No seriously - one of the other people in Seth Godin’s skillshare class is a goat farmer. This fact has very little to do with my point today, but is just one of the many little interesting and fun moments that have come out of taking the class.
Another is the Question and Answer section that some of the students have been active in. Between that and the ability to view your fellow classmates projects, there are lots and lots of things to think about and learn from (beyond Seth’s specific program).
Personally - I’ve had the most fun going through the Q/A stuff and trying to share my own personal stories/experience with the ones that I think I can help a little with. One specific one that I’ve been thinking a lot about since encountering it was “How do you maintain your monopoly?”
The core of the question was that the student felt they were onto some innovative tech, but they were worried that the big players could/would just copy it once they saw it….and so how do you maintain a tech. monopoly?
After thinking about it for a while, and basing it on my own beliefs and experience, this is what my answer was:
Tech. monopolies only work if they are strongly tied to network effects (ie. your product/service gets better the more people use it, and hence the better it gets, the more your users get locked in).
The better monopoly - and the one that is more defensible - is the emotional monopoly. If you build a brand that people are deeply emotionally tied to, it will take A LOT to pull them away.
Combine the two monopolies (like Google has done) and then you are *really* on to something…
So - what network effects does your business enable? What emotional experiences are you providing for people?
Give people a reason to love and they’ll not only help spread the word…they’ll stick around for the relationship (even way after the actual romance has faded). It’s in our nature.
If you’ve been reading my ramblings for any length of time now, you’ll notice that these are things I talk about a lot.
Network effects. Passion. Emotion.
I believe they are all essential if you want to build a HUGE win (especially in the tech. space).
The intersection where these three things meet is what I’ve been searching for over the past 20 years of my career (though I didn’t know I was searching for it the first 15 or so years).
I think I’ve finally identified something that has a chance to be in that sweet spot…but now the hard work of execution begins.
If we do it well - and I’m right about the intersection - then watch out…because this is going to be one hell of a good time!
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Kevin has a day job as CTO of Veritonic and is spending nights & weekends hacking on Share Game Tape. You can also check out some of his open source code on GitHub or connect with him on Twitter @falicon or via email at kevin at falicon.com.
If you have comments, thoughts, or want to respond to something you see here I would encourage you to respond via a post on your own blog (and then let me know about the link via one of the routes mentioned above).