For the past few months, people have been pestering the hell out of me about Twitter. “What do you mean you aren’t using Twitter?! Oh man, you’re really missing out!” Well, I finally had some time today to join Twitter and take a look at it. I was underwhelmed, to say the least. Aside from aesthetically looking like something a 12 year old cobbled up, the entire tool seems utterly pointless to me.
Am I getting old? Of course! But according to Pew Internet’s latest survey, I am considered an omnivore, or in the top 8% of digitally connected people in the country. You can try your luck here.
Do I really need to know what all of my friends and colleagues are doing at any given moment of the day? No.
Do I really need to know that 15 minutes ago, Jimmy heated up a bowl of Mac ‘n Cheese in the microwave? Or on a professional side, do I really give a **** if Sally is taking a break in the breakroom, or reading her emails, or “frustrated at the world?” Save for my young daughter, I have no desire to know what anyone is doing 24 hours a day.
Later in the day, I happened to be exchanging emails with a young entrepreneur who reached out to me for help (poor bastard.) His play was to create a “better Twitter.” I asked him what his revenue model was, what pain he was solving for customers, how he was going to differentiate himself from Twitter, and what his barriers to entry would be (both before and after.) His responses were hollow at best.
Here’s a novel idea. Unless your business idea solves a painpoint for someone, or otherwise introduces an efficiency into their lives or business, it is most likely a novelty. And while they may be easily bootstrapped, novelties are rarely venture-backable. Can Twitter turn into some huge ridiculous cash cow? Of course. Anything is possible. But possible does not equal probable. And while the original novelty may attain some degree of success, knock-offs of novelties have a much harder road.
My advice? If you really want to be a successful entrepreneur, stop worrying about creating mindless tools to keep track of everything your friends are doing, and start solving real problems. If you aren’t aware of any problems in the world that need solving, go work in any arbitrary industry for a year or two and take copious notes.