Is it still useful in the least?  What value will you provide immediately, before you have a million users?

One goal for KitchenPC is to really provide value to a single user.  KitchenPC will have social networking features, subscriptions, shared calendars, etc; however those features are all secondary to the simple ability to make meal planning easier and fun for the average person.  Once you’re providing the individual with a service and your user base grows, only then can you capitalize on business or revenue strategies that make use of the network of people you’ve built.

Just something I’ve been thinking about while cooking dinner.

Mike

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