Beware of Graveyards (Or Don’t)
“If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you will have gained.” — Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book
Homemade operates in a startup graveyard. There tried to make a homemade food marketplace work in the US, and none have succeeded on a large scale. In my mind there are two potential reasons that the graveyard has existed up to this point.
1 ) The problem that people are trying to solve cannot be fixed by software. An example of this would be the countless “Help organize your friend group” apps. It is my opinion that friend groups have trouble organizing/connecting for deeper reasons than not having an application to herd them. The real problems are that friendships are changing in strength all the time, people prioritize friendships friendships differently, and people have busy schedules. People that don’t believe in the vision of homemade fall into this camp, and fundamentally believe that people don’t wan’t to buy food from their community.
2 ) The problem can be fixed by software, but has significant obstacles preventing that from happening. I hail from this camp. I firmly believe that a homemade food marketplace will exist in my lifetime. Technology is making it easy to create a trustable network, and homemade food is amazing. For me it is that simple. Getting there is going to be tough. Cold-start marketplace and regulatory issues are the two biggest obstacles, but I believe that we are moving towards the solutions.
Graveyards are equal parts scary and exciting. The truth is that we only know when a graveyard became fertile ground in hindsight.
If you believe a problem is worth solving and solvable, go for it. You may be benefit from environmental changes that help make your business viable. Think cell networks improving to make photo-sharing possible, and paving the way for Instagram. You also may have a new perspective on what the solution should look like. You’ll never know unless you try.