Why the next big startup boom won't happen in the dot-com space

David Hornik, writing at C|Net, and writer of Ventureblog, has a funny piece that I enjoyed reading — Blogging, a World Stuck on Itself.

I think the hidden pearl is down near the end — where he points out that the little startups should stop talking and start producing, lest they attract the attention of big companies who will occupy their space before the little startup can really get things under way.

I pose the following hypothesis — just about anything in the info-tech arena is subject to this problem. I think the dot-com thingy happened because the big companies didn't care, weren't looking, didn't “get it.” But they get it now — and they have lots more resources to throw at a startup venture.

this piece by Samuel Fromartz raises a relevant question — are most startups really about Big Innovations at all? He makes the point that “highly innovative ideas are rare, whereas modest ideas, backed by friendly capital might very well be the root of a successful business if not the economy.

I think you want to do a startup, do it in a segment that the Big Kids aren't watching, with innovations that have slipped under their radar. I don't know what it is 'cause I'm not watching it either. But if you really want to do the next killer software app, or hardware gizmo, you better deliver it really really soon. If you don't, your idea is going to show up with a brand-name that people trust more than you and you're gonna have a hard time.

Not buying my argument? Take a look at digital cameras — the major manufacturers are bringing out new models every six months these days. What about the my local 3M? They try to generate 30% of their annual revenue from new products every year. If powerhouses like that have “noticed” your sector, you're dead. Go find a place they aren't looking, do your product/service in a way that they can't.