When the personal computing era started to thrive in the mid 1970’s it was juxtaposed against a strong anti-corporate counter culture. Many hippies saw computers as tools of oppression designed, built and used by large corporations. But there was another angle, another truth about the invention of this technology, and pretty much every other technology. If the technology has enough utility and importance it will eventually end up in the hands of the people. And if we are luck the invention will eventually be used to disrupt the bad parts of the world that invented it. And so crossover groups and communities like the Homebrew Computer Club emerged to fill that void. It happened with the PC and most forms of digital technology, where the people are now the major beneficiary as major legacy corporations scramble to survive.
For this type of thing to happen we don’t need more inventors, what we need is more innovators. Innovation is about taking an idea or concept and executing it. Making it usable. Introducing it in a way that makes it both accessible and desirable. Technology only really becomes valuable when it is distributed and omnipresent. If we want to create value through a startup or any business for that matter our focus should be on allowing people to easily ride on our vehicle, not the vehicle itself.
In business, demand is invariably more important than supply. If demand doesn’t exist, supply is irrelevant. If demand exists, supply will eventuate.
I happened upon a quote from one of the greatest inventors / entrepreneurs in history Thomas Edison. Despite the simplicity of the idea, it’s very profound.
“I find out what the world needs, and then I proceed to invent it.”
This is some pretty good advice for any entrepreneur. It’s better to make what you can sell, than try to sell what you can make.