There Are No Bad Business Ideas in Tech — Just Bad Timing
Why is it that we’d heard of AI for decades before they ever went mainstream, yet disruptive forces like ride-sharing seem to take over in the blink of an eye? The answer is simple. Although some innovations seem promising, you need the right ecosystem for them to truly unleash their potential.
Right Time, Right Ecosystem
Before diving into any new technologies, organizations should always consider whether the market is ready for it. In some cases, timing is a matter of good instincts. But proper analysis and tracking of the ecosystem around a new technology can help determine if the timing is right. What other industries are adopting this technology? How can we combine this technology with another? Have any federal policy changes taken place? Remember — you could have the best idea in the world, but if the ecosystem isn’t ready for it, you’ll never see it boom.
Tech With Great Timing
The perfect example of a company with impeccable timing is YouTube. They proved that business ideas don’t need to be original. It just needs to be released at a better time than its competition. Video streaming services existed long before YouTube emerged. However, the online giant managed to launch right around the time that high-speed Internet was being connected in the majority of Western households. It’s now one of the most-used websites to date.
Sometimes, the “right time” isn’t now, but a few years down the road. Airbnb launched in 2008 but didn’t actually make it big or make waves in the industry until 2012. Why did it take four years? Well, let’s look at what the tech ecosystem was like in 2012.
Online sharing was peaking, the user rating system had taken off in full-force, and smartphones finally became the common consumer choice of mobile devices (Airbnb released their mobile app in 2012). Plus, North Americans were struggling through a recession and looking for a simple, straightforward way to make a side income. Back in 2008, the combination of these factors didn’t exist. So, the company and technology didn’t take off. The timing was, evidently, not right in 2008, but became right in 2012.
But Is Good Timing Really All You Need?
No. Of course, other factors contribute to effective technology adoption. Having a great business model is essential. Executing them properly with the right team is crucial. But, ultimately, timing becomes the X factor. You may not want to be too early because it will be too expensive and unproven. But, if you’re too late, you may miss the next big thing.