Success Breeds Sexiness

Many sexy startups grew from boring spaces

Some people disregard ideas because they address boring problems. Not pursuing something if you’re not excited is natural, but the analysis must go beyond the problem and into the solution. Sexiness is nothing more than a function of success. Most elite companies begin life as awkward babies before maturing into coveted supermodels. The more successful the startup, the more others want to emulate and cover it, the more celebrated the company becomes. Wildly successful organizations turn uninteresting industries into hot ones.

A lack of passion suggests a lack of conviction about potential, not inherent coolness. If you founded a billion dollar company whose product people loved, would you honestly not wake up every morning brimming with pride and passion? Premium coffee and online shoes were dull spaces before Starbucks and Zappos emerged as iconic brands.

Many startups originated from uninspiring areas. They became trendy by introducing a disruptive solution or by focusing on new markets, capturing many consumer hearts or enterprise wallets in the process. In turn, their sector became trendy.

Ideas for saturated markets, such as file sharing before Dropbox, tend to get brushed aside most often. When an area is full of companies offering similar solutions, people may stigmatize yet another entrant as pedestrian. Pedestrian, in this case, is wonderful: countless competitors suggests deep or widespread demand, a vital ingredient for producing cool startups.

Don’t dismiss ideas because the problem is boring. Dismiss ideas because the solution is boring, undifferentiated and unable to capture many consumer hearts or enterprise wallets. Personal excitement will follow if the solution is disruptive, and sexiness will follow if the startup is successful.

Here are examples of cool companies born in boring areas:

  • Dropbox: file sharing
  • Airbnb: couch surfing
  • Nest: thermostats
  • Stripe: credit card processing
  • Nike: athletic shoe manufacturer
  • Zappos: online shoe retailer
  • Instagram: mobile photo sharing
  • Whatsapp: text messaging
  • Groupon: coupons