Monday, May 17, 2010

Is your idea a parasite?

As a startup (or person with an idea) with plans to build a New Product, need to evaluate if the developed product has to depend on some existing product or service for it to be made operational or succeed in the market. The degree of dependency should be well analyzed & right kind of partnerships or discussions with potential companies should be made… at every stage of new product development.

I'm using the word "parasite" here for the ideas that completely dependent on other service / product for their existence, for example - several ideas or applications dependent on Twitter , in open consumer or enterprise space. In the consumer world (like Twitter or Facebook), the eco-system nurtures other ideas to grow around them as it only makes them look even stronger & the parent will extend benefits to favorable ideas within the eco-system.

Let us debate the potential approach to tackle the "parasite" situation in enterprise space & dilemmas a startup would go through in reaching a decision:

  • Selection of the right company / product to keep as base to build the sample (use specifications) for your idea. Should this be based on personal interest of the founder among the marker players?
  • Right time to present the idea to the company - is it too early to explain at the stage of conceptualization, because of the likely chance of the company doing it in-house, after rejecting your partnership?
  • Seeking the advice of valuable advisors for your idea - seem to be first step, that would help in validating of the idea. Preferably a person who might be in non-exec position of the company or a retired individual. Also, an option is to seek help from critics or reviewers of the industry to signup as advisors?
  • Lastly, getting the required product specifications (before speaking with the company) to start research or build your product around it… is a tough challenge. One option, could be to make a key hire as founding member from the company to your startup?

I don’t have any right / wrong answers to these questions, throwing open to think out loud… as I find myself in such a situation, sometimes.


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