Some ideas are clever and awesome and right without being big.
To be big the startup needs a way to travel the “idea maze” (an idea I heard about from cdixon.org).
This point was driven home in a big way recently on fitness. Tons of cool new gadgets — Fitbit and Withings and Jawbone Up. They do amazing things. Clever. Huge businesses? Not really huge like HUGE (Twitter or Tesla size). Not yet.
Meanwhile a couple of fitness apps are frigging massive. Myfitnesspal is a pure app that does the best you can without hardware add ons. I saw it valued last week as one of the ten most valuable apps in the world – over $1bn.
Big, I think, means a product that is
– easy to build not rocket science
– easy to launch not gated by key partners
– easy for customers to buy/use not a lock-in
– easy for customers to spread not driven by breakthrough marketing
The left hand stuff for fitness is
– just an app!
– submit to appstore!
– get from appstore!
– social features
The right hand side for fitness is
– a year of engineering plus
– retailers or insurers need to get on board
– customer needs to pay >$1 to buy a gadget which happens 10ish x per year
– gadgets are mostly single player
These things may create long term value per user, but prevent you from getting big.