Should you even bother with your big idea?
We live in an age where the big tech companies are racing to own your digital life. From your wallet, to your photos, all the way to almost every file you have on your computer. Little space is left for big ideas to be executed and owned by smaller businesses. Getting acquired by a big tech firm is considered an acheivement for both the big company, and the small startup alike.
Many startups have come up with innovative ideas with the innevetable consequence of being acquired, or replaced. Think flipboard, spotify, instagram, evernote, whatsapp, oculous, or pebble, they were all either replaced by a stock app that came pre-installed on phones or bought by a bigger company.
This begs the question, should you bother starting a company that has the “next big thing”?
Let’s start with zooming in on a few examples then try to see if there’s a chance for your company to grow.
When pebble first started, they arguably kicked off the smartwatch reviolution wave that we live in right now. They’re equivelant to the google search, the iPod, or the Netscape of their time. I can’t entirely speculate what they could have done differently for them to beat the Apple watch, but they had the whole feild to themselves for at least two years ahead of the announcement. They had the potential to be the Kleenex of watches.
Similarly, Spotify did in fact beat the big tech companies into becoming the mainstream way of listening to music nowadays, but can you argue that the stock Apple music app or Google play music app will not inevitably push users to use what’s already pre-installed on their phone? Time will tell eventually, but my point is that they were quickly shut down by Apple and Google’s muscle power.
Flipboard will soon be replaced with Apple news, Venmo with Apple pay or Google pay, Evernote with the Notes app, dropbox with Google drive or iCloud drive. Similarly, Youtube was acquired by Google, Sunshine by Microsoft, Instagram, Whatsapp, and Oculous by Facebook, and many more examples.
On the other hand, I could think of one example of an app that was not acquired, but potentially replaced and that’s Snapchat. The feild they’re competing in is crowded though, going against Facebook, Whatsapp, and iMessage for ways to interact and communicate with your friends. That’s about the only company I can quickly think of and they will probably soon be replaced.
What if you have a big idea, should you go ahead and pursue it? Is there space for you to become the next Google, Apple, or even Facebook? Or should you expect the big companies to come up with a similar product/service and possibly win the race?
What if you want to be one of the big players, why do you have to accept the status quo?