An oft-touted proverb that resonates internationally is the cliché, “necessity is the mother of invention”. While this statement holds its merit, an important sub-sequential manifestation of this phrase is that “and invention attracts investors”. Bill Gates with Microsoft, Larry Page, and Segrin with Google or Jeff Bezos with Amazon; these are all prime examples of market disruptors. Through their disruptive innovation, they were able to nullify competition and capture their respective markets.
In the modern era of technological advancement, various tech companies have emerged that have transformed their respective markets. The ride-sharing app Uber officially launched in 2011 with the aim of reducing the cost of direct transport. Today, Uber has grabbed close to seventy percent of the US ride-hailing market. Its estimated revenue in 2018 was 11.3 billion dollars. The launch was so disruptive that taxi driver unions worldwide rallied around banning Uber from operating. Moreover, Uber created its own separate market of ride-hailing/ride-sharing applications with many spin-offs that can now be seen circulating.
Another classic example of one of these market disruptors is Airbnb. They proposed an uncomplicated way to provide lodging for people who did not want to spend money on expensive hotels. Their target market contained people who could not afford these hotels, so it did not affect the high-end hospitality industry. However, with rising popularity and revenues, Airbnb got more listings that suited higher-end consumers at a cheaper price than hotels. It now has a value of $35 Billion as of 2019, becoming a major market leader in the hospitality industry.
It is a universally held belief that innovation and invention are embedded in the core of an entrepreneur’s spirit. Not only is it important but it is imperative for an entrepreneur to keep on looking for newer, better solutions to pre-existing problems. The world that we inhabit today is one that routinely monetizes products that make our lives easier, minimizing our workload. This creates a very receptive environment for coming up with ideas and products as solutions to problems people never really knew existed.
This can easily be illustrated using Tinder as our model app. The early 2010s saw a massive infiltration of apps of all kinds in the market, of which Tinder was one. Nobody would have thought that there was a need to change the online dating scene, which was a robust industry by then, but Tinder took the risk. Launched in 2012, its popularity grew exponentially with the app registering a billion swipes daily by 2014. It is safe to say that Tinder managed to displace all the major players from its respective market. It did this by providing an easier and uncomplicated way of getting the same result.
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It is a fundamental truth that there will always be newer problems which will subsequently demand newer, more pragmatic solutions. Hence, there will always be a market for said solutions. The desire to innovate, invent and refine is an intrinsic human quality which should serve as fuel for an entrepreneur to stay determined on their path. It is also important to realize, however, that not everything that you are going to create will become one of these market disruptors. Hence, it is important to interpret trends and simultaneously challenge preset market commandments to substantially impact any industry with your product.
Lastly, a core principle in the world of entrepreneurship is that the market is dynamic and ever-evolving. People make up the market and the needs and opinions of the masses is subject to constant change. Thus, an entrepreneur should always plan and not get entangled in the success of today’s venture. Rather, there should be an insatiable desire to keep making the product more desirable and exploring newer markets and consumer base.
The fact of the matter is that society is not static, and the passage of time will lead to more and more opportunities to impact the surrounding world. One just must remember that a vast majority of market-disrupting entrepreneurs have only made it to the annals of business books because of their sheer grit and determination to make a change. As Steve Jobs rightly said, “You must be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you are not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.”