Google is best known for their motto, “don’t be evil,” however most of their success can be attributed to playing off one of the seven deadly sins of human nature. While this seems a bit abstract at first, ask yourself, “would you feel comfortable letting everyone see what you search for?” Google’s mission to index the worlds knowledge is pretty useful however when you think about it, the reason Google is so popular is because humans desire to know as much as they can about life.
Whether it’s getting facts to prove someone wrong in a debate, knowledge to get an A on a paper, trying to find weaknesses in your competitors or even the address of your crush — these are all desires which play to the fact knowledge brings pleasure to humans. Innovation doesn’t just go straight to the mainstream consumers. Innovation has to progress through “the chasm” — five audiences with unique viewpoints — which must be won over in order to succeed.
At a recent HuffPost Code Meetup, John Pavley, CTO of the Hufington Post, gave a presentation explaining how the one common factor successful startups have in overcoming the chasm is that they appeal to at least one of the seven deadly sins.
The Audiences That Matter Most
Main Demographics The five different audiences technology must cater to are:
Transitions Between Segments When it comes to innovation, there are a few key transitions to keep in mind:
Of the previously mentioned stages, 97% of failure in the technology industry occurs between the early adopter and pragmatist phase. Although there are many reasons why a startup can fail, there is a common theme which is shared by the 3% of startups which succeed. For more information on the chasm, a full discussion can be found in: Crossing the Chasm, 3rd Edition: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers
The Magic Equation
Success for startups can be determined with the following formula: x^3 (i.e. x cubed or XXX). The three elements are:
In English this translates to asking yourself:
In general, successful technology startups deeply satisfy human desires by using technology to weaken barriers between people. For a startup to be successful, it must walk the fine line of bending taboos without breaking them. Applications of the formula You don’t need to look far to find examples of successful startups which bend taboos. Google already was mentioned earlier in this article but below are a few more examples of this concept in practice:
How you can use the formula
Nice guys always finish last Remember that human nature always rewards nonsense. Although developing an app to help end world hunger might sound like a great idea, such a concept likely isn’t going to last long. On the other hand, developing an app that allows you to fling virtual birds to destroy pigs (Angry Birds) will take off because that’s just something people enjoy. In general, you aren’t going to change the world by running a for-profit company.
Business is all about making a profit and going after what the general public wants. If you want to change the world, you’re better off working with a non-profit. Even with creative industries such as films, consumers like yourself are being exploited. Hollywood makes films that play to the consumers heart. Films are almost always fabricated around desire. You’ll never see anything from Hollywood built around true reality.