Tech entrepreneurs often inhabit a very narrow demographic, and they often scratch their own itch or solve problems they see around them.
Because of that, there are a disproportionate amount or productivity and dating apps out there. These problems that a majority of entrepreneurs have I call “surface problems”.
With good timing and a novel approach, there is a lot of money to be made, but you’ll have to deal with a ton of competition.
The alternative to solving surface problems is to solve… you guessed it… “sub-surface problems”. These are problems you can’t know about without being an insider in a specific scene or industry.
Often they require insider knowledge, which heightens the bar for entry.
For example, if you aren’t a magician you won’t know what magicians need or how much money magicians spend on magic tricks and fancy playing cards. The answer is A LOT.
Solving these problems come with a bunch of advantages:
- Less sexy or more fringe often means less competition.
- Approaching an industry with beginner’s eyes can give you a leg-up. What looks obvious to you might be foreign to everyone else.
- If you’re lucky, the scene or industry can go mainstream, giving you a huge advantage over the incoming competition. A great example of this is computers. Back in the day, they were the interests of scientists and hobbyists. Today they power our entire economy.
Instead of building another me-to app, flirt with fringe ideas and interests. Eventually, you’ll bump into product ideas with highly motivated markets ready to take your money.