“Enterprises are not going to be able to survive in the future if they do not get good at technology.”
This insight was offered by Box CEO Aaron Levie during his lecture for the “How to Start a Startup” course at Stanford University. The course was the basis for a new book of the same name produced independently by ThinkApps, an on-demand service for designing and building stunning apps for web, mobile, and wearables.
By finding tiny gaps in existing products, you can make that small space your niche, learn it inside and out, and completely own that wedge of the market.
“What you want to start to do is say, ‘We will take this sliver of a problem and we are going to make the user experience on that incredible,’” said Levie.
This way, you’re not even worrying about the big guys until you completely own your space enough to grow and branch out.
Spot Technology Disruptions
“You have to look for new enabling technologies or major trends … that create a wide gap between how things are done and how they can be done,” advised Levie.
This is not only key to finding that little sliver for your business to fit in, it’s also important for realizing new opportunities for your business before the competition catches on.
There are lots of perks to being the little guy — find them and use them.
“You want to do things that incumbents can’t or won’t do because either the economics don’t make sense for them, the economics are so unusual, or because technically they can’t,” explained Levie.
Before you do this, though, do your research and find exactly where your incumbents can’t afford to drop their prices or personalize their UX. Then fill in those gaps.
Examining those users around the cusp of your industry can give you just the edge you need to take your next steps.
As Levie put it, “Find the unique characteristics of those customers.”
“If you find customers that are working in the future, you will be able to work with them to find what is missing in the future.” Then ask yourself, “How do we build technology that supports all these new use cases that are going to emerge?”
If you work with those outliers as early adopters, you can study them to see how your product can evolve. This will also help you to distill your overall customer needs and narrow in on the best solution, which as Levie said, may be one that they need, not necessarily one that they want.