The Pulse of Startups

As some of you might know, one of my biggest passions is knowing what is happening in the world of startups. I place part of the blame on my early adopter personality, but I am even more intrigued by possibilities – and staying up to date with the startup world is to have your finger on the pulse of the future.

Startup Advantage

One thing SME’s have over large corporations is agility. Large companies are slow moving and slow to change, while small companies are more adaptive. This is even more true for startups, and to understand why, you need to understand the nature of why startups are created.

Most entrepreneurs will tell you that they started their business to solve their own problems. The money (which they hope to make) is important, but secondary. There were some issues or complications that they ran into, yet there were no easy solution, so they had to create their own. Right there, startups are telling us something extremely important – that there are needs currently being unmet, and that gaps exist within the market place.

Another important lesson we learn from startups are what customers are looking for. The more successful the startup, the more their product or service resonates with the customer. This gives us valid assumptions on what can be successful in the near future.

The world of startups is changing, especially with more entrepreneurs adapting the ‘Lean Startup‘ philosophy. This means rapid prototyping, testing market assumptions, and using customer feedback to make continuous adjustments. Think about that for a moment – ideas are rapidly tested in the market place, and feedback is gathered. If it doesn’t fit the market, then pivot and change something in your business model.

How many companies or products can you think of that could have benefited from this advice? First one that pops to mind is an old example, but how about ‘New Coke‘ – which was spectacular disaster.

Lastly, startups can help us gaze into the future. Foursquare was launched in March of  2009, and not even 2 years later we’re seeing the craze of geolocation services, and multiple spinoff ‘check-in’ services. Even Facebook is hopping in on that action. Some future trends that I am seeing are:

  • Data Mining
  • Travel industry
  • Customization

I will get into these more in future blogposts since I will be dedicating the 1st week of every month to discussing the latest in the startup community.