Product & Startup Builder

The thing about innovators...

Added on by Chris Saad.
I have finally caught up with Scoble's blog after a long break in my feed reading duties and I came across an interesting post called "The one thing about innovators"

It talks about how Robert Scoble, in some ways the biggest champion of RSS/Feed Reading/Blogging, took 2 years to understand what they meant for the world. Dave Winer had to explain it to him several times!
I remember when he showed me RSS. I thought to myself “isn’t that nice?” I couldn’t see why I’d use it. But, he kept at it. Every time I’d be over his house (called “the Internet Hut” by my son) he’d show me RSS again, each time from a little different angle). I still didn’t get it.

This reminded me of another comment I heard recently on the Gilmor gang where Jason Calacanis effectively suggested that (and I paraphrase) 'you know you're on to something when no one else agrees with you'.

I find these two related sentiments interesting. In some ways it might be true. You might be a visionary who is ahead of their time and the trick is to create an adoption curve by creating practical applications out of your crazy, forward thinking ideas.

On the other hand, though, maybe you are simply being too academic for your own good.

I have been involved with products that no one understood. They were simply targeted at the wrong people and pitched the wrong way. They were also ahead of their time. And I have been involved with other products (like Touchstone) which most people just 'get'.

If I had persisted with the former, maybe after lots of hard work the team/product might have been vindicated. Or maybe we were just on the wrong track.

I am not sure which is true. I suspect that you can have a lot of resistance to an idea for number of broad reasons including...
  1. It is crap.
  2. It is ahead of its time.
  3. It is disruptive to people's current business models and threatens their livelihood.
  4. You are targeting the wrong people and/or pitching it the wrong way.
I guess true innovators can work out the difference and react accordingly.