By Liam Tiernan
The world of modern media is dominated by relatively new companies; hardware giants such as Apple and Microsoft are less than fifty years old, and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are younger still.
“Live in the future and build what’s missing,” says Paul Graham, essayist and venture capitalist, in his blog post “How to Get Startup Ideas.” Basically, Graham is saying that the people who create those huge startups like Apple or Facebook are already doing that. In his opinion, those people are only creating what they see as missing in their world.
Graham’s advice is to become one of those people who lives in the future. Graham quotes Robert Pirsig, saying “You want to know how to paint a perfect painting? It’s easy. Make yourself perfect and then just paint naturally.” In saying this, Graham is stating that he believes the easiest way to become a pioneer in the media industry is to become a person who would be suited to the job.
Clayton M Christensen, of the Harvard business school, uses IKEA as a prime example of a company with a business plan to succeed. Christensen says this is because instead of focusing on a demographic customer base or particular products, IKEA is centered around a job; make it easy for a customer to furnish their home cheaply and expediently.
The business choices IKEA makes suit this job. IKEA stores are often built far away from concentrated populations, which seems strange until one considers the size the stores can reach in these remote locations, allowing customers to get everything they need in one trip. To make up for the distance, IKEA stores have delivery services, day-care services and even food shops in every store. IKEA is not based on a customer base or certain product; its brand is the job is does and its decisions are all based around it.
Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram are all IKEAs of the media world. These sites all provide specific services to the people that use them and constantly tweak their products to better do that job.
Somebody trying to make it big in the media business can follow their lead. Live in the future and build it yourself. Pick a job that others need to you to do to make their futures right. Then, do that job to the best of your ability to become an IKEA of the media world.