Go for the growth
Regarding his idea to start Amazon, Jeff Bezos said:
“I found this fact on a website that the web was growing at 2,300 percent per year… Anything growing that fast, even if its baseline usage was tiny, it’s going to be big. I looked at that, and I was like ‘I should come up with a business idea on the internet and let the internet grow around this.’”
Market growth provides tailwinds to startups. In a growing market, a startup can succeed even if it makes a lot of mistakes along the way. In a stagnant or shrinking market, a startup can execute everything perfectly and still struggle to reach liftoff velocity.
This concept can be thought of as a specific flavor of the broader concept of step 1 and step 2: step 1 is to solve a problem for a growing market, step 2 is to let that market expand.
The Silicon Valley’s overall story the last few decades has been massive growth in the technology industry as computers make their way into every aspect of our lives. Within that giant wave of growth, there have been smaller waves, and the task when starting a new company is to identify new smaller wave to ride along.
Some historical examples:
- Google, Amazon rose with the early adoption of the web.
- YouTube, Facebook rose with broadband distribution.
- Coinbase, Kraken, Robinhood rose with cryptocurrency.
- Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, Instagram rose with smartphone adoption.
- PagerDuty, Amplitude, Stripe rose with the growth of the startup economy.
What are the next waves to catch?