I have a confession to make; in the past three years as a learning entrepreneur, I’ve never once sought out to design, develop, or sell the next big thing. Maybe that hurts my chances, but I doubt it. I met with a gentleman last year who was starting a company that was going to be the “next big thing.” In his own words it was even “bigger than Google.” He of course wanted me to develop this NDA’d project for next to nothing. I told him no thanks, and walked away.
I haven’t heard anything from this guy in the past year, so either his “next big thing” is deep in development, or he’s already found a better next big thing. Hate to break it to you, but several companies, including Google, weren’t out to build the next big thing. In the case of Google, founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page solely set out to make a better search engine that would help humans find things on the internet. They started out in their garage and didn’t even have a business model till several years later.
Focus on doing something better than the next guy and make sure it provides real value to several end users; not just something you think will. Being a successful entrepreneur takes a lot of honesty; realizing failure and trusting in the varied expertise of others that no one person can have. In my case, I prefer letting the big boys with hefty budgets be the first movers. Let them do all the R&D which can prove user demand, then swoop in as the little guy that does it better, faster, and cheaper.
[Inspired by Chris Knudsen’s Don’t Tell an Investor That!]